Is Mascara Toxic To Eat?

confused woman holding mascara, woman wondering if mascara is toxic to eat

Is mascara toxic to eat? Mascara is a cosmetic product well-known for its non-toxicity acclaim. However, one can never be too sure. A recent study revealed high fluorine levels in waterproof mascaras, several liquid lipsticks, and foundations.

The presence of fluorine at such a high capacity further suggests the presence of perfluoroalkyl (PFA). While there is yet definitive evidence of a health impact, PFA substances are thought to cause immune deficiencies and cancers. This, however, is only in significant quantities. 

Got it: long-term, there may be a minor risk. But, what about ingesting all of that? Even if it’s just a small amount? Here’s where we come in. Today, we’ll clear the air on mascara toxicity and figure out if it’s poisonous. We will also touch on what to do if you or your child accidentally eats some. 

Is Mascara Poisonous If You Eat It?

If ingested in small quantities, mascara should not be poisonous. Consuming a bit of mascara can cause gastrointestinal irritation, thereby making it minimally toxic.

After eating mascara the pigmentation may be reflected on the teeth and tongue. It is important to get as much mascara as possible out of your mouth to limit the exposure.

Spitting out the product and brushing your teeth are strongly suggested. Despite this, it is important to reiterate that mascara is thought to be a non-toxic cosmetic product. Unless large amounts are consumed, there usually is no cause for immediate concern.

What Do I Do If My Child Eats Mascara?

Monitor your child’s symptoms and contact your local poison control if your child eats mascara. Not all states have a poison control center and thus rely on out-of-state centers.

That being said, your child accidentally ingesting a small amount of mascara shouldn’t be a cause of great concern. According to the Illinois Poison Center (IPC), ingesting minute amounts of a cosmetic is minimally toxic.

Stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea are possible symptoms to look out for after consuming cosmetics like mascara. If your child ends up eating a small amount of mascara, give them some water and look out for concerning symptoms. 

Note that the pigment of the mascara in question may appear on the child’s tongue and teeth. Brushing their teeth can help this. Paediatrician Dr. Amit Kumar Modi also recommends gargling with chlorhexidine mouthwash.

Chlorhexidine mouthwash is usually prescribed as Peridex, though a good substitute for this is Listerine. To help locate a local poison control center, check out the guide here.

Most pediatricians recommend keeping emergency numbers posted on the fridge or in a common area for easy access in an emergency. Likewise, saving the number in a cell phone can be helpful as well.

Why Do Children Eat Makeup?

Children eat makeup because they don’t know any better. They see something colorful—maybe they even like the texture or smell of the cosmetic—and want to explore it more. Honestly, the little one may not even intend to swallow it. 

A big part of development for young children is a phenomenon known as mouthing. Usually, anything children can get their hands on goes in their mouth.

Mouthing helps build motor and sensory development. While this is stressful for parents, mouthing can help little ones build their immune systems and learn about the world around them.

What Happens If My Child Eats Makeup?

Your child may experience gastrointestinal irritation if they eat makeup. Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and cramping can all occur after ingesting makeup. The severity of such symptoms depends on the amount consumed and the individual.

Current sensitivities in a child with increased susceptibility to negative symptoms. Any concerning symptoms should be brought up to a medical professional. Otherwise, it is possible not to experience anything.

If consumed in small enough quantities, there may be no symptoms present. You should contact your local poison control center if your child is showing symptoms. Likewise, contact poison control if you are unaware of the amount of makeup your child ate, regardless of symptoms.

How Do You Keep Children Safe Around Makeup?

There are a few things you can do to keep children safe around makeup. The best way to keep children safe around makeup is to keep it in an out-of-reach location. Out of sight, out of mind. Never keep makeup on the bathroom counter or on top of a bedroom dresser.

Keep your makeup away from little hands by storing it in a cabinet with a child safety lock. Another safety recommendation includes keeping a minimal supply of only the makeup you need. Which, of course, varies widely from person to person.

The big idea behind this suggestion is that the less you have, the easier it is to keep it organized. When things are messy—especially little cosmetic containers—they are easy to misplace. And, when we lose something, it is always our kids who somehow find it first.

What Are The Symptoms Of Child Poisoning?

According to Stanford Medicine the symptoms of child poisoning are as follows:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritability or drowsiness
  • Vomiting, nausea, or abdominal pain without fever
  • Burns or blisters on the lips or mouth
  • Unusual drooling
  • Odd smells on your child’s breath
  • Their clothing may also have unusual stains

Loss of consciousness, fainting, or seizures can also be an indication of child poisoning. If you suspect that your child has ingested a toxic substance it is important to act quickly.

Contact your local poison control center and take your child to the nearest urgent care. In the case of any of the above symptoms occurring, call 911 immediately.

What Do I Do If My Child Ingested Something Poisonous?

If your child ingested something poisonous it is important to get it out of their mouth as soon as possible. Depending on the substance, you may have your child spit it out. On another hand, you may need to retrieve it with your fingers.

Once you have removed access to the poison, contact poison control (or your child’s physician, if available). They will be able to give further guidance. It is important to note that although it may seem like you should force your child to throw up, don’t.

Beaumont Health advises against forcing your little one to throw up unless you are explicitly instructed to by poison control or your child’s physician. The acidity of the vomit could induce burns to the throat and esophagus. 

Furthermore, you should monitor your child’s symptoms. If your child begins to show signs of being poisoned, then do not hesitate to contact emergency services. Follow instructions provided by poison control or your child’s physician to the ‘T’ and do your best to remain calm. 

Final Thoughts: Is Mascara Toxic To Eat?

To wrap everything up, mascara is minimally toxic. It is highly unlikely to poison anyone unless it is consumed in gratuitous amounts. That being said, no one shares the same reaction when exposed to a potentially toxic substance. 

There are those out there who may get by with minimal cramping. Others may need to be taken to urgent care. Whatever the situation, it is vital to stay on the lookout for troubling symptoms. 

Furthermore, mascara—or any beauty product—should not be left within reach of a child. Always make sure you keep your cosmetics out of reach of young children.

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By Cierra Tolentino

Cierra Tolentino is a beauty writer at Kintegra Research. She loves keeping people up-to-date with the latest beauty trends in skincare, hair care, and makeup. Finding answers to tough questions is her thing. When she has free time you can find her chasing down a clumsy toddler and obsessively drinking tea.