A new study that finds troubling levels of toxic metals in lipstick and lip gloss is giving women reason to pause before puckering up. John Salerno, M.D., a board-certified family physician who specializes in complementary medicine, tells Newsmax Health that women are wise to reconsider all the cosmetics they have been using because heavy metal contamination is not limited to the sheen on their lips.
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The medical implications may be serious because associations have been made between certain metals and health problems, including aluminum exposure and memory loss and cadmium exposure and cancer.
“We would advise, wherever possible, [that] women either try to find sources where there are toxic metal-free lipsticks, mascaras and eyeliners, etc.,” he says. “It’s really very, very important. A lot of this clearly can get into the skin and we can show that with blood tests and urine tests.”
In addition to the recent University of California, Berkeley study, Dr. Salerno notes a Canadian study that found 96 percent of the eyeliners, mascaras and bronzers tested contained lead.
“You almost have to assume no matter what you have in your drawers and bags is probably contaminated with some of these metals,” says Dr. Salerno, who was a protégé of the late Atkins Diet creator Dr. Robert Atkins.
When shopping for cosmetics, Dr. Salerno advises looking for products labeled “organic” and made from natural sources. In New York City, where he practices, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue have cosmetic counters devoted to organic cosmetics made free of heavy metals. Also, the websites for the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics offer useful guides and consumer information.
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