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Know your makeup: Why lead is harmful for your skin

Not long ago, lead in lipsticks, eyeliners, and mascaras were considered to be an "urban legend". The horrors of the same came to life when the FDA tested hundreds of lipsticks.

Ever considered that there are possibly dangerous chemicals lurking inside your makeup kit? (Source: File)

Did you know that your makeup kit has possibly dangerous chemicals lurking within? It’s no wonder that the government and consumer groups are taking beauty companies to task for some of their toxic ingredients.

In fact, there could be something dangerous in your favourite tube of luscious red lipstick or in that fanning mascara you apply to your lashes.

Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

Not so long ago, lead in lipsticks, eyeliners, and mascaras were considered to be an “urban legend” as per FDA. The horrors of the same came to life when the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) tested hundreds of lipsticks. Two consecutive FDA investigations found lead in 100 per cent of the lipsticks tested. Moreover, the amount of lead found wasn’t negligible. Mind you, the brands which came into the scanner for the same were pretty well-known brands such as L’Oreal and Revlon. When the results came through, even high-end brands like Dior and M.A.C. weren’t spared.

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Lead is not just found in lipsticks, and as an FDA report states “these traditional eyeliners, popular in many parts of the world, are a serious health concern because they commonly contain large amounts of lead, as well as other heavy metals. Products containing kohl and similar ingredients have been linked to lead poisoning, especially among children.”

First things first, lead is a heavy bluish-grey metal that is present in trace amounts in the environment and is present in numerous foods. It is found in rocks, water, and soil. While it is usually below any concentration that would raise health concerns because people are most likely to be exposed to lead through air pollution and the consumption of food and drinking water.

However, it is important to know that lead is never used as an intentionally added ingredient, or as an additive to any makeup product.

In fact, even when the cosmetics industry presents the argument posing that it’s not a source of concern because the dose is so low per application they have for long ignored the idea that every little dose over a period of time only results in more harm.

Lead may not cause cancer, but it is still an element that is dangerous to humans. Thus, every effort counts to distance yourself from it. Exposure to lead can cause a range of deleterious health effects, like learning disabilities to seizures and death.

Here are some of its side-effects

*When the lead present in lipsticks is absorbed by your body, it is distributed to your blood, soft tissues, and bones. If there is an excess quantity of lead in your body, it affects your heart and causes hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary heart disease.

*Consumption of lead results in neurotoxicity, an issue which has been linked to learning, language, and behavioural problems.

*Reduced fertility in both men and women.

*Hormonal changes and menstrual irregularities.

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