Another study is raising concerns about the safety of lipstick after more testing found trace levels of toxic lead in 12 of 22 brands examined.
Palm Beach, Fla., dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Beer said: “Although one would normally associate them with low-quality, low-priced things that are brought in from overseas, in these instances, it ran the gamut,” he tells Newsmax Health. “It was inexpensive products as well as very high-end premium products, so it doesn’t seem like consumers were really being afforded the protection they deserve.”
This latest analysis follows an earlier FDA study released in February that found traces of lead in 400 lipsticks, including L’Oreal and Maybelline brands. Agency officials said the levels detected are not a safety concern, but they are considering whether tougher standards should be set after pressure from consumer health organizations that have called for a ban on lead in lipstick. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there are no safe levels for lead, which can affect IQ levels, behavior, and learning ability — particularly in children.
The brands in the latest testing were not revealed, but officials said they included products from Asia and the U.S. Lip glosses as well as lipsticks from department and drug stores were tested.
In addition to lead in lipstick, Dr. Beer says consumers should be concerned about the potential threat some cosmetics pose to people with allergies.
“In people who have allergies, cosmetics, particularly those that have a lot of fragrance or a lot of preservatives, can pose a severe threat,” he says. People “can develop allergic reactions with swelling, they can develop rashes, and it can make their underlying dermatitis — if they have things like seborrheic dermatitis [itchy scalp] or atopic dermatitis [eczema] — it can cause both of those to flare. So I tend to avoid things that have a lot of fragrances or preservatives in those types of sensitive skins.”
A consumer’s best bet is to buy hypoallergenic products, which may be less likely to cause allergic reactions than other cosmetics, says Dr. Beer. Non-acnegenic products — those that don’t contain ingredients known to cause acne breakouts — can also work well, he says, although it’s always wise to test a small amount of a new product on an inner wrist or elbow and waiting 24 hours.
“You can find hypoallergenic and non-acnegenic, non-allergenic — all of those products — anywhere,” he says. “So from the lowest-end product that you can find at your mass retailer to boutique salons and spas, they’ve all started to incorporate these types of products because they really are superior, and I would definitely recommend them for anybody.”