Cosmetic Allergies

People will go to the end of the earth to use the very best cosmetics to enhance their appearance and make them look good. However, all cosmetics are not suited to all skin types and can cause allergic reactions. A common complaint is contact dermatitis. This is an itchy, blistering skin rash that is caused form direct contact of a substance with the skin. This type of dermatitis comes in two forms - irritant and allergic. It is always difficult to differentiate between the two types but it is extremely important you know how to make the distinction.

So what is cosmetic contact dermatitis and what causes it?

This is the most common form of contact dermatitis and comes from the application of numerous chemicals which are applied to the hair, skin and scalp on a daily basis. A rash is formed and typically this will be on the skin where the cosmetic was applied.

Cosmetic Allergies


The use of fragrance is probably the biggest cause of contact dermatitis. Wherever the fragrance is sprayed a rash usually forms and this will be consistent wherever you spray the fragrance. It is almost impossible to avoid the use of fragrance and products labelled 'unscented' can sometimes be misleading. If you buy your cosmetics online form discount cosmetics retailers then always ensure you go for products which are labelled 'fragrance free'. These types of fragrances are suitable for people who suffer from fragrance induced contact dermatitis.

A fragrance is present in almost everything we use - shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers, fabric softeners and makeup. It is extremely important you read the labels correctly before buying products with a fragrance otherwise you will be prone to triggering a rash on your skin.


Allergies can be caused by a reaction to preservatives found in cosmetic products. Many cosmetics contain preservatives and these can also trigger contact dermatitis. Most of these preservatives contain formaldehyde. This is used as a preservative and can be found in cosmetics such as foundations, powders, blusher, mascaras, eye shadows, eye liner and pencils as well as in creams, soaps, shampoos and moisturisers.

Hair products

Another common cause of contact dermatitis is hair products. Hair dye products contain chemical products including phenylenediamine which is a dark dye. Reactions to hair dye products are very common and lead to contact dermatitis on the neck, face and the scalp.

Nail products

Another cause of contact dermatitis on the fingers arises from the use of acrylic coatings on the nails. This is then spread to the face and eyelids. Many people who wear cosmetics on their nails are prone to touching their face and eyelids without realising they are doing it. Chemicals such as acrylates and formaldehyde are common ingredients. Mostly found in professional nail care salons they can also be present in nail polish and nail strengthening products. Always read the label and check the ingredients in the product before buying.

Before buying any cosmetics, always read the label so you know what ingredients are actually in the product you are buying especially if you choose to buy online cosmetics and discount fragrances from retailers offering branded cosmetics at discount prices.


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