Cosmetic Allergies (cont.)
Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What are cosmetics? What is in makeup?
- What causes cosmetics reactions?
- Where do cosmetic skin reactions occur? What are symptoms and signs of a makeup allergy?
- What is on the cosmetic label?
- How can I be tested for a cosmetic sensitivity?
- What else could the rash be aside from a cosmetic rash?
- What is the treatment for a makeup allergy?
- What is the prognosis of a cosmetics allergy?
- Is it possible to prevent a cosmetics allergy?
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What is the treatment for a makeup allergy?
Mild cosmetic reactions usually will resolve with no treatment as long as the offending product is avoided. More serious reactions often respond to 1% hydrocortisone cream that can be purchased without a prescription. If this fails, then it will be necessary to visit a physician for a stronger topical steroid.
Learn more about: hydrocortisone
What is the prognosis of a cosmetics allergy?
If the source of a cosmetic reaction is an irritant chemical, then it seems likely that by avoiding that substance, if present in other products, would be prudent. A physician with expertise in this subject can help decide which ingredient on the label is likely to be a problem. If a reaction is due to an allergy to an ingredient that was documented by patch testing, then it is very important to avoid that particular ingredient by carefully perusing the cosmetic labels. Sometimes this can be challenging because certain additives may have a number of brand names.
Is it possible to prevent a cosmetics allergy?
The best way to avoid a cosmetic reaction is to avoid cosmetics entirely. Since this is impractical, then using cosmetics with a minimal number of ingredients might be helpful. Some cosmetics may contain labeling using the terms unscented or fragrance-free. This distinction can be important because unscented products often contain fragrance chemicals that disguise odor whereas fragrance-free products are supposed to be devoid of fragrances entirely.
Dinkloh, A., et al. "Contact sensitization in patients with suspected cosmetic intolerance: results of the IVDK 2006-2011." JEADV 29 (2015): 1071-1081.
Park, Michelle E., and Jonathan H. Zippin. "Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Cosmetics." Dermatol Clin 32 (2014): 1-11.
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