Lipstick Toxins: Study Finds High Contents Of Lead, Metals in Lipstick


I’ve never been a lipstick person. Perhaps I’ve never really been taught how to put it on, but anytime I’ve tried a color, even a nude, I somehow age fifty years. So I’ve always stuck with my trusty Chapstick that never lets me down, and, as it turns out, that could be saving me from ingesting heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum, and many more. A recent UC Berkley study found that at least 32 different lipstick products contain the aforementioned heavy metals, which may lead to, if you are an avid lipstick wearer, increased risk for cancer or neurological damage. 

The study found that, “People who apply and reapply their lip color at an average rate may ingest about 24 mg of the product per day, while those who apply more frequently could ingest about 87 mg.” The study then determined that lipstick fanatics may be ingesting aluminum, cadmium and manganese just from applying the staple cosmetic. The study also found that a shocking number of products sampled (75% to be exact) contained lead, with half of those samples containing more than what the FDA recommends as safe. 

The study doesn’t necessarily recommend completely tossing out all your lipstick, but merely cutting back on use. Since the study has not named the brands that their examined, author S. Katharine Hammond suggests considering the results of her study to all lipsticks to err on the side of caution. As it stands, the FDA currently does not monitor the amount of metal contained in cosmetics, but Hammond is urging that they start now. Fellow study author Sa Liu states, “I believe that the FDA should pay attention to this ... Based upon our findings, a larger, more thorough survey of lip products and cosmetics in general is warranted.” 

So if you can’t bear the thought of tossing your lipstick out, have no fear. If you can, try using it less often, and if it fades midday, make a switch to Chapstick. Or, if you’re strong headed like me, begin following any FDA research on metal contents of cosmetics to see what they recommend.