Carmine

A natural animal pigment made by the cochineal scale insect (Coccus cacti) that lives on cacti and is native to Mexico. Chemically, it is an aluminum lake of carminic acid, a derivative of anthraquinone. First brought to Europe in 1554, carmine displaced the less color-intensive kermes (or Venetian scarlet) derived from the scale insect Coccus ilicis that lives on the Southern European kermes tree. Today, carmine is mainly used for coloring lipsticks, and more rarely used as a food dye.

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