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By Ann Louise Gittleman, Hive Advisor

Avoid heavy metals hidden in cosmetics.

The quest for beauty has spanned the history of humanity. Forty thousand years ago, people painted their faces with red ocher crayons to look attractive. Around the time of the Mesolithic Era (10,000 years ago B.C.E.) castor oil and animal grease were the thing for softening the skin. Lipsticks were a hot item 5,000 years ago in the ancient civilization, Ur. And beauty seekers in 1000 B.C. kept their bodies silky smooth with scrubs made out of clay and sand.

Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile — a name we all equate with alluring beauty — kept herself looking good for Mark Antony by placing sesame seed and barley packs on her face. Greek physicians created the first cold creams out of beeswax, olive oil, and rose water, while Romans poured beautifying milk from goats into the communal baths. Vigilant beauty buffs, the Venetians dyed their hair with plant color, then covered it with clay and baked it in the sun.

While we can all marvel at the efforts of the beauty seekers of antiquity, you would be very surprised to learn that today’s makeup is not only far from natural — in many cases — but it may be far from safe.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I came across the blog “Heavy Metals Found in Cosmetics: Not Listed on Labels.” I learned that according to a 2011 report, an Ontario, Canada, research group found many heavy metals lurking in common cosmetic and makeup products of average Canadian women. The researchers tested lip gloss, mascara, foundation, blush, eye shadows, and eye liner. They found that every single one of the 49 products tested contained at least one toxic metal like arsenic, cadmium, lead, nickel, beryllium, thallium, and selenium!



Lip gloss — which can be worn daily — contained the highest amounts of arsenic, cadmium, and lead, with the name brand Benefit Benetint lip gloss containing 110 parts per millions of lead—a good 10 times more than is allowed by the Canadian cosmetic regulating agency.

Heavy metals — like all contaminants — can accumulate over time. Arsenic can affect fertility, causes visual impairment, skin discoloration, and loss of nails. I just found the highest levels I have ever measured in a Tissue Mineral Analysis with an individual who has been diagnosed with ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), so this heavy metal is nothing to ignore.

Cadmium has been linked to lung and prostate cancer, as well as kidney damage. Lead, a well known neurotoxin, is connected to a lowered IQ, tumors, twitching, jerking of limbs, confusion, and seizures.

Name brands like Clinique, MAC, L’Oreal, Cover Girl, and Almay all had products with sky-high levels of impurities. Find out if any of your beauty mainstays were the worst offenders — read the complete findings here.

The truth is I’ve really had it with manufacturers that incorporate “unclean” and sneaky ingredients in their beauty product lines —  ingredients that can actually add years to your appearance, destroy your skin, and harm your health.

This article was republished with permission from the author.

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