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The chemical composition of traditional eye cosmetics in Sudan


*Corresponding author
1. University of Exeter, Centre for Medical History, College of Humanities. Exeter, EX4 4RJ, Devon, United Kingdom
2. United Arab Emirates University, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Box 17666, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
3. University of Exeter in Cornwall, Camborne School of Mines, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences Tremough Campus, Penryn, TR10 9EZ, Cornwall, United Kingdom
4. Sultan Qaboos University, College of Medicine, Box 35, Al-Khod 123, Sultanate of Oman


This study was undertaken in order to determine the chemical composition of traditional eye cosmetics (“kohls”) available in Sudan. A total of 21 kohlsamples were purchased in local markets (“souks”). Thetechniques of X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) and low vacuum scanning electron microscopy (LVSEM) wereused to analyse the samples. Overall, for the 21 samples,it was found that 7 (33 percent) contained a lead compound (galena, PbS) as the main component; witha further 1 sample having it present as a minorcomponent. The other main components were found tobe one of the following: amorphous carbon/a carbon-based compound (6/1), iron compounds (goethite,FeO(OH) and hematite, Fe2O3 mixtures) (3), calcite/aragonite (CaCO3) (1/1), zincite (ZnO) (1) and halite(NaCl) (1).


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