There have been conflicting reports over the years about whether or not pregnant women should color their hair. Despite some research suggesting that only tiny amounts of chemicals from hair dye are actually absorbed, you still see cautious expectant moms with dark roots. But other than that, wearing things like mascara and lipstick seemed just fine and dandy. However, a report recently popped up, suggesting that wearing lipstick is dangerous for pregnant women. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold the phone. Say what?! Why is a supremely popular cosmetic item like lipstick now considered problematic for a woman's fetus? Is it time to sound the lipstick alarm?
The sleuths at Allure probed the dramatic headline, looking for the truth, to debunk any myths, and to perhaps halt the hysteria that could arise and surrounding an article from The New York Post. That piece cited a Columbia University study that concluded that exposure to chemicals known as phthalates, which are sometimes contained in common products like lipstick and nail polish, posed a risk to the the intellectual development of one's offspring. That's quite a scary thought at first.
But deeper digging yielded some answers that mean you won't be tossing your lipstick tubes and going bare-lipped anytime soon.
The study in question was titled "Persistent Associations Between Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates on Child IQ at Age 7 Years." Breaking it down, the research measured phthalates in the urine of inner-city mothers during their third trimester. Then, the researchers administered an IQ test to those formerly gestating children when they turned 7. The data yielded this find: children whose mothers were exposed to the highest levels of phthalates had lower IQs than children whose mothers had lower phthalate exposure.
Still a little nerved up about this news?
Well, Allure contacted the study's author, who clarified some details, pointing out that phthalates are everywhere. They make plastic flexible and they hold fragrance, so they are utilized in cosmetics, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and lots of other common items.
Therefore, it was quite a bit of a leap for the Post's piece to attribute the danger and the lower IQ to mom wearing lipstick, since so many other products have phthalates in them. It seems like further research would need to be done on which products-with-phthalates mothers are exposed to.
Here's something that should squash fears. Allure spoke to several major beauty product manufacturers, who noted that they had already eliminated these chemicals from their formulas or were currently working on doing so. Revlon and L'Oreal are phthalate-free. Procter & Gamble is 99 percent there and should be at 100 percent in a few months.
So pregnant women who love wearing lipstick can continue to swipe their fave Revlon or L'Oreal shade across their pout, since those brands are phthalate-free.
However, if you are expecting, you may want to do a little more research and make sure your fave brands don't employ these chemicals in their product recipes.
You can also brush up on the coloring-hair-while-pregnant concerns, too.
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