A Poisonous Kiss: The Problem With Today’s Lipsticks

This visually alluring substance was known to have first been worn by a Sumerian queen by the name of Puabi. Puabi made her lipstick from a special mixture that contained red rocks and white lead and contained in cockle shells. Thereafter — it was adopted by other civilizations: Minoans, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Depending on who wore it, it would be made of either dangerous or off-putting substances such as crocodile excrement, tar and at other times it would be equally made from delightful and less harmful substances such as rose petals, beeswax and wine. A lot of the time it was used to signify social status – depending on the society you were from — it either denoted aristocracy or being a sex worker if you were from ancient Greece. Solid lipstick as we know it today was invented by an Arab scientist in the 9AD and thereafter, the French company Guerlain in 1884 started producing the first commercially available lipstick.

Fast forward into the 21st century and not much has changed about the ingredients of lipsticks although its uses and social meanings have changed. Lipsticks today still contain even more harmful substances such as chromium, lead, aluminium, cadmium and several other metals that are toxic to the human body. Many of the lipsticks today are especially known to contain a dangerous neurotoxin known as lead. What makes lead dangerous is that when ingested, it accumulates in the body and because the body does not possess any chemical processes that could help break down the lead substance – there is no safe level of lead in the blood. Additionally, there has been research that has shown the correlation between extremely high levels of lead and cognitive issues, miscarriages and infertility. These are just a few of the effects of this chemical substance in the body. Given this, it is important for pregnant women to note that this chemical substance and other harmful lipstick substances can easily go through the placenta and find their way to the brain of the foetus.

Source: iStock photos

How to lessen the exposure to some of the dangerous chemicals in lipsticks:

· Avoid lipstick that has dark colours. It contains a lot more of the toxic chemicals that are found in lipsticks.

· Avoid putting on lipstick during pregnancy as its ingestion may lead to complications with the foetus.

· Buy clean lipsticks (toxin free) or natural lipsticks.

· Reduce the amount of days you put on lipstick, keep it under 3 days at most.

· Apply Petroleum jelly on your lips before you put on lipstick to minimise the damage.