When Your Makeup Causes Mayhem: How To Deal With A Sudden Case Of Cosmetic-Induced Contact Dermatitis

Posted on: 12 November 2020


Contact dermatitis is a condition that causes a red, sometimes itchy, and always annoying rash. The irritation could be caused by contact, such as from a fabric that causes friction against your skin, or by allergy, meaning your immune system rejects a substance as foreign, invasive, or otherwise unacceptable. When cosmetics are the culprit, it's your face at stake; thus, you want to know right away how to deal with your particular case of contact dermatitis.

Why You May Be Suddenly Breaking Out

People with perfectly healthy systems can experience negative responses to chemicals, but if you have any autoimmune issues, you're even more at risk for reactions. With an allergy in a healthy system, the body reacts strongly to a substance, but with an autoimmune response, the body actually attacks tissue. Unfortunately, the cosmetics industry isn't always as kind to skin as you might think, including all kinds of cheap and convenient ingredients they probably should avoid, such as:

  • Formaldehyde, the chemical used to embalm corpses
  • Parabens, also seen in processed foods for preservation purposes
  • Phenoxyethanol, which also doubles as an insect repellent 
  • Hydantoins, found in floor wax, house paint, herbicides, and yes, your makeup

Your hormones, particularly progesterone, could also change how your skin reacts to certain substances. Contact dermatitis is a general term that most often warrants an ensuing investigation.

Limiting Your Use Of Products

No matter how much you love your cosmetics and other personal care items, cease use immediately. Use the most basic cleaning methods, with no follow-up products like toner or moisturizer. If your rash clears, re-introduce your skin to products one at a time to see if you can find the ingredient(s) causing your reaction. Record your discoveries and take pictures.

Zeroing In On The Culpable Source

The source of your contact dermatitis could be anything from foundation to laundry detergent. You use towels and washcloths, air-fresheners, perfume, hairspray, and other items, any of which could contain the culpable chemical. The most suspect are the one's your skin are the least familiar with, such as a new product in the household; however, contact dermatitis may arise suddenly, after years of use, leaving you perhaps in a quandary of what's going on and what you can do about it.

Taking Your Findings To A Dermatologist

As best you can, explain the scenario to a dermatologist. Include your body of evidence, including timelines, pictures, and a list of all the products you use. The dermatologist will examine you, look over your detailed information, and ask questions, like whether or not the rash is worse with heat or exercise, if you've added anything new to your diet, are under stress, or have a new pet in the home. 

Eventually, you may be tested for specific allergies. Dermatology specializes in skin disorders, both diagnosis and treatment; thus, you should leave the clinic knowing what's causing your reactions and with some form of remedy, which could be a cream, pill, antibiotics, or more. Follow the instructions of your dermatologist precisely, as any deviation could result in a total fail of your recovery plan.

Contact dermatitis can strike anywhere on your body and for a number of reasons; however, there's usually one specific reason for your outbreak. As much as you may love to adorn your face and body with cosmetics, creams, perfumes, and other products, if something causes a reaction, stop using it. Between the reliable advice of a dermatologist and the endless array of alternative ingredients, you should be able to find something that doesn't cause a rash or irritation but still makes you look and feel as beautiful as ever.

For more information, contact a local dermatology clinic.