Cosmetics – including everything from makeup and perfume to toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and aftershave lotion – can trigger a wide variety of allergic responses, often depending on the chemicals and other substances, like parabens, that are contained in them. Products like talcum powder (baby powder) have even been linked to cancer.
These guidelines can help prevent allergic reactions and other harmful effects of cosmetics:
- 1 If a cosmetic or toiletry gives you a rash, burn, blisters, or causes you to itch or otherwise feel uncomfortable, stop using it immediately.
- 2 Look for products that say “fragrance-free” and “without perfume” – “unscented” products can still have fragrances in them.
- 3 Preservatives like parabens, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and phenoxyethanol can be the cause of allergic responses.
- 4 When unsure if you are allergic to a cosmetic, try a small test on your arm and waith 48 – 72 hours to see if there is any reaction.
- 5 The FDA does not regulate cosmetics like food or drugs, so “hypoallergenic,” “sensitivity tested,” and similar claims have no regulatory meaning.
- Cosmetics that cause an allergic response are discarded.
- Understand what ingredients can cause an allergic reaction.
- Avoid cosmetics that contain parabens and other potentially harmful preservatives.