• Damaging Substances in Make-Up

Damaging Substances in Make-Up, Pretty Scary….

The safety of make-up products is a hot item. Not so surprising if you read all the stories on the internet about lead, arsenic and other damaging and dangerous substances in your eye shadow, eyeliner or lipstick. And yet the average woman still swallows a great deal of lipstick. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council of Canberra, a woman “eats” between 500 and 1500 grams of lipstick in her lifetime. It is a bit of a shame if you make a conscious effort with your skincare and subsequently “ruin” the effect through use of the wrong make-up products. Reason enough to take a closer look at your cosmetics.

Toxic ingredients

There is more than enough evidence to show that make-up products can contain damaging toxic substances. Lead is found in lipsticks, Cadmium in eyeliners and concealers, Nickel is mainly found in powder and blusher, Beryllium in bronzers and eye shadow and Arsenic is found in mascara and foundation. Scarier still because such substances are found in products from well known brands that are also available to buy in Europe. In a study carried out by the Environmental Defence Group Canada, out of 49 make-up products tested 48 contained traces of at least 2 toxic ingredients. An investigation into lead in lipstick, conducted by the FDA 2011, revealed that lead was found to be present in all of the 400 lipsticks tested. The concentration of lead did vary widely, with the highest concentration being found in the “Pink Petal” lipstick by Maybelline (7.19 ppm). You don’t need to panic though as the concentrations of such toxic substances in make-up are extremely low. Although I do agree with the decision of the FDA

“Although we do not believe that the lead content found in our recent lipstick analyses poses a safety concern, we are evaluating whether there may be a need to recommend an upper limit for lead in lipstick in order to further protect the health and welfare of consumers”

In my opinion the determining of a safe upper limit of toxic substances in make-up products is a must! Easier said than done though, as in reality it is rather difficult to determine the effect of chronic exposure to toxic substances in make-up, also because toxic substances (such as lead) can accumulate in the body. Protecting yourself against toxic substances is not easy either, since they are not stated on the ingredients list. And if you think you are being smart by using only biological make-up products then I am going to disappoint you there too, studies have shown that the use of “natural” products is definitely no guarantee that the products are free from toxic substances. If you are concerned about lead in your lipstick then I can advise using lip gloss instead of lipstick. The chances of it containing lead is much lower. It also appears that a diet with lots of calcium, zinc and Vitamin C protects you from the possible damaging effects of lead. So eat healthily before a night out!

Contaminated make-up products

There may also be other damaging substances in your make-up. Just think about mould and bacteria. Contamination of make-up products is more common than you think! Keeping products for too long or forgetting to clean brushes or sponges is really asking for trouble. Throw away your foundation after a year, your liquid eyeliner and lip gloss after 6 months, your eye shadow and powder after 18 months and your mascara after 3 to 4 months. You can buy something new without feeling at all guilty… Also consider for a moment before applying the testers in the shop onto your skin. Shocking but true, after a recent investigation by Dr. Elizabeth Brooks it came to light that 100% of the make-up testers in shops were contaminated with e.coli (originating from the colon), staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria!!! So just check in the shop to see if they use new products or a disposable spatula or cotton pad.

Regards Jetske.

(Dr. Jetske Ultee- Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read:
Opposed to Rubbish on the Cosmetics Market’,
Skincare Can also Go Off’ and
Are Your Cosmetics Free from Parabens?