6 Major Side Effects Of Using Lipsticks And How You Can Prevent Them

Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Chaitra Krishnan MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 5 years
Last Updated on

In the world of beauty and makeup, if there is one makeup product that gives women an appeal like no other, it has to be the lipstick. You agree, right? Whether you want to spice up your look and turn some heads or you want to look like the boss woman that you are, lipsticks never disappoint. Bold Red or Naughty Nude, lipsticks make a huge difference to your glam quotient. Plump and beautiful lips are every woman’s dream. Pick a wrong shade of lipstick and you’ll watch your entire look go topsy-turvy. Now, keeping the glam effects aside, let’s talk about the health effects. Hold your breath, ladies, this is going to be a shocker. Did you know that lipsticks can cause serious health issues? Sadly, but truly, it turns out that the contents of lipsticks can impact our health greatly. Read along to know more.

1) Lead Content Affects Your Heart

Our body gets most of the lead content from air, water, and food. We add to this amount when we accidentally ingest our lipstick. This is almost inevitable. No matter how smudge-free your lip color is, a tiny little portion of it is bound to get ingested when you eat or drink water. Once this lead content gets absorbed by our body, it gets distributed into the blood, the bones, and the tissues. Excess lead causes heart diseases and high blood pressure. It also leads to coronary heart diseases and changes in the heart rate (1) (2).

2) Lead Can Also Harm Your Brain

Lead Can Also Harm Your Brain
Image: Shutterstock

The lead content in your lipstick can also affect your nervous system since it is a neurotoxin. This means that you may have issues with memory and concentration in the long run. Too much of lead in the body can cause dangerous health conditions like epilepsy, unconsciousness, and even death. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration of USA) set a limit for the lead content that can be present in lipsticks and other lip products in 2012. According to their guidelines, cosmetic companies are supposed to adhere to the maximum limit of lead content which is 10 ppm (3).

3) Cadmium Can Cause Cancer

Cadmium Can Cause Cancer
Image: IStock

Lead is not the only thing you have to worry about, lipsticks contain other harm-causing elements like cadmium and chromium that you’ve got to be wary of. Cadmium is a pretty well-known carcinogen and can also cause serious damage to the respiratory system. It’s pretty difficult for our body to eliminate cadmium once it enters. It settles in the kidney and might lead to kidney failure. Hence, women are more prone to kidney failure associated with cadmium (4).

4) Chromium Content Can Lead To Lung Cancer

Chromium Content Can Lead To Lung Cancer
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Chromium is another element that can cause cancer. It is associated with lung cancer and many skin issues. It’s not just the lipsticks that you need to be careful of, lip balms, and even glosses can also contain these harmful substances (5) (6).

5) Manganese Can Induce Parkinson’s Disease

Manganese Can Induce Parkinsons Disease
Image: IStock

The manganese content in lipstick, if ingested, can have serious after effects. The presence of manganese content in the body, especially in the brain, can cause Parkinson’s disease. It is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects our memory and brain functioning (7).

6) Preservatives In Lipsticks Can Cause Breast Cancer

Preservatives In Lipsticks Can Cause Breast Cancer
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Some lipsticks may contain harmful preservatives like paraben which is known to cause cancer, especially breast cancer. They can also cause milder side-effects like eye irritation, wheezing, cough, and skin irritation (8).

How To Stay Away From The Side Effects?

Wouldn’t it be a shame to never be able to wear lipsticks ever? Well, don’t worry because even if lipsticks and other lip products can harm your health, you don’t have to say goodbye to them completely. You just need to be a little more selective and cautious when you’re using them. Here’s what you’ve got to do if you want to stay away from the harmful side-effects of lipsticks.

Things To Keep In Mind About Lipsticks

Things To Keep In Mind About Lipsticks
Image: IStock

Invest in good-quality lip products. They’re not potatoes that you can bargain or pick the ones that costs less. Even if there is no known safe amount of lead, the brands that stick to the FDA guidelines are comparatively safer. Remember to take a look at the ingredients before buying the lipstick.

Don’t Use Expired Lipsticks

Expired lipsticks can cause irritation and they are never a good choice. Most of us throw away the outer packaging of the lipstick and we never know when the product expires. Save the date in your phone or don’t throw away the box until you throw the lipstick.

Don’t Use Them On Your Kids

Dont Use Them On Your Kids
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Do not put makeup on children because their skin is very sensitive and can get affected to a greater extent by the harsh chemicals in them. If your child loves to dress up or needs to be in a play, use only safe makeup for him/her. Once you get back home, use a good makeup remover to clean every bit of makeup from their face.

Avoid Lipstick To The Maximum When Pregnant

During pregnancy, almost everything that you consume and that bothers your body will bother your baby too. Hence, it’s good sense to keep away from lipsticks unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Wipe It Off

Wipe It Off
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If you’re going to eat something like a giant burger, wipe off your lipstick with a makeup remover when you’re eating. You can always carry a mini bottle of the remover in your bag, just the way you carry your lipstick. Once you’re done, you can wash your lips and re-apply the lipstick. Before you go to bed, no matter how tired or sleepy you are, clean your face with the makeup remover and a good face wash.

Did you know about these harmful effects of lipsticks? How do you pick your lipsticks? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Chaitra Krishnan
Chaitra KrishnanBeauty & Lifestyle Enthusiast
Chaitra has a triple main bachelor’s degree in journalism, communicative English, and economics from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from St. Joseph's College, Bengaluru.

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