Human exposure to toxic elements through facial cosmetic products: Dermal risk assessment

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2022 Jun:131:105145. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2022.105145. Epub 2022 Feb 24.


Facial cosmetics are the most commonly consumed product, mainly by the women from all over the world irrespective of their age. The facial cosmetics may be contaminated with several toxic elements, which can get absorb on to the facial skin and migrate to the blood vessels. Hence the absorbed toxic elements can cause further adverse effects on the human body. The present study aims to assess the toxic element contents (arsenic, lead, nickel, mercury, and cadmium) in commonly consumed facial cosmetics (face powder, foundation, lightning creams, moisturizer, eye shadow, lipsticks, eyeliner, blush, mascara, sunscreen) and to carry out the risk assessment through different methods. The dermal risk was evaluated as SED, NOAEL, MoS, HQ and ILCR, which is linked with the exposure of selected toxic elements. The total CDDE for all selected elements in facial cosmetic products was found in increasing order as follow: face powder > foundation > lightning creams > moisturizer > eye shadow > lipsticks > eyeliner > blush > mascara > sunscreen. The HQ and HI values for selected elements were found to be < 1 in all facial cosmetics. Whereas the probable MoS of selected toxic elements in all facial cosmetics except eyeliner were found to be 3-4 folds lower than the minimum value of 100 regulated by the WHO.

Keywords: Chronic daily intake; Facial cosmetics; Margin of safety; Risk characterization; Systematic exposure dose; Toxic elements.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic*
  • Cosmetics* / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Powders
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sunscreening Agents


  • Cosmetics
  • Powders
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Arsenic