A Study of the Possible Harmful Effects of Cosmetic Beauty Products on Human Health

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Apr;170(2):476-84. doi: 10.1007/s12011-015-0477-2. Epub 2015 Aug 23.


The origins of the usage of different substances in beauty, skin, body, hair, and nails care products can be found in ancient times. To achieve better quality and enhance their effects, some additives such as preservatives, stabilizers, mineral pigments, dye, and shine were added to these products. Some of these substances may also have allergic, irritating, and harmful effects on human health. The aim of this study was the optimization of the potentiometric stripping analysis (PSA) for the purpose of determining the content of heavy metals (lead, cadmium, zinc), in some commercial cosmetic beauty products (lipsticks, lip glosses, eye shadows, and henna hair dye). In addition, in order to monitor the potential adverse effects of henna dye on hair quality, as well as the total body burden of heavy metals (Pb, Cd), the paper analyzed hair samples before and after henna dye treatment. Beauty products used for cosmetic purposes can have adverse effects to human health due to the fact that they contain lead, a highly toxic metal. The lead content in the tested samples varied depending on the additives used along with the method of production. The cosmetic products that were analyzed in this study contained a certain amount of zinc, which is an essential element, although its content above the prescribed limit may lead to side effects. Highly toxic metal, cadmium, was not detected in the tested samples. The presence of these metals in cosmetic products certainly indicate that it is necessary to monitor and determinate the content of toxic heavy metals in these products, especially because they are in direct contact with skin or mucous membranes and are often used in daily life.

Keywords: Cadmium; Cosmetic products; Lead; PSA; Zinc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / analysis*
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects
  • Cosmetics / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lead / analysis*


  • Cosmetics
  • Cadmium
  • Lead