Lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, chromium, zinc, iron, cadmium, nickel: toxic heavy metals found on the periodic table. In large amounts, these are generally bad for you, right? Right.
Heavy metal poisoning is the build-up of toxic metals in the soft tissues of your body. Some common signs and symptoms include extreme fatigue, depression, muscle pain or tics, night sweats, sore gums, skin problems, brain fog, insomnia, memory loss, medication intolerance and a metallic taste in your mouth.
You’re probably thinking, “You’re silly. I would never willingly apply these substances to my body! Where would I find them anyways?”
Well, if you’re hoping the only place to find those are in warehouses and metal shops, you might be out of luck. Did you know you can find these in some of your popular name-brand cosmetics? Did you also know that the average woman absorbs about five pounds of make-up chemicals into her skin per year? We live by make-up, so we cannot even begin to imagine how much our faces absorb per month! Over time, this all adds up.
If you were like us, when you first heard this, you ran to your favorite products to check to see if any of the metals above were listed. Unfortunately, make-up companies are not required to list the contaminants.
Check out this 2011 study done by the Environmental Defence of Canada that lists products that do contain trace amounts of toxic metals.
Here’s a short list of some of the brands: Laura Mercier, MAC, L’Oréal, Mary Kay, Sephora, Clinique, Maybelline, Too Faced, Benefit, and Urban Decay.
Before you freak out and go into a frenzy (because we honestly did since we are obsessed with all things Urban Decay), you need to know that small and individual exposures are very unlikely to cause harm. So unless you are heavily applying and reapplying make-up filled with heavy metals more than once daily, you will most likely be okay.
If you are feeling a good amount of the symptoms listed above, don't hestitate to contact a doctor and express your concerns. Heavy metal poisoning is reversible with chelation therapy, a synthetic solution of EDTA that is able to bind to the heavy metals to flush them out.
In the meantime, be aware and know what you're putting on your face. If you want to stay up to date on the safety of your make-up, check out The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics!
What do you think, collegiettes? Surprised or not surprised? Let us know in the comments below!