As fall comes into full swing, many festivals and pumpkin patches will feature face painting stations for your kids to enjoy. There’s no question about rather or not face painting is fun for everyone but is it safe? Upon taking a closer look at some of the ingredients lurking in the face paint used on many kids every year, you might be thinking twice about letting your kid become a lion or a butterfly for a day this year.

Read the Label

It may sound silly to ask a face painter to read the label of the face paint that they use, but nothing’s foolish if it means keeping your child safe. Be on the lookout for label ingredients including these ingredients:

  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde-releasing chemicals
  • Heavy metals

Think Before Painting

While parents may assume that if harmful ingredients aren’t on the level, then they aren’t present in the product, that just isn’t true. In a lab test of children’s face paints, nearly half of them showed amounts of at least one heavy metal not listed on the label. The worst culprits for these metals included the darker and more pigmented shades. Nearly 20% of those kits showed levels of lead, a mineral associated with learning and developmental disabilities. The CDC warns parents that no level of lead exposure is safe, and parents are sure to check other products their kids come in contact with, but most fail to think about face paint as a contaminant.

VOC’S & Face Paint

Another severe metal discovered in the fact paint was cadmium, which has been linked to cancers throughout the body. Flavored lip balms used by face painters were shown to contain volatile organic compounds or VOC’s. Out of seven VOC’s found, four can be linked to potentially dangerous health conditions, including:

  • A reproductive toxicant
  • Two possible carcinogens
  • An endocrine-disrupting compound

What Does This Mean?

That’s a lot of scientific information at once, so let’s recap a bit. What does all of this mean? In short, it says that the face paint going on your child could be unsafe and there’s no way for you to know for sure. Since face painting products aren’t regulated by the FDA, you’ll never see that it’s truly safe. It’s a personal choice rather or not you want to risk exposing your children to these harsh and potentially damaging chemicals, but if you do, become as educated as possible on the product first.

Child getting his face painted