What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Makeup?

Felicia Dye

For cosmetic users to experience an allergic reaction to makeup is more common than some may think. When the irritating product is one such as eyeliner or mascara, a person may experience red, watery, itchy eyes. Reddening and hive-like rashes sometimes arise. Blisters, flaky skin, and pain may also be signs that a person is experiencing a bad reaction to makeup.

Various types of makeup.
Various types of makeup.

A lot of people never think about being allergic to makeup until they experience adverse effects from using it. As many of the symptoms are similar to those experienced from other types of allergies, some people may not realize that their makeup is the cause even when they do experience problems. For example, an allergic reaction to makeup placed on or around the eyes, such as mascara, may cause itchiness or tearing. Such symptoms could easily be mistaken for seasonal allergies.

An allergic reaction to lipstick can cause the lips to swell or peel.
An allergic reaction to lipstick can cause the lips to swell or peel.

Rashes are another common sign of an allergic reaction to makeup. For many people, this involves a site that may start out by turning red. As the redness may be hidden beneath the cosmetics, a person may not notice this indicator initially. The site often begins to itch, and the individual may find herself rubbing or scratching the area, which may remove the cosmetics and expose the redness. Later, a group of small bumps may arise.

Makeup applied to the eye area can cause irritation.
Makeup applied to the eye area can cause irritation.

These signs may all appear within a short period of time. In some cases, the symptoms occur simultaneously. There are also some people whose symptoms are delayed. They may find that the site of the allergic reaction gets dry and the skin becomes flaky. Some people may mistake this as an ordinary dry skin issue.

Signs of an allergic reaction to makeup may include hives.
Signs of an allergic reaction to makeup may include hives.

Blisters can be a sign of an abnormal reaction to makeup. A blister is a fluid-filled pocket of skin that should be treated with special attention because lack of proper care can result in infection. Sometimes there may not be any visible signs of the allergy, but the affected area may become painful. Any of the symptoms could be accompanied by inflammation.

Cosmetic users should realize that an allergic reaction to makeup may not occur the first time a product is applied. It is possible for a person to experience adverse effects with a product that she has used many times before. Although the allergy may have developed over time, if an ingredient is causing allergic contact dermatitis, the problem is unlikely to go away. To prevent mistaking the signs of an allergic reaction for another problem, cosmetics wearers should take note if they have ever experienced problems such as dry skin or seasonal allergies in the past. If not, they will likely notice that the problems occur following the application of a certain product.

Individuals who have allergic reations may opt for permanent makeup tattoos instead of using traditional products.
Individuals who have allergic reations may opt for permanent makeup tattoos instead of using traditional products.

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

At my age (mid 40s), I have found some foundations break me out! I couldn't believe it. But when I switched products, the breakouts went away.

A woman knows her own skin, and if there's something different, it's time to look at either new makeup, or a new skincare product. Either one can cause allergic reactions.

I keep a bottle of Aveeno lotion (or the knockoff from the discount store). It soothes my skin, and really helps decrease the effects of an allergic reaction to my makeup.

Also, have at least one day a week that's makeup-free, to give your skin a rest. It helps.

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