Lead Lurks in Lipsticks and Skin Whiteners

Dangerous Ingredients in Beauty Products




Recent research has found several heavy metals in numerous lipsticks and cosmetics. These include mercury and lead in skin-whitening creams, and chromium, cadmium and lead in lipsticks.

Scientists from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine and the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine tested 549 cosmetic skin-lightening products manufactured in 32 different countries. The products were purchased online and from stores in the U.S., China, Taiwan, Japan and Sri Lanka. Thirty-three of the products contained more than 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead, and 45 percent of them contained more than 10,000 ppm of lead. Of those purchased in the U.S., 3.3 percent had mercury levels greater than 1,000 ppm.

University of California scientists tested 24 lipsticks used frequently by teenagers and purchased at local stores. They found 75 percent contained lead and nearly half exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) maximum acceptable concentration of lead for candy (0.1 ppm).

In 2010, the FDA tested 400 lipsticks and found lead in every sample tested—with concentrations ranging from 0.9 to 3.06 ppm. Other studies have confirmed similar findings.

They also found significant concentrations of chromium and cadmium among some of the samples. There are currently no concrete international or U.S. standards for safe levels of these heavy metals in cosmetics.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Feeding Healthy Habits

Today’s barrage of junk food ads can easily influence kids for the worse, but 10 strategies, including visiting farmers’ markets, teaching cooking skills and implementing device-free family meals, can help them choose to eat better.

Beyond Sustainability

Farmers are increasingly exploring inexpensive organic methods to return microbial diversity to the soil, which could help mitigate a warming planet by allowing soil to absorb more carbon.

Aysha Akhtar on Our Symphony With Animals

Through her personal story as a survivor of childhood abuse and the stories of others, the neurologist demonstrates the scientific bond between animals and humans—and how they can heal each other.

Take It Easy on the Eggs

Eating three to four eggs a week increases heart disease mortality by 6 percent and all-cause mortality by 8 percent, a new study found.

Savor Cherries to Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Montmorency tart cherries in juice or capsules lower systolic blood pressure and insulin levels within hours, reducing factors that lead to metabolic syndrome.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags