Every week, the Scoop examines alarming new claims to help you make sense of the latest health research.
Listen up before you pucker up: Your lipstick and lip gloss may contain a concerning amount of toxic metals, suggests new research from UC Berkeley.
While this isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t entirely new newsÃ¢â‚¬”past studies have examined the existence of metals in lipstick and lip glossÃ¢â‚¬”this research compared the probable intakes of the metals in 32 common brands. Since there arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t existing guidelines about how much of these metals are allowed in cosmetics, researchers compared the levels in lipsticks to the current guidelines for drinking water.
What they found: Using many of these products liberally or reapplying them multiple timesÃ‚Â could potentially result in overexposure to aluminum, cadmium, and manganese. Lead was also detected in some of the products, but its levels generally didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t exceed the acceptable daily intake.
So while most products contain pretty small concentrations of these metals, excessive use could possibly lead to health issues like stomach tumors and nervous system damage. Eek.
Lead study researcher Sa Liu, PhD, says that these findings should raise a red flag for the FDA to conduct more extensive research. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We found most of metals in all 32 products tested, which indicates to us that this is a general problem for lipsticks and lip glosses,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says. Liu also says they did not find a pattern indicating certain brands or products contain more of the metals than others, so she couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t advise which to avoidÃ¢â‚¬”especially since Ã¢â‚¬Å“there are hundreds of products out there, and they are constantly changing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Michelle L. Bell, PhD, a professor of environmental health at Yale University, agrees that this study shows cosmetics should likely be examined more closely. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The findings suggest that lipstick and lip gloss may pose health risks, but as the study was small, more research is needed with a larger sample,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says.
The verdict:Ã‚Â While this research definitely doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t prove that lipstick use leads to dangerous health consequences, it does suggest that you may be ingesting a small amount of toxic metals each time you apply your favorite shade. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to ditch your lipsticks and glosses completely, but you may want to aim for lighter use and avoid applying more than necessary. And if you have any kids at home, make sure they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play with your lip products, says Liu and Bell. No levels of some of these metals are safe for children, whose bodies and systems are still developing.