SHINE ON – Serious cosmetic allergies are rare, but it is quite common for a person to have a mild reaction or irritation to an ingredient in a cosmetic product. Unsurprisingly cosmetic reactions are more likely to occur in women than men, simply as a result of greater product usage.
Diagnosing which product is to blame can be difficult if like most people you use a large number of different ones. However if you believe that you have an allergic reaction, stop using all cosmetics. When your symptoms are gone, start using them one by one, this will help you pinpoint which product or products are responsible for the reaction.
If you cannot identify the source of the reaction or if your symptoms do not go away after you stop using all the products, consult your medical practitioner. They may use a patch skin test to identify the substances to which you are allergic.
Steps to prevent Cosmetic Allergies
- Become familiar with the list of ingredients on cosmetic products and don’t use ones that contain ingredients that you have had a problem with in the past.
- Do a mini patch test before using a new product and wait 24 hours to see if a reaction occurs. Choose products with simple natural ingredients, less is more when it comes to ingredients and potential allergic reactions.
- Apply perfume lightly to your clothes rather than your skin and allow the perfume to dry before putting on the clothes.
- Be especially careful with make-up because it stays in contact with the skin for a long time. Look for products that are hypoallergenic, fragrance free and non-comedogenic (non pore blocking which can lead to acne), although products with these labels may still cause reactions.
- Always practise good hygiene when it comes to make up and other cosmetics. For example, always wash your hands and face before applying make-up or other cosmetics and never share make-up with cosmetic brushes should be washed regularly and always avoid using testers in stores that have been used by others, if contact was involved.
- Keep cosmetic containers closed when not using and away from direct sunlight and discard products if the colour or consistency changes or they develop an odour.
Treatment for Cosmetic Allergies
The main cosmetic allergy treatment is avoidance of the product causing the symptoms. Over-the-counter creams and ointments that contain cortisone, such as hydrocortisone (Cortisone 10) and hydrocortisone acetate (Cort-aid), may be used to help control itching, swelling and redness. But check with a doctor before considering using cortisone on your face as it can in some cases lead to skin discolouration.