Halloween is the one night a year where parents can act like their kids and kids can dress up as anything they want to be. But while it's the one night a year when kids can really use their imaginations and create a fun costume, one of the more commong elements of many costumes — face paint — may not be such a good idea. According to one recent study, face paints are considered dangerous. And with Halloween right around the corner, parents are rightly concerned about the toxic metals reportedly found in various Halloween makeup products. Before covering your little pumpkin's face in bright orange face paint, you might want to reconsider.
One of the best parts about dressing up for Halloween as a child is the full transformation — which includes wearing brightly colored face paint that takes any ordinary costume into the realm of extraordinary. However, it's made less fun when you find out that that same colorful face paint may contain some very scary ingredients. A recent study done by the Breast Cancer Fund shows just how dangerous the face paint can be.
According to the fund, there is a "widespread presence of toxic chemicals in cosmetic products marketed to kids." This in turn means that the face paint you just bought at the department store or Halloween shop could potentially be toxic to your skin and your children's skin.
"When it comes to Halloween makeup and novelty makeup for children, the tests are showing there are heavy metals showing up," Jen Coleman, from the Oregon Environmental Council, said in a statement. According to the study, over half of the Halloween face paint palettes that were tested had tested positively for heavy metals — such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury. The darker the color (such as black and purple), the more likely it had a heavy metal in it. According to USA Today, the federal government does not require children's face paint to be tested for these contaminants.
Just how scary is that? Scarier than the run of the mill horror film parents will watch this month on Netflix once the kids are in bed.
These heavy metals often have detrimental effects. According to the Breast Cancer Research Fund, lead is "strongly associated with learning disabilities and developmental problems," while cadmium is "linked to breast, kidney, lung, and prostate cancer." Furthermore, the CDC notes that there is no safe level of lead in children and that it can affect "nearly every system in the body."
While a kitty cat costume might look incomplete without the whiskers and nose painted on a kid's face, there is a way for kids to avoid being exposed to these awful heavy metals. Amazon, along with other companies sell all natural, certified organic face paint without any toxic chemicals. These are safe to use on kid's faces and come with ingredients that parents can recognize. And if parents are truly in a crunch, according Boise NBC affiliate KTVB, the lighter, less pigmented face paint colors from the Halloween face paint kits should be okay to use on kid's faces in a pinch.
Children should be allowed to use their imaginations and have fun with their costumes this Halloween. However, parents should take a second look at the face paint they own and consider swapping it out for a more natural alternative to really make sure their child's costume is both fun and safe.