Lead is a mineral that occurs naturally in the earth's crust at an average of 13 ppm (parts per million).  Amounts of lead in air, water, and soil are typically small enough to calm any health concerns, but lead used in manufacturing presents bigger problems.  Continual exposure to products containing lead raises risks for kidney problems, cardiovascular disease, reproductive disorders, and other health issues.  While paint and pipes make common culprits, people might be surprised to learn women's skincare products and cosmetics also contain lead. 

EPA Restrictions

The Environmental Protection Agency restricts amounts of lead allowed in public drinking water to 15 ppm, lead in bottled water to 5 ppm, and lead in food intended for infants and children to 0.5 ppm.  For cosmetics and other skincare products, the agency allows lead levels up to 20 ppm.

This would be fine if the skin was a solid barrier that kept impurities from the bloodstream, but this is not the case.  Instead, the skin is a live, porous organ that absorbs impurities from anything with which it comes into contact.  In other words, what goes into the skin is just as important as what goes into the mouth.  For a healthy glow throughout life, women should take care when choosing skin care products and cosmetics.


When the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics brought forth concerns about lead in lipstick, the FDA tested hundreds of products.  Alarmingly, two back-to-back investigations found lead in every lipstick tested, with levels up to 3.06 ppm in the first test and levels up to 7.19 ppm in the second.  Because women lick their lips, eat, and kiss while wearing lipstick, ingestion of lead becomes a real concern.


Mineral Foundations and Creams

Lipsticks that tested positive for lead in the FDA investigation shared one common ingredient – mineral pigments.  These can also be found in mineral foundations and creams.  According to a Canadian study, testing on mineral makeups showed 96 percent contained lead, with the average mineral makeup containing four of eight dangerous heavy metals.

How do I find lead-free products?

Women enjoy looking pretty, but it shouldn't come at such a high price.  When purchasing any personal care products, it helps to read labels, but a long list of chemicals makes the process confusing.  The best way to quell worries about lead and other toxins and to promote healthy aging skin is to purchase organic skincare products that are toxin-free.