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Using Cosmetics Safely
- Follow the instructions on the label. Always read the label and use the cosmetic according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Never drive and apply makeup. If you are applying makeup while driving, you are not watching the road. This can lead to a serious accident. You could also injure your skin or eyes if you hit a bump or pothole.
- Watch for allergic reactions. If you have allergies or sensitive skin then you are more likely to have an allergic reaction. You may be allergic to fragrances or other ingredients in the cosmetics, such as rosin (a substance from trees), nickel, or lanolin. You may have tearing, itching, or red eyes, as well as swelling and flaking of the eyelids. Nail polish can also cause eyelid reactions. Stop using the makeup if you have these problems. If the symptoms do not go away, call your doctor.
- Do not share makeup. Stay away from shared-use "tester" cosmetics found at cosmetic counters in many stores. Sharing lipstick, for example, could spread cold sores.
- Throw away old makeup. Although old makeup will probably not cause any harm, replace cosmetics that are past their expiration date. For example, manufacturers usually recommend discarding mascara two to four months after purchase. Also, if makeup changes consistency or smells bad, throw it out.
- Do not use eye makeup if you have an eye infection. Also, throw away any eye makeup you were using when the infection started. You could get frequent conjunctivitis (infection of the outer part of the eyeball) due to contamination.
- Natural does not necessarily mean safe, pure, or clean. In addition, the terms hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and noncomedogenic have no official government definitions. Claims that a product is "dermatologist-tested," "sensitivity-tested," "allergy-tested," or "non-irritating" carry no guarantee that it will not cause reactions.
- Keep makeup out of sunlight and heat. Light and heat can break down the preservatives in makeup.
- Keep makeup containers tightly closed. This will help keep out contaminants. Plus, your makeup will stay fresh and last longer.
- Never use an aerosol spray near heat or while smoking. Aerosol can catch on fire.
- Do not inhale hairspray or powders. Intentionally inhaling products like these can lead to lung damage and even death.
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org/
US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca/
Cosmetics and your health. The National Women's Health Information Center website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/cosmetics-your-health.cfm. Updated November 1, 2004. Accessed July 13, 2012.
Eye cosmetic safety. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm137241.htm. Accessed July 13, 2012. Updated December 18, 2006.
How to report problems with products regulated by FDA. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/problem.html. Updated April 17, 2009. Accessed July 13, 2012.
Safe use of cosmetics. University of Illinois Eye Center. Available at http://www.uic.edu/com/eye/LearningAboutVision/EyeFacts/Cosmetics.shtml. Accessed July 13, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2012
- Update Date: 07/13/2012