Lead in Lipstick

Red Lipstick
If you have access to any kind of news outlet, you have probably heard about yet another study released announcing “hazardous” levels of lead in red lipstick. And as same as the last time one of these reports was released, people are in all kinds of uproar and running to throw out their lipsticks. So let me tell you why I’m not concerned at all.
Lipstick vs. Candy

One of the biggest points raised as to why this is dangerous and scary is that the acceptable amount of lead in a lipstick is “more than the acceptable amount in candy”. People are freaking out about that when, uh, hello, that means there is an amount of lead that is acceptable in candy. CANDY. That is designed for FOOD. Yes, some lipstick is inevitably ingested just by the very nature of the fact that it is worn on the lips, but it is a very tiny amount. There are some crazy urban legends that suggest a woman eats as many as 7 pounds in her lifetime or something, but that is insane when you consider that an average “bullet” of lipstick is about .1 oz. There being 16 oz in just a single pound, do the math. That’s a f’ing lot of lipsticks and even if a woman wears lipstick every single day of her life from the time she hits puberty to the time they put her in the ground, she’s not going to ingest that much lipstick. Point being, the amount of lipstick itself being ingested is minuscule compared to all sorts of other stuff you’re ingesting that probably has far more “bad” things than the lipstick on your lips. You’re far more likely to die of high cholesterol, cirrhosis, cancer, diabetes, or all sorts of other conditions that can be caused by what we eat and how it is made. Fun thought, huh?
Not convinced? Other things to consider…

* The FDA considers anything with under 20 ppm (parts per million) of lead to be of no safety risk. The lipsticks in the most recent study published average about 5 ppm. 
* The lead in lipstick is not an added ingredient. It’s naturally occurring due to the composition of the pigments in the lipstick. That’s why the lead is only showing up in red lipstick shades, and that’s why the more sheer the pigmentation of the lipstick, the lower the ppm. 
* There have been no deaths linked to lead in cosmetics. None. 
* Cancer of the lip is much less frequently found in women than in men, and much of that can be attributed to the pigments in lipsticks. Though the SPF in most lipsticks is not tested and certified, some form of coverage over the lip is better than no coverage of the lip. 
So don’t count on me throwing out my lipsticks any time soon. I’ve read some articles that even go as far as to claim the FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics. What a load of BS. They regulate ingredients, especially pigments (colors), and no cosmetic product sold legally in the US can incorporate any colors that aren’t approved. When you see a certain shade of a product is “not eye safe” or “not lip safe” that is because the FDA has not approved a pigment in that product for use on the eyes or use on the lips. The brands aren’t just trying to break your balls over using red blush as eye shadow. Really. 


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