Could I be allergic to makeup?

Safe Makeup for Allergy Sufferers

To determine if you truly have an allergy to your makeup, you may need to visit a dermatologist. He or she will likely conduct an allergy patch test, in which some of the substance you believe you are allergic to is applied to your skin, then taped over. The doctor then looks at it after 24 hours and again after 48 hours to see the extent of the reaction [source: Henochowicz].

If you find that you have an allergy to an ingredient commonly used in makeup, buying products without that item is the best way to avoid another allergic reaction. Buying cosmetics that are simply marked "hypoallergenic" may not be the ideal solution. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not mandate what standards a product labeled hypoallergenic must meet, so manufacturers have lots of leeway in using the term. Instead, if you know what ingredient causes problems for your skin, make sure you read the label -- which is required by the FDA to list all ingredients -- and ensure that the product you intend to buy is free of the problem substance [source: Stöppler].

To treat a case of mild skin irritation caused by a reaction to makeup, stop using the product you believe may be causing it, apply an anti-itch cream and avoid scratching the area. If you aren't sure which cosmetic is causing the problem, first eliminate those with added dyes and fragrances, which can be more likely to cause a reaction [source: Mayo Clinic].

If you think you may have an allergy to makeup, you can visit the links below to learn more.

Related Articles


  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Cosmeceutical Facts and Your Skin." (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. "Allergies: Things You Can Do to Control Your Symptoms." 3/07. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • Berman, Kevin. "Contact Dermatitis." Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. February 5, 2008. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • Food and Drug Administration. "Cosmetics." May 5, 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • Henochowicz, Stuart. "Allergy Testing." May 25, 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • Matlin, Jessica. "Have Your Beauty Products Gone Bad?" Good Housekeeping Magazine. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • Mayo Clinic. "Allergies." January 30, 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • Mayo Clinic. "Contact Dermatitis." April 31, 2009. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • MedicineNet. "Allergies and Cosmetics." December 18, 2007. (Accessed 8/16/09)
  • Stöppler, Melissa Conrad. "Are 'Hypoallergenic' Cosmetics Really Better?" August 22, 2008. (Accessed 8/16/09)