Harmful ingredients in your lipstick could have a negative impact on your long-term health, according to a new study.
The research has linked heart problems to an ingredient found in lipstick that puts many women at risk, reported an article by the Daily Mail.
In an unrelated study, antibacterial soaps using Triclosan was found to effect muscle function and heart function in animals. This chemical is also found in lipstick and is thought to have a serious impact on human health too.
Triclosan has been linked to thyroid and fertility problems, increased levels of androgens which can cause menstrual dysfunction, excessive hair growth, weight gain and acne. It has also been said that Triclosan can encourage bacteria to evolve into superbugs, becoming untreatable, devastating disease. There are also increased risks of allergies and even a form of arthritis.
Since women reapply their lipstick many times throughout the day, campaigners against Triclosan are concerned they are most at risk of the negative impacts that this chemical could have.
Modest but regular use of lipstick is believed to result in women swallowing between 500g and 1500g of lipstick in her lifetime.
Other harmful substances found in lipstick include lead. Testing the lead levels in lipsticks last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that most of the 400 lipsticks they tested, contained lead.
According to the FDA, L’Oreal's Color Sensational Pink Petal had the most lead of any lipstick tested, at 7.19 parts per million. The average lead concentration in the 400 lipsticks tested was 1.11 parts per million.
Worringly, the lipstick that was found to have the highest lead level had more than doubled between 2009 and 2011.
And that isn't the only harmful ingredient in lipstick. Parabens, methacrylate and cadmium are all said to pose a serious threat to our health.
Methacrylate, which is a form of glue, can irritate the skin while parabens can mimic oestrogen resulting in interference with a woman's menstrual cycle and even increase breast cancer risk. Lead and cadmium have been linked to dermatitis (skin irritation) and possible long-term kidney damage.
Lipstick linked to autoimmune disease
Other research also found links with lipstick use and the development of Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease which attacks joints, skin, kidney, blood cells, the heart and lungs.
In 2008, a team from the Tufts Medical Centre in Boston reviewed the results of previous research, and came to the conclusion that "using lipstick at least three days a week is significantly associated with an increased risk of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus".
They found that women who started wearing lipstick before the age of 16 and women who wear lipstick seven days a week have significantly higher risk levels. The researchers suggested that the lupus may be set off by chemicals in lipstick being absorbed by the tissues that line the cheeks and the back of the lips.
The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) in the UK dismissed calims that Triclosan had such harmful effects and says the amounts of Triclosan tested on the mice in the most recent study surpassed the maximum levels allowed in cosmetics.
"There are many false allegations leveled against cosmetics manufacturers, accusing them of selling unsafe products and using harmful ingredients. These allegations are just that, false."
While the fears surrounding Triclosan are said to be unfounded by some, Johnson & Johnson UK seems to confirm that there should be cause for concern by promising to remove Triclosan and parabens amongst others — from all of its skincare products.
Pat Thomas, a UK expert and author on cosmetic says women should apply their lipstick moderately and be mindful of the brightness of the colours in the lipsticks they choose to buy.
"The lists of permitted ingredients lag seriously behind research on safety. This includes substances such as parabens and triclosan," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
"As for lead levels, it depends on the lipstick. More and more manufacturers are using mineral products for the pigments in their lipstick. These minerals are mined from the ground, and any mined product will contain lead, as well as other potential dangers such as arsenic and cadmium."
Thomas says all lipsticks will some level of lead in them – but those levels depend on the colour and so they vary.
"As a rule of thumb, you can almost guarantee that if it’s a really intense colour that lasts for a long time, it will contain the highest levels of lead."