No, Your Lipstick Will Not Give You Cancer - My Favorite Lipstick Myths

in MakeUp Powerlast year


COVID makes me miss wearing lipstick so much because wearing one under my mask is just a total mess. So I thought of writing an article about it.


I wish I can wear them over my mask , LOL

Back in my last year in college, I could remember one day when everything was falling out of place: we had several revisions in our design project, we need to redo experiments for our research, there was short notice announcement for an exam and there was this classmate named Edward who keeps telling people who flunked the past exam to just quit Engineering.

I was so stressed out and couldn’t even figure out which one to prioritize. I knew before dealing with any one of these, I had to first deal with my state of mind. That moment when I thought I was about to explode, I went to the restroom, took a deep breath, rinsed my face with water, put on a face powder (that was all I had back then) and wore my Mac Russian Red Lipstick I got from my mom. I knew it didn’t solve my problem but dang, I did feel better. That’s the power of lipstick can give me. We know we are queens and we have crowns of our own, but lipsticks are those tiny gems on our crowns that add glamour to our queendom.

This obsession of women over lipstick is faced with different myths crawling around the internet. Being told that we shouldn’t be using what we think is one of the greatest invention for womankind, would definitely be alarming to us. Don’t worry, this article is a reassurance that your lipstick can keep its spot in your everyday-essentials-artillery. Let’s explore some myths about lipstick that you may have heard from your workmate Karen, or read from an article that appeared on your Facebook timeline (which was probably shared by your friend, Karen).

It Contains Toxic Lead


In the first place, what is Toxic? Toxicity of substances is dependent on its amount. The truth is, all chemicals can be toxic or dangerous – at a certain dosage. It is true that traces of lead were found in many lipstick products but there is no credible study proving that FDA-approved lipsticks can cause lead poisoning.

The real problem? Scary things are much more interesting to share than facts. Even some brands use this myth for marketing. “Lead-free” lipsticks seem to imply that the presence of such substance is dangerous which is not necessarily the case. It may be present, but in tolerable amounts. In fact, lead occurs in food because it is naturally present in the environment. It may come from soil that are absorbed by plants that are later on, consumed by humans.

Lipsticks Will Give You Cancer

lipstick can cause cancer.jpg

Ahh, A classic - My Personal Favorite. Few years back, websites in the internet spread a story that prolonged use of lipstick can cause breast cancer among women. This was based on a published study [1] concluding that Butyl Benzyl Pthalate (BBP) can cause changes on genome expression or mammary tissue in rats. BBP is an organic compound belonging to the family of phthalates that has similar properties to the female hormone, estrogen. Because Butyl Benzyl Pthalate are also present in lipsticks, this gave birth to the myth that lipsticks can cause cancer.

Butyl benzyl phthalate.png

Butyl Benzyl Pthalate

However, recent studies show that amount of BBP that induced hormonal changes in rats is 125 times greater than the highest estimate of what the general population is currently exposed to [2]. Although one cannot argue that BBP is toxic, the amount that is present in or lipstick is not enough to cause cancer.

“CLASS-A lipsticks” Has The same Quality as the Authentic Ones.

If you live in the Philippines or in many parts of Asia, Chinese Rip-Offs are everywhere. Class A lipstick is just a euphemism for FAKE lipstick. Go wear fake shoes or fake bags – just not fake topical products-much more products for your lips. They are often called "Class A" which sellers use to tell you "it's fake, but it's good-quality-fake". However, the reason I don’t patronize fake make up products is the lack of accountability of its manufacturers. The fact that they are imitations means they do not have own brands that they have to protect and no name to live up to. They do not put high regard on quality standards and their quality control. I’m not talking about the “perceivable” qualities like shade, texture, skin feel and longevity. Rather, I’m concerned with the parameters not detectable by our senses like bacterial count and heavy metal content. If tight on budget, I’d rather buy a cheap drugstore lipstick than spend the same amount on cheap, imitations of high-end brands.

Lipsticks Will Turn Your Lips Darker

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Some lipsticks can cause staining on the lips, but when properly removed every day, this shouldn’t be a problem. Dark lips can be genetic or can be caused by other factors:

  • Sun damage – Remember that our lips still consist of skin cells and is vulnerable to UV damage like the rest of our skin. In fact, wearing lipstick can be helpful to protect lips. Matte or opaque lipstick provides a little SPF and is better than no protection.

  • Not moisturizing - Dry lips will always appear darker than when moisturized.

  • Not exfoliating- Dry and dead skin cells are darker than moist and healthy ones. Lip scrubs or even as simple as gentle brushing of your lips using our tooth brush can aid in exfoliating.

  • Smoking - Smoker’s lips can be characterized by visible vertical wrinkles and may appear darker than the natural shade. Smoking hastens the skin’s aging process hence the early appearance of wrinkles.


Nicotine from cigarettes causes blood vessels to shrink, decreasing the vessel diameter. This results to reduced blood flow that could starve the skin with nutrients and oxygen that may lead to premature cell death. Dead cells always appear darker than new, healthy ones. Both tar and nicotine in smoke can also react with melanin resulting to hyperpigmentation.

Lipsticks Will Make Your Lips Dry


YES and NO. – depends on the type of lipstick. From personal experience, most liquid matte lipstick have caused my lips to dry after application. This may be caused by the volatile substances that carries water from your lips as the lipstick dries up, seconds after application. Application of lip balm can be a way to minimize dryness because it creates a waxy layer between your lips and the product.

But here are matte lipsticks that I personally find non-drying:

  1. Maybelline superstay
  2. Nyx matte balm

Red Lipsticks are For Fair Skin

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cool undertones.jpg

Total myth. There are several shades of red that will compliment whatever skin tone you have. Truth is, no one can really tell you which shade you should and shouldn’t wear. As long as you wear it with confidence, any shade will look flattering.


1.Moral R, Wang R, Russo I et al. The plasticizer butyl benzyl phthalate induces genomic changes in rat mammary gland after neonatal/prepubertal exposure. BMC Genomics. 2007; 8:453.

2. Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR), NTP-CERHR Monograph on the Potential Human Reproductive and Developmental Effects of Butyl Benzyl Phthalate (BBP), Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR), Editor. 2006, National Toxicology Program - US Department of Health and Human Services.



Anne Porter

I'm Catherine Anne - I love to be called by my two names but people are lazy so they call me Anne. I am a Chemical Engineer, Pole Dancer, Cosmetic Nerd and Crypto-Newbie squeezed into a five-foot-one human. I am excited to share pieces of my self to this community. I hope that you love this tiny space I occupy in Hive.

If you think I deserve some lovin' please do upvote this post and leave a comment - I'd be very happy to read them. Follow me so I can annoy you more often. Love ya'


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