Lead and Lipstick


Sophia Yee, Writer

Makeup, many young teens and older generation’s best friends. Some eyeshadow here and there, slight or heavy blush, highlights, and some lipstick to tie everything together. There is a large population of people who wear heavy or light makeup daily.

Of course, wearing makeup is no flaw in a person, but there is a small detail that these people who wear makeup most likely are not informed of. Almost every makeup product contains some levels of lead and other harmful metals such as; aluminum, nickel, and mercury. This fact even includes big companies like MAC and Maybelline. Maybelline has a lipstick that was tested by the FDA to contain 7.19 ppm.

An example of the health concerns of wearing lipstick is that it often can cause negative health-related reactions such as; coughing, eye irritation, wheezing, and other allergies.

In a test by the National Library of Medicine, adults who had a higher level of lead in their blood also had higher sensitivity to allergens. “At baseline, 672 (24.7%) of children participants and 719 (16.6%) of adult participants tested positive for increased sensitization to food allergens.” Stated by the National Library of medicine.

Additionally, they stated that “Using lipstick at least 3 days/week was significantly associated with increased risk of SLE (adjusted OR = 1.71, 95%CI = 1.04–2.82).” SLE is an autoimmune disease that is caused when the immune system attacks its tissue. There are more health issues that can occur after using lipstick for a long period of time, almost all of which are concerning and can impact a person’s life forever or for a very long time.

Not only does the lead in lipsticks cause health side effects, but other harmful metals can cause big changes in someone’s life as well. An example of this is stomach tumors and cancer found in the excessive application of lipstick. The metals such as cadmium, magnesium, and chromium cause organ damage and chromium, nickel, and parabens found within lipstick can cause cancer. Stated by the National Library of Medicine “Cadmium, chromium, and nickel are classified as group 1 carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”

Although there is no reason to stop using lipstick, knowing about the health side effects of using lipstick is extremely important.