Trace metal contents of facial (make-up) cosmetics commonly used in Nigeria

  • IC Nnorom
  • JC Igwe
  • CG Oji-Nnorom
Keywords: Heavy metals, eye, cosmetics, make-up, lead.


Several facial cosmetics available in Nigeria were analyzed for their contents of the heavy metals; lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, zinc and iron. The levels of chromium, iron and zinc were much higher in the samples than those of the non-essential toxic metals; lead, cadmium and nickel. The range of the geometric average for the various cosmetics is: Fe, 97-256 g/g; Ni, 8-13 g/g; Pb, 87-123 g/g; and Zn, 88-101 g/g. The geometric mean values obtained for Cr and Cd were generally below 40 g/g and about 1 g/g, respectively. Our result indicates that these cosmetics are relatively safer to use when compared to the lead-based kwali eye make-up commonly available in Nigeria. These data indicate that the continuous use of these cosmetics could result in an increase in the trace metal levels in the ocular system and the human body beyond acceptable limits. The application of these cosmetics needs to be considered as a source of lead in evaluating patients with symptoms of lead intoxication in regions where this practice is common.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5315