November 30, 2015
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Cosmetic Allergies (cont.)

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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.

What is the prognosis of a cosmetics allergy?

If the source of a cosmetic reaction is an irritant, then it seems likely that by avoiding that substance in other products would be prudent. A doctor can help someone 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 label. 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. If 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.


Park, Michelle E., and Jonathan H. Zippin. "Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Cosmetics." Dermatol Clin 32 (2014): 1-11.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/2/2015


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