Makeup Allergy: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 8/4/2021

A makeup allergy is an allergic reaction to any component in cosmetic products. Cosmetics are substances applied to the surface of the skin, hair, or nails. Cosmetics often contain a complex mixture of perfumes, emulsifiers, sunscreens, pigments, metals, resins, and preservatives, as well as a variety of inert materials as well as botanical products.

The face is most commonly involved in makeup allergy. It is important to note that a facial rash can be produced by chemical irritation due to cosmetics as well as a true allergy, and a physician must distinguish between the two. Symptoms and signs of true makeup allergy include a rash that often appears as a scaling, flaking, dry, swollen red area that may itch. This is usually confined to the area on the face where the cosmetic was applied. Occasionally, cosmetic skin reactions cause hives.

Causes of a makeup allergy

Chemical preservatives in makeup typically cause makeup allergies.

Other makeup allergy symptoms and signs

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References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.