Can You Get Lead Poisoning From Lipstick?

Feature | Woman with brown hair doing lipstick and holding little mirror | Can You Get Lead Poisoning From Lipstick?

Your favorite lipstick can have trace amounts of lead. Yikes! Before you kiss your favorite lipstick goodbye, read on to know just how risky it actually is to swipe some toxic color on your lips.

Lead Poisoning from Lipstick: Read up Before You Pucker Up

What Is Lead?

Close up and beautiful heap of aluminium or aluminum ingots | Can You Get Lead Poisoning From Lipstick?

Lead is a heavy metal element which naturally occurs in the earth’s crust. Ingesting high amounts of lead can be toxic to animals and humans, causing serious health concerns.

How Does It Affect the Body?

Lead builds up in the body over time in small amounts, increasing a person’s toxicity levels. Prolonged and frequent exposure to this toxic element leads to lead poisoning.

Why Is There Lead in Makeup?

Lead, a naturally-occurring element, is not a cosmetic ingredient included in the Cosmetics and Toiletries Bench Reference (CBR). This heavy metal is a natural by-product in food and cosmetics because lead is absorbed from the raw materials used by both industries.

Does Lipstick Contain Lead?

Lipstick products may contain lead because the cosmetic pigments used to produce different shades are made up of synthetic iron oxides, which come from natural sources.

Makeup companies don’t purposefully add lead as an ingredient when they manufacture their products, as it just happens to be found naturally in raw materials for cosmetics.

What Lipstick Brands Contain Lead?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analyzed 400 different lipsticks and found low levels of lead content in almost all of the products tested. It suggests doing your research or writing to makeup companies whose cosmetics you support to find out how much lead they might have in their products.

How Much Lead Is in a Tube of Lipstick?

According to the FDA’s research on lead in lipstick, the average lipstick lead content across the 400 brands they tested was 1.11 parts per million (ppm).

The lipstick brand which was the “leading” offender contained 7.19 ppm of lead in every tube.

What Are the Health Risks of Lead Content in Cosmetics?

The lead content of cosmetics aren’t high enough to raise concerns for lead poisoning. But, lead builds up in the body over time, so it’s best to be wary about how frequent you use makeup, especially lipsticks which women can swallow a little bit of every day.

Which Lipstick Brand Is Lead-Free?

Because the iron oxides which give lipsticks their bright colors contain trace amounts of lead, no lipstick brand can claim to be 100% lead-free. It’s safest to go with cruelty-free, chemical-free organic makeup brands which are sure to contain smaller amounts of lead and other toxins.

Which Lip Color or Pigment Contains the Highest Amount of Lead?

Beautiful Luxury Modern High End Red Orange Bold Lipstick | Can You Get Lead Poisoning From Lipstick?

Red is one of the most popular lipstick shades but it also contains the highest level of lead because of the colorants used for this hue. Try to lessen swiping rouge on your lips if you’re concerned about the health risks of lead in lipstick.

Is Lead Listed in Lipstick Ingredients?

Lead is not a cosmetic ingredient purposefully added to lipstick so it’s not really listed on product packaging. A wide range of lipsticks, from affordable brands to luxury labels, can contain varying amounts of lead.

How Can I Check If My Lipstick Has Lead Content?

There is no surefire way to determine lipstick lead ppm content so it’s best to cut back a bit on cosmetics if you’re a frequent user. Also, contact your favorite makeup brands and let them know that as a consumer, products which are free of lead and other chemicals are important to you.

Does the FDA Regulate Lead Content in Lipstick?

Lead is a naturally-occurring element and impurity in the environment so it cannot be completely avoided in cosmetic products. The FDA doesn’t regulate lead content in lipsticks and other cosmetic products but they published a draft guidance for companies recommending the maximum amounts of lead in cosmetics.

What Other Toxic Chemicals Does My Makeup Contain?

Researchers at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health analyzed 32 different lipsticks common in department stores and drugstores. Their research found toxic chemicals which included aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese, some of which were detected at levels that may raise health concerns.

Do Organic Cosmetics Contain Lead?

Organic cosmetics may contain trace amounts of lead but not as high as those found in their counterparts which aren’t made of mostly natural ingredients. All-natural beauty products are still the better option for makeup which is safe for skin.

What Amount of Lead Is Considered Safe Enough?

As a neurotoxin, lead can be dangerous even at small doses, there is no “safe level” of lead content. Public health experts are clear that any level of exposure to lead is unhealthy and poses a number of health risks.

What Is Lead Poisoning?

Lead poisoning occurs when this toxic metal builds up in the body over time. This serious condition can sometimes have dangerous and fatal consequences on the body.

RELATED: Chemicals Banned From Cosmetics In Europe But Not In The US

What Are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?

Symptoms of lead poisoning can vary for every person and affects many different parts of the body.

  • Digestive System Concerns: sleep problems, constipation, loss of appetite
  • Circulatory System Issues: high blood pressure, abdominal pain and cramps
  • Body Pains: fatigue, headaches, numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Mental Health: aggressive behavior, irritability, loss of developmental skills in children, memory loss, anemia

How Can I Treat Lead Poisoning?

Chelation therapy is a treatment which binds the lead accumulated in the bloodstream by circulating a chelating solution in your body. You then excrete the lead and toxins through your urine.

Who Is at Risk for Lead Poisoning?

Anyone can ingest or absorb lead from the cosmetics we use or food we eat. Women who frequently use and re-apply their lipstick can swallow higher amounts of product, so they ingest more amounts of lead in small doses.

When Is It Considered Fatal?

If someone shows these signs of severe lead exposure, make sure to call your healthcare provider right away:

  • vomiting
  • severe abdominal cramping and pain
  • stumbling when walking
  • muscle weakness
  • seizures
  • coma

Are There Ways to Prevent It?

A dust-free, clean home which is free from lead-based paint and other lead-based products can help cases of lead poisoning. In matters of health and beauty, best to go for organic products which less chemicals and other toxic ingredients.


A little lead goes a long way so it’s good to be wary about what you put on your skin and in your body. When it comes to beauty and health, organic products which have a smaller lead and toxic content are the best options.

Which lipstick and lead fact surprised you the most? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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