What Are the Cosmetic Uses of Allura Red AC?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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Allura red AC is a red dye that goes by many different names, including Red 40, E129 and food, drugs and cosmetics (FD&C) red no. 40. The types of products this dye may be used in are food, drugs and cosmetics, which of course makes up FD&C. As a cosmetic dye, allura red AC is used to enhance the color of many makeup, hair care and oral healthcare products. This dye is also used in some red tattoo inks and has been known to cause irritation when inserted under the skin.

While there are several red dyes used in makeup products, allura red AC is one of the most common. This dye is frequently used to enhance the color of foundation, eye shadow, lipstick and other types of makeup. It has been deemed safe to use around the eyes and is sometimes also used in eye liner and mascara. Since this dye is typically derived from petroleum, it is not usually included in natural products or those designed for sensitive skin. Non-comedogenic makeup, however, can contain this ingredient as it has not been found to clog pores.


Allura red AC is also used in various skin care, hair care and oral healthcare products. Consumers can find this dye in many of their lotions, shampoos, toothpastes, mouthwashes and other products. Allura red AC is not used to enhance the effectiveness of these products. Instead, this dye is used to alter the color of the product and make it more attractive to consumers. Since cosmetics do not necessarily have to be red to contain this dye, it is important to consult a product’s ingredients list to determine whether it contains this substance.

In addition to being used in makeup and other cosmetics, allura red AC is also used in some tattoo inks. Most commonly, this dye appears in red, pink and other similarly colored ink. This substance is not considered hypoallergenic, and some individuals might experience a negative reaction to the dye. Those who are sensitive to synthetic dyes should discuss this with the tattoo artist before applying a tattoo.

While allura red AC is generally believed to be safe for cosmetic use, it has been known to cause irritation when applied to the skin. People who are sensitive to petroleum should exercise caution when using makeup or other products that contain this substance. If a user does experience a reaction, he or she should discontinue using the product and avoid cosmetics that contain allura red AC in the future.


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