Kids love to dress up in face paint, even when it’s not Halloween. Wearing face paint on any occasion is just plain fun and can really spur a child’s imagination.

But parents do need to be aware of the face paints they choose. Studies have shown that even face paints labeled as “safe”, “FDA-approved”, “hypoallergenic” or “non-toxic” may contain heavy metals such as lead, nickel, cobalt and chromium.

These toxic and allergy-causing metals are not intended ingredients, rather they contaminate the face paint when manufacturers use low-quality mineral ingredients that were not tested prior to use.

Children can ingest these metals when the makeup is applied to their lips, or when they touch their face and then their mouth. These heavy metals are not listed on the package as ingredients, so it’s difficult for parents to know whether the face paint is safe.

Healthier Alternatives

  • Choose face paints that have been independently tested to be free from heavy metal contaminants and petrochemicals.
  • Choose face paints whose labels say they are free from parabens, formaldehyde, synthetic dyes and other harmful chemicals.
  • Look for face paints colored with natural pigments from fruits, vegetables, flowers and other botanicals.

Good To Know

  • While titanium dioxide can be harmful when inhaled as a dust, it is not absorbed through the skin or gastrointestinal tract. Therefore it is considered safe in face paints, sunscreens and lip products.
  • Ingesting an entire mouthful of zinc oxide may act as a mild laxative, but this mineral is otherwise considered not harmful in face paints.

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