The study, published in the journal Analytical Chemistry, suggests it helped to protect against eye disease. The key appears to be lead salts contained in the make-up. At very low levels, salts produce nitric oxide, which boosts the immune system to fight off bacteria which can cause eye infection. The make-up used by the ancient Egyptians to darken and enhance the eyes sometimes took up to a month to concoct. In theory, because it contained lead it might actually have posed a risk to health. But an analysis by scientists from the Louvre Museum and the CNRS research institute found that in very low doses lead could actually have a positive effect.
Cleopatra's eye make-up helped protect her from disease