What’s Lurking in Halloween Makeup

Halloween costumes should look scary, but you don’t want clients skin at risk from scary ingredients in Halloween makeup. (Check out this enlightening consumer insights study on how much they care about ingredients.) Dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., sheds some light into the freaky facts behind common Halloween tricks.

Scary Skin Facts: Halloween makeup is inexpensive and contains harsh ingredients, can cause acne, rashes, inflamed skin, swollen eyelids, and even severe blistering. If clients plan on wearing bright, neon-type colors (fluorescent) or glow in the dark colors (luminescent) remember that neither are approved for use in the eye area.

Of the eight FDA approved fluorescent dyes for use in cosmetics, not one is approved for use near the eyes and there is only one shade of luminescent dye approved by the FDA for cosmetic use and again, it is also not approved for use near the eye area

And, let’s not forget the latex cosmetic skin (also called synthetic or prosthetic skin) which many people use to make their costumes extra creepy. These products are not safe for those with latex allergies so be sure they are not aggravating any pre-existing allergic conditions.

Terrifying Eye Facts: If clients opt for contact lenses this Halloween, they should be prescribed by an eye doctor to ensure safety of the product itself and fit for your particular eyes. These Halloween “contact lenses” are often very thick and do not allow adequate oxygen to reach the eye. Also, they are not fitted to the eye and can scratch your cornea.

Grizzly Fake Blood Facts: Fake blood often contains red dye, which reacts with the petroleum base, which can create a moderate to severe irritation. Bowe recommends a DIY solution to her patients: mix red food coloring, corn syrup, and flour for a safe, but equally ghoulish, solution.

Bowe’s Solution: She recommends that her patients avoid Halloween makeup altogether and instead, opt for theatrical makeup which is made with higher quality ingredients. Theatrical makeup is therefore much less likely to cause reactions or to contain harmful heavy metals.

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