Until the mid 1800`s fashion dictated that wealthy European women should make their faces look pale, the whiter the better.
To achieve this look a cosmetic called ceruse, whose principal ingredient was white lead, was widely used. Unfortunately white lead is highly toxic and as a consequence ceruse led to many untimely deaths.
Food and Drug agencies in many parts of the world have recognized that some cosmetics may contain dangerous substances and have laid down stringent laws governing the use of ingredients and the clear labeling of contents to ensure cosmetic safety.
It is vital that purchasers of cosmetics satisfy themselves that the products either originate from countries that have cosmetic safety legislation in place or that they have been cleared for use by an approved safety agency. Product packaging should show an ingredient declaration.
There is one particular product known as Kohl that is still widely used around the world that is potentially dangerous.
Traditionally kohl has been used as a dramatic eye cosmetic. It contains heavy metal salts such as lead and antimony that are known to be toxic but as itâ€™s use has been confined to the eyes many feel that there is no danger.
The United States Food and Drug Administration have recognized the toxic properties of kohl and have not approved itsâ€™ use in cosmetics manufactured or imported into the U.S.
Most eye cosmetics are likely to be perfectly safe providing sensible precautions are taken
- Keep the cosmetics clean as misuse can cause dangerous bacteria to multiply on them that can lead to eye infections. There are recorded cases where an eye cosmetic has caused temporary or permanent blindness.
- Never, never share eye makeup or exchange used eye cosmetics with any body and only use a tester if the store provides single-use disposable applicators.
- Do not attempt to apply eye makeup in a moving vehicle, train or even on an aeroplane in flight. If you hit an air pocket, go over a bump or slow down suddenly there is a risk that the applicator you are using could damage your eye and result in an unpleasant injury or an infection.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has produced a list of cosmetic safety tips
They do not approve any color additives used for permanent dyeing or tinting eyelashes or eyebrows as they have been known to cause serious eye injuries and even blindness. So it is always advisable to go to a fully qualified beauty technician for any beauty treatment involving your eyes.