Well, the answer is, yes, it could well be making their skin flare-up, especially if they’re already prone to eczema.
Makeup - whether mascara, eye-shadow, tends to be full of the kind of irritants and allergens that can cause damage to the skin and which people prone to eczema are especially sensitive to. Fragrance, synthetic fillers, preservatives, colours and stabilisers can all be detrimental to the epidermis, leaving it fragile, and triggering inflammatory responses that result in rashes, spots, dryness, itchiness or blotchiness.
What can you do about it? Here are our top tips for sensitive teens!
Steer them towards hypoallergenic, mineral, unfragranced, natural ranges rather than makeup from the pound shop. It’s better to invest in a couple of really good products that they know they can use safely than buy loads of cheap makeup that flares them up.
...But Don’t Count On Labels
Hypoallergenic is actually a pretty meaningless term; there’s no standard definition of what makes a product hypoallergenic (ie less likely to cause an allergic reaction) so there’s no guarantee that something tagged as hypoallergenic won’t flare-up eczema.
Different ingredients cause different reactions in different people; your teenager’s skin is unique to them, and what they can and can’t tolerate might well change over the years, with hormonal shifts and maturity. Many people have a sensitivity to synthetic fragrances but others can’t tolerate products scented with essential oils; some skin can cope with the fragrance used but not the preservatives. So it’s really a question of trial and error when you’re finding things that work!
Get To Know Ingredients
Check the ingredients on every product and get to know which might cause irritation! Some common irritants to look for include: fragrance, balsam of Peru, parabens, quaternium-15, propylene glycol, lanolin, methylisothiazolinone, bismuth oxychloride, sodium lauryl sulphate, dinbuytl phthalate, Tricolsan.
Buy the smallest size of makeup available so you’re not wasting money on value sizes. Ask for testers or travel sizes if possible.
This is a really important step, even if it’s a bit boring. It’s so much better to wait a few days than smother foundation all over your face only to find you then have a week of really visible flare to cope with.
Glitter ‘Em Up
If they want glittery makeup, head for the biodegradable stuff! Makeup made with synthetic glitter tends to be super itchy and cause all kinds of inflammation and rashes, but you can buy eco-friendly glitter made from plant cellulose) and apply it using a natural balm (Skin Salvation or aloe vera gel both work well), so you know exactly what is going on their sensitive skin. Try the amazing blends from Eco Stardust.
Chuck It Out
Have regular clear-outs; makeup can also go out of date really quickly - so get rid of the old mascara, lipstick, eye-shadow and foundation, so that they’re not harbouring any bugs that could cause infection or irritation.
If the worst happens and they end up with itchy faces, be warned that steroid creams not recommended around eyes or on the face, so try this instead:
- Apply cold compresses (cold, wet, clean flannels or cotton wool; ice packs or ice towels)
- Take an antihistamine tablet
- Apply Skin Salvation gently around the eyes or face
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.