What Ingredients Are in Lipstick?

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The common ingredients found in almost all lipsticks include wax, oils, antioxidants, emollients and pigments, but the exact ingredients vary by brand. This product sometimes includes hazardous ingredients such as methylparaben, propylparaben, retinyl palmitate and tocopheryl acetate.

Solid lipstick often contains several types of wax to provide structure to the product. Some types of wax that are used include beeswax, ozokerite, candelilla wax and carnauba wax. Carnauba wax has a high melting point, so it is used as a key ingredient to strengthen lipstick. Some types of oils that are used to give lipstick its shiny appearance include olive oil, mineral oil, cocoa butter, lanolin and petrolatum.

Methylparaben is a preservative that is used in lipstick. It has been linked to cancer, and it may be disruptive to the body’s endocrine system. Propylparaben is an ingredient that can cause irritation to the eyes or cause allergic reactions. It is also linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. Retinyl palmitate is one synthetic form of vitamin A. The ingredient may be toxic to pregnant women, and limited evidence has linked it to a range of health problems, including cancer and reproductive issues. Tocopheryl acetate, also known as vitamin E acetate, may cause itching, burning, scaling, hives and blisters.