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A perfect shade of lipstick can both complement and complete your entire look. Not only does it enhance beauty but also boosts confidence and helps improve self-esteem. Ranging from matte to bold and bright there is a colour for every occasion and season.

But did you ever wonder what your lipsticks are made of?

Truth is that cosmetic products like lipsticks usually contain ingredients which are quite harmful to your skin and health and long term exposure proves to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Even though the ingredients of a cosmetic vary from product to product there are certain harmful chemicals which are usually used in every product.

Out of all those, the major five are listed below:

Heavy Metals

  • Lead: Lead is long since been thought of as a fabled ingredient in lipsticks. Though research suggests that most lipsticks do contain significant amounts of this heavy metal, which, if consumed in higher amounts, can lead to severe neurological disorders.
  • Chromium: Chromium is yet another heavy metal and one of the most common ingredients in lipsticks. It is useful for industrial purposes but consuming chromium can lead to stomach tumours.
  • Cadmium: It is one of the major ingredients used in most cosmetic products. Direct contact of cadmium with skin or mucous membrane can be really toxic for your reproductive and nervous system.

Parabens are a group of compounds usually used as a preservative in cosmetic products. However, research shows that it is often linked with hormonal imbalances and can be the reason for early puberty in teens. Long term exposure to parabens may lead to skin irritation or even cancer.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
BHA is an organic compound and an antioxidant. It is usually used as a preservative, stabilizer or for adding fragrance to lipsticks. However, over time it can lead to skin irritation and hormone disruption, the latter being responsible for various problems related to reproductive health or menstrual cycle.

Your lipstick gets its colour from various dyes, which are usually prepared from synthetic substances like aluminium, petroleum products and heavy metals. Some of these ingredients have been found to be potentially carcinogenic when used for long term. The FDA generally approved most of the ingredients in every cosmetic but the norms for food colourants and cosmetic dyes are a bit different so even if a dye is not approved as a food colourant it may be present in your lipstick. So, it is best to stick to natural and organic lipsticks instead. They may not have so many bold colours but they are definitely safer.

Tocopheryl Acetate
It is a specific form of Vitamin E which is laboratory created and can be harmful to your skin. Manufacturers usually take Vitamin E and add acetic acid to it to make it long-lasting and reduce its cost. However, this combination can cause symptoms like itching, burning, peeling and blisters on your skin.

Choose the right lipstick
So your lipstick has many potentially carcinogenic compounds, but you don’t really have to quit your favourite shades completely. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid the severe consequences:

  • Instead of using long-lasting lipsticks or putting them on for the whole day, you may remove it once you get back home and try to limit its usage.
  • Pick your lip shades and glosses wisely. Wherever possible look for certification labels. Such products may have a lower amount of heavy metals and would hence be safer to use.
  • Read the ingredients of your lipstick before buying or using it and try using more herbal and natural products.
  • You may also apply some moisturizing lip balm before putting on your lipstick so as to keep your lips protected.

Before brightening your lips with beautiful colours, you must look out for your health and try and choose the products which are not just beautiful but are also high in quality and safe to use.

(Read more: 4 Easy tips to get soft and supple lips)

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