When you reapply your lipstick, do you ever wonder what happened to the fresh coat you applied mere hours earlier?
If it’s not on your coffee cup, straw or significant other, it’s most likely settling somewhere you may not want it: your bloodstream. Because your skin is porous, whatever you put on it—lotion, lipstick or lather—is absorbed into your bloodstream.
While red lips are beautiful, what's lurking inside red lipstick may not be so beautiful. Photo By c.a.muller/Courtesy Flickr
That’s not a safe place for unregulated beauty products to live, especially when numerous studies state that people who wear lipstick swallow up to 10 pounds of it per year! Eating lead-contaminated lipstick over a span of a lifetime, even trace amounts, can’t be good for you.
Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the organization that is supposed to evaluate what’s good for you and not good for you, does not evaluate ingredients in beauty products. That’s why it’s easy for toxins such as lead, 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde to end up in your body. Consumers who demand organic food, healthy homes and clean indoor air should also demand safe everyday cosmetics, beauty products and personal-care products because what you put on your body is just as important as the food you eat, the home you live in and the air you breathe.
If the FDA isn’t going to monitor beauty products, who will? That’s when we must turn to independent watchdog groups. The most well-known cosmetics watchdog organization, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, has a history of commitment to making cosmetics companies come clean about what’s in their beauty products. Natural Home regularly relies on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, which profiles more than 42,000 personal-care products’ ingredients against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, when evaluating new personal-care products to feature in the magazine. Skin Deep is a joint effort of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group.
Other new campaigns are also emerging to voice outrage about the problem with toxic beauty products. Labels for Life strives to educate the public about toxic chemicals to look for when shopping for personal-care products. Its slogan, “Pretty Products For Healthy People Minus Many Lousy Chemical Substances,” is a mnemonic for the top 10 toxic chemicals found in beauty products. The group hopes this catch phrase catches on so that the public will remember to avoid beauty products that contain those chemicals. Labels for Life’s “WTF: Want Toxic Free Cosmetics” campaign alerts the FDA about the number of American consumers who want regulated beauty products. This past Mother’s Day, the group sent consumer-generated ads along with its own ads to executives at the FDA to protest the FDA’s stance on regulating ingredients in beauty products.
Labels for Life's "WTF: Want Toxic Free Cosmetics" campaign alerts consumers to the toxic chemicals found in every cosmetics. Photo Courtesy Labels for Life.
Grassroots efforts are the key to enacting change. Let’s tell Congress to require cosmetics companies to prove their beauty products and personal-care are safe enough eat—because if I’m going to devour 10 pounds of cherry red lipstick, it better not contain toxins.