News that Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in some lipsticks, has nasty health implications will make lipstick-wearers pout. But how risky is it?

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Never mind that second helping of bacon - apparently your lipstick could be harmful to your heart. It's all down to Triclosan, a name you may not have noticed on the ingredient list of your trusty cosmetic but one that's increasingly under suspicion.

An antibacterial chemical that's often used to make lipsticks as well as countless household products, new research says that Triclosan can impede the process whereby muscles, such as the heart, receive signals from the brain.

Past studies have already linked Triclosan and thyroid/fertility problems, however the newer studies, which involved injecting mice with the chemical, concluded that there was a 25 per cent reduction in heart function within 20 minutes of exposure. Some may argue that humans would never legally be exposed to such high doses of triclosan as used in this experiment (EU law prohibits the use of concentrations greater than 0.3 per cent to be used in cosmetics), however, GTG expert Margo Marrone (co-founder and firector of The Organic Pharmacy) believes that it has certain detrimental side effects:

"Triclosan is a pretty horrific antibacterial," she says. "There are enough studies to warrant concern over its use. Not only has it been shown to increase the chance of developing allergies in children such as hayfever, it has also been shown to disrupt the thyroid hormone and alter sex hormones in rats. If that isn't enough it is also toxic to aquatic life and for that reason is being withdrawn in countries such as Canada. It certainly has no place in any consumer products, particularly lipsticks, deodorants, hand soaps and toothpastes."

For a Triclosan-free beauty treat, GTG recommends Dr.Hauschka Lipstick, £19.95,