Carcinogens Found in Popular Lipsticks: Should You Be Worried?

Do you know what’s in your lipstick?

If the results of a recent University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health study are any indication, it’s time to find out.

Researchers tested 32 popular lipsticks and lip glosses and found that some of them contained aluminum, cadmium, chromium, lead, and five other metals —some at potentially toxic levels.

As S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health science and co-author of the study pointed out, the presence of such substances isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, since trace amounts of metals are also found in food, air, and water, “Just finding these metals isn’t the issue. It’s the levels that matter,” she says.

The potential adverse health effects of such substances are determined by a number of factors, including the frequency of lipstick use and the volume of lipstick ingested.

The study defines an average lipstick user as someone who ingests about 24 milligrams each day. According to the study, some lipsticks could cause an average lipstick user excessive exposure to chromium, a carcinogen linked to stomach cancer.

“I don’t think people should panic… But if you use it several times every day, you may want to think about it,” Hammond told USA Today. “This study is saying, ‘FDA, wake up and pay attention.’”

Whereas the European Union bans the use of cadmium, chromium and lead as ingredients in cosmetic products, there is currently no U.S. standards for metal content in cosmetics.

Unfortunately for consumers, the study did not name the products included in the study, but the brands are reportedly popular products sold in stores nationwide.

If you find yourself throwing your lipstick or lip gloss toward a trash can receptacle in the near future, here are some organic lip treatments recommended by our dermatologists:

Dry Lip Treatment Products