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Allergic Reactions to Makeup Among Teens

Allergic Reactions to Makeup Among Teens

Teenagers are at an age where they are particularly focused on their appearance and looks. With a $60 billion per year industry courting teens, the U.S. cosmetics industry is booming and shows no signs of stopping. Even as many as 80% of children aged 9 to 11 use beauty products. This can come at a cost, though, such as allergic reactions to irritants found in makeup and other beauty products.

Cosmetics often contain a complex mixture of fragrances, metals, resins, preservatives, and other inert materials. While the government agencies the FDA and the USDA are responsible to administer laws regarding the safety and purity of cosmetics, there have been alarming instances where brand name cosmetics have been found to contain hazardous materials. For instance, in 2019, 3 Claire’s brand cosmetic products were found to contain asbestos, an extremely hazardous material that can cause an aggressive, incurable cancer called mesothelioma. This was a contributing factor that led Claire’s and Icing brands to eventually file for bankruptcy.

Potential Hazards of Makeup for Teens

Brands like Claire’s and Icing specifically target young girls, particularly pre-teens who are likely trying makeup for the first time. Most adverse reactions to cosmetics, though, are much less frightening than the potential for asbestos exposure. There potential to uncover an allergic sensitivity, and once the allergy sets in, it does not go away, and the user must discontinue use of the offending cosmetic.

Some skin irritations that can result from makeup use include:

  • Rashes, particularly among teens who have skin problems such as seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea
  • Allergies to fragrances
  • Hives or welts, either allergic or non-allergic
  • Blackheads if the product is not non-comedogenic
  • Folliculitis, an irritation of the hair follicles
  • Darkened skin

Can Makeup Cause an Allergic Reaction?

It is important to note that an allergy is not the same as a skin irritation, and that irritations usually stem from the initial exposure, whereas allergies crop up after repeated exposure. It is also important to know that use of terms such as “pure” and “natural” carry little scientific meaning. They are purely marketing jargon. The only term that is more heavily regulated is “organic,” as it must be manufactured according to USDA criteria – but this has little to do with consumer safety.

Allergy testing can determine if there is an offending substance in any particular cosmetic mixture. If you are concerned your teen is having an allergic reaction to irritants in cosmetics, the best way to distinguish whether a particular cosmetic in question is causing the irritation is to avoid using it for at least 2 weeks. If the rash resolves on its own, it is likely the problem was caused by cosmetics.

Concerned about skin allergies? Contact us at Advance ER by dialing (214) 494-8222 today.