Cleopatra’s Eye Make-Up Had Health Benefits

Cleopatra’s Eye Make-Up Had Health Benefits (January 8, 2010)

* Summary

French scientists had discovered that the heavy eye make-up which ancient Egyptian women enjoyed may have been good for their eyes health. They claimed the research result by publishing the content in the journal Analytical Chemistry. They said the result was due to the lead in the mixture the Egyptians used for their make-ups, that it helped to fight with bacteria which induce eye infections! Even though the lead is known as a lethal component to human health, if only small amount of lead is used, it gives health benefits according to scientists from the Louvre Museum and the CNRS research institute. Also the most popular model for her dark eye make-up in ancient Egypt is Cleopatra. She used to darken her eyes to look sexier. However, according to the study shown in the news, maybe she meant for not only beauty on her face but also health for her eyes!

* Opinion

I was also the one who worried about my skins and health when I put cosmetics on, because sometimes components in products are not healthy to our skins. Especially when it’s about eye make-up, I always tried to find cosmetics that have components that are less harmful to my skins because eye skins are thinner and weaker than other parts of a face. Also, most of eye make-ups are dark, composed of brown and black colors. Therefore, I thought make-ups on eyes should be more harmful to our skins. However, according to the article, it says that small amount of lead is beneficial to our eyes! Well, though it was scientists who discovered through scientific measures such as investigations, experiments, or analyzations, I don’t think people would truly believe the result and try lead on their faces. Even me, even though I am the one who found the article, I will not buy any cosmetics if it says ‘there is lead in this eye shadow which has health benefits! So go ahead and try me!’. Also I believe there are already many medicines or healthy components that scientists have discovered, so I will not have to try lead on my eyes 😉

* Related Link

However, I feel this kind of article-which reveals a fact that most of people would feel rather unrealistic and unexpected- should be examined much more thoroughly. In case of this article, I felt I should find more information because it is related to health because some people could believe that any amount of lead can be healthy and therefore have a wrong understanding and thought. As a result, I found rather arguing articles about lead in eye make-ups.

Through google surfing, I found out that black powdered eye make-up named ‘kohl’ is a kind of popular culture among many countries in Africa and Asia. Here’s a wikipedia link about the kohl. It says,

Kohl is an ancient eye cosmetic, traditionally made by grinding galena (lead sulfide) and other ingredients. It is widely used in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of West Africa as eyeliner[1] to contour and/or darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes. It is worn mostly by women, but also by some men and children.

Kohl has also been used in India as a cosmetic for a long time. In addition, mothers would apply kohl to their infants’ eyes soon after birth.

As you can see, kohl which is composed of lead sulfide, is used on people’s eyes. What shocked me the most is that infants get kohl make-up as soon as they are born.

However, through researching I found that there is no such ‘safety level’ for lead mentioned in the previous article I found. Here’s an another article about the lead eye make-up, titled ‘Eye Makeup Used To Protect Children Can Poison Them Instead’. According to the article,

Lead is a neurotoxin. And it’s especially harmful to babies and young children. Even small amounts can damage developing brains and cause permanent problems.

Also, I found another article about the same issue; children and babies had eye make-ups with lead and their health become lethal. This article points out that there is no ‘safety zone’ for people to avoid critical disease from lead.

Lead can build up in the body and damage the nervous system and brain, kidneys and other major organs. There is no known safe level of lead, which can cause learning and behavior problems, seizures and death. Children are especially vulnerable because they absorb the toxin more easily, are still developing and often put their hands or objects that can be contaminated with lead in their mouths.

These articles made me really upset because of the children who know nothing are being in danger because of ignorant adults. I strongly insist that more education, article, book, and news through various media should educate people in those country to stop their innocent children falling in danger.

* Vocab and Expressions

The researchers found that the lead in the cosmetics helped fight off bacteria that cause eye infections.

Infection (noun) : a disease caused by germs or bacteria.

Korean Equivalent : 감염

Synonyms : contamination, disease, pollution, germs, epidemic

Antonyms : sanitation, sterility

Personal sentence :  Sometimes infections are considered as necessary ones, but the fact that it is a human’s eternal assignment to fight with them never changes.

It did this by stimulating the cells in the immune system.

Immune (noun) : If you are immune to a particular disease, you cannot be affected by it.

Korean Equivalent : 면역

Synonyms : exempt, safe, resistant

Antonyms : hindered, unguarded, vulnerable

Personal Sentence :  Maybe I am not immune to pollen, and that’s why I sneeze whenever spring to come.


One comment

  1. Peter Daley · 3월 28, 2015

    Thanks Ji-eun. You did a great job finding further information about the dangers of lead.

    Liked by 1명

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