Cosmetic Allergies (cont.)
How are cosmetic reactions treated?
Treatment generally involves avoiding the products causing the symptoms.
Over-the-counter creams and ointments that contain cortisone, such as
hydrocortisone (Cortisone 10) and hydrocortisone acetate (Cort-aid), may be
used to help control itching, swelling, and redness. In more severe cases, a
prescription-strength medication may be needed to relieve symptoms. If
blistered skin becomes infected, an antibiotic medication may also be
What can I do to prevent cosmetic reactions?
There are several steps you can take to try and avoid cosmetic allergy
- Read the list of ingredients on all cosmetic products. If you find an
ingredient that has caused a reaction in the past, don't use that product. Keep
track of ingredients that have caused reactions, and look for products that do
not contain those ingredients.
- When considering a new product, do a "mini-patch test" first to see
if it causes a reaction. Put a sample of the product on your inner wrist or
elbow and wait 24 hours to see if a reaction occurs.
- Keep it simple. Choose products with simple formulas. More ingredients mean
more potential allergens. With fewer ingredients, it's also easier to pinpoint
the source if you do have a reaction.
- Apply perfume to your clothes rather than your skin, and allow the perfume
to dry before putting on the clothes.
- Be especially careful with makeup because it stays in contact with the skin
for a long time. Look for products that are hypoallergenic, fragrance free, and
non-comedogenic, although products with these labels may still cause
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