“OPINION” Look great naturally without ditching the lipstick

Can your lipstick give you heart problems? That was the recent headline in a national newspaper. I’ve been banging on about it for years but finally the mainstream are catching up and guys this affects you too. It’s not just lipstick — the offending culprit, the chemical preservative triclosan, is also found in toothpastes, soaps, deodorant and many other toiletry and household products. Triclosan is linked to thyroid and fertility problems. Scarily, the article also reminded us that lead is still contained in many lipsticks but of course it’s unlikely to be printed in large letters on the packaging!

Scientists had thought that the chemical — which was devised to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals — was metabolised quickly by the body without harmful effects. However, researchers at the University of California say it may remain active and be transported to organs, causing damage. Professor Isaac Pessah who led the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: “These findings provide strong evidence that it is of concern to both human and environmental health. Triclosan can hinder the process in which muscles — including the heart — receive signals from the brain. Under EU law, triclosan can be used in concentrations of up to 0.3 per cent in toothpastes and cosmetics.”

Of course The Daily Mail offers the contrary view! Dr Chris Flower, of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association, said the study ‘did nothing’ to undermine the safe use of triclosan. “It used doses of triclosan many times larger than the amount you’d get from using cosmetic products” he said.

However, my view is clear. Even if triclosan is not a scary chemical ingredient, there are many others we need to avoid in all our personal care products. There are approximately 10,000 synthetic chemicals passed ‘safe’ for use in skincare, beauty and household products and so it’s easy to see that there is not just one individual chemical or even individual product that causes concern but the cumulative effect. We are literally swimming in a kind of toxic soup — it’s no wonder there is such a huge rise in insomnia, asthma, respiratory problems and worse.

The good news is suggested in the title of my current book Look Great Naturally Without Ditching The Lipstick (or the toothpaste or deodorants for that matter) — there is a natural alternative to just about everything. The trick is to look for the companies who are really proud of their natural credentials. The words ‘pure’, natural’ and even ‘organic’ don’t necessarily mean much, you need to look for products that are accredited by legitimate organisations such as the Soil Association and Organic Farmers & Growers. Choose products which are 100% organic and state they contain no parabens, preservatives or sodium laurel sulphate. With regards to the lipstick, it’s thought that women swallow up to 1.5kgs of it in their lifetime and I dare say men get some traces during a kiss too, so at least make your lipstick a natural one. You can find all my recommended lipsticks and lip-balms in the Janey Loves section of my website.

For recommendations and a DIY recipe for making your own natural lip balm, try Look Great Naturally Without Ditching the Lipstick by Janey Lee Grace (Hay House Publishing).

Janey Lee Grace

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