As Halloween approaches, children across the country will paint their faces with butterflies, fairies, lions, superheroes, and, of course, scary zombies. Because face paints do not require FDA approval, many of the ingredients commonly found in face packs are even worse than the costumes themselves.
A report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which tested 10 popular brands of facial paints, found traces of heavy metals such as lead, nickel, and chromium, alarmingly high levels. But this is not the end. Face paints can also contain a number of anxiety supplements that have been linked to long-term adverse health effects, such as cancer, birth defects, hormone imbalances, or learning disabilities.
Children who sell these products are especially vulnerable to toxins due to their developing body and sensitive skin. Moreover, paints are usually applied close to areas such as the eyes and mouth, where they can be easily swallowed and absorbed.
TOXINS TO AVOID FACE PAINT
The following toxins or ingredients have been found in store-bought face packs and should always be avoided.
Lead: Yes, an extremely toxic neurotoxin associated with lower IQ, learning and behavioral problems, is commonly found in face paint. Some face paints contain a shocking amount of lead: 15,200 ppm. No amount of lead is considered safe for the child.
Cadmium: A hormone disruptor associated with breast, kidney, lung, and prostate cancer has been found in more than 30% of tested face colors.
Chromium: A heavy metal and a well-known skin allergen that is widely restricted from use in cosmetics, but is still found in face paints.
Fragrance: Often in dozens of undisclosed chemicals, the “aroma” usually contains phthalates, which are hormone disrupters, among other potentially dangerous chemicals.
Parabens: These are preservatives that are often added to face paints and cosmetics. They are also endocrine disruptors and have been found in breast cancer tissue.
Barium: Rat poison was found at levels 40 times the safety limit for children. When barium enters the body, severe pain occurs in the stomach.
Talc: May be contaminated with asbestos and then considered carcinogenic. Talc has also been linked to mesothelioma, inflammation, and ovarian cancer and is found in face paints.
The good news for parents is that on this Halloween (and throughout the rest of the year) these scary ingredients are pretty easy to protect from your baby’s sensitive skin.
5 TIPS FOR NON-TOXIC HALLOWEEN
Look for shades that come from natural sources such as organic beets, purple carrots, turmeric, red cabbage and calendula
Do not rely on labels that claim that the ink is “safe,” “non-toxic,” “hypoallergenic,” or “dermatologically tested,” these labels are unregulated and are often a case of “greenwash”.
Avoid foods that have an added artificial flavor (such as a “fruity smell”)
Instead, try using headgear or mask, or better yet, make your own using natural paints. See our Halloween store for ideas.
Need to remove natural face paint? Try Organic Coconut Oil!
2 non-toxic face paints
Natural Earth Face Paint: Made from over 70 percent organic ingredients, similar to body paints that were used thousands of years ago. These paints are safe – with ingredients such as organic shea butter and castor oil.
Natural Earth Face Paint – Mini: An easy-to-transport face and body painting kit containing four paint cans and one bamboo applicator.