August 24, 2016
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Cosmetic Allergies (cont.)

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What is on the cosmetic label?

The ingredients in a cosmetic are required to be listed on the label in order of decreasing quantity. Any ingredient could potentially produce a reaction, but certain ingredients seem to be more likely to cause problems. The use of the terms hypoallergenic, pure, and natural on the label have very little scientific meaning and are essentially marketing jargon. Cosmetics that use the term organic must be manufactured according to certain USDA criteria that have little to do with consumer safety.

How can I be tested for a cosmetic sensitivity?

If a cosmetic is being considered a potential cause of a reaction, the patient can perform a "use" test over three or four days by repeatedly applying the substance to the same site on forearm skin. If a reaction appears, further types of allergy testing can be performed by a health-care professional to determine the precise identity of the cosmetic mixture that is responsible. One can then avoid the offending product as well as avoiding further exposure to the allergenic component in other cosmetic products.

What else could the rash be aside from a cosmetic rash?

There are a number of common skin diseases that are likely to be confused with cosmetic rashes. Perhaps the best way to distinguish these is to avoid using the particular cosmetic in question for two or three weeks. If the rash resolves and then recurs when the cosmetic is used again, it is reasonably likely that the problem is the cosmetic. If the rash persists, on the other hand, then it is probably due to a skin disease like seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, or some other problem.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2016


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