Killing Ourselves for Beauty: Formaldehyde in Our Hair, Lead on Our Lips

What would you do to feel beautiful? Would you pour formaldehyde on your hair? Rub lead on your lips? Before you answer no, you may want to read this.

It’s been a few years now since studies came out showing that many lipsticks contain lead and guess what, they still do. How is this possible? It’s not like this is a questionable toxin, it’s a scientific fact that lead is a neurotoxin. And of all the places we could put it, our lips are about the worst, every time you eat or drink you are consuming the lead. So how wide spread is this? Here is what the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics said about the study-

“The FDA study of 400 lipsticks was quietly posted on the agency’s website in December. The most contaminated brand in the study, Maybelline Color Sensation by L’Oreal USA, contained more than 275 times the amount of lead found in the least contaminated, and least expensive, brand, Wet & Wild Mega Mixers Lip Balm — demonstrating that price is not an indicator of good manufacturing practices.”

You may be thinking you aren’t at risk because you use “natural” brands but that may not be the case either. The list includes Burt’s Bees, Colorganics, and Estée Lauder Origins. You can find the full list on the FDA’s website. To help stop companies from putting lead in lipstick be sure to support the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics.

If lead on your lips isn’t bad enough, what about formaldehyde in your hair? It’s true, many woman are using formaldehyde on their hair but likely don’t even know it. The popular hair straightening product Brazilian Blowout contains a chemical called methylene glycol which releases formaldehyde when heated. The FDA has made Brazilian Blowout put a caution on their label saying it contains methylene glycol and that it releases formaldehyde but many salons still have the old bottles which say “contains no formaldehyde.”

So what’s so dangerous about formaldehyde? In short term it can cause eye and skin irritation, in the long term it can cause cancer. This makes it a very big risk for salons and their workers, and of course you. Tests have shown the amount of formaldehyde release reaches levels in which it’s recommend people around it wear respirators, but how many salons do you see using them? For more info you can check out this video from ABC with undercover footage from salons using this product.

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I know many of us want beautiful straight hair and pretty red lips but it’s not worth cancer. For straight hair stick with a flat iron and for your lips check Skin Deep for safe lipsticks.

So what do you think about all of this? Are the risks worth the results? Have you used these products in the past, will you still use them?

Photo Credit: Esparta