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Halloween Costumes, Decorations and Makeup That Won't Haunt Your Skin

Plan on getting decked out in a full face of green witch makeup or donning a terrifying mask? The real horror may well be the dangerous chemicals you’re exposing your body to! There are a number of harsh ingredients featured in your favourite makeup and fabric brands that can increase your risk for anything from acne and eczema to cancer – here’s what to avoid to ensure the haunting ends once Halloween’s over.

Halloween is just around the corner, and for many of us, that means embracing our inner ghoul, superhero, or fantasy character with creative costumes. However, amidst all the spooky fun, it's essential to consider how your Halloween costume and makeup choices might affect your skin. Here are our top tips for staying safe and spooky. Various ingredients in cosmetics and skincare products can potentially harm the skin, leading to irritation, allergies, or other adverse reactions. Some of the most dangerous and common culprits include:

  • Fragrances: Artificial fragrances are a leading cause of skin irritation and allergies. They can cause redness, itching, and discomfort, especially for those with sensitive skin. Fragrance-free products are a safer choice.
  • Parabens: Parabens are preservatives commonly used in cosmetics, but they can disrupt hormonal balance and cause skin irritation in some individuals. Paraben-free products are available.
  • Sulfates: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are often found in cleansers, shampoos, body washes and, yes, makeup. They can strip the skin of natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. 
  • Alcohol: Ethanol and other alcohols can be very drying to the skin. They can strip the skin's protective barrier and lead to dryness, redness, and a burning sensation.
  • Artificial Colours: Synthetic colourants can contain heavy metals and other irritants that may harm the skin. Some individuals can experience allergic reactions to these dyes.
  • Mineral Oil: Although not necessarily dangerous, mineral oil can clog pores and cause breakouts, particularly for people with oily or acne-prone skin.
  • Formaldehyde Releasers: Some products contain ingredients that release formaldehyde, a known skin irritant and allergen.

  • Coal Tar Dyes: Commonly found in some hair dyes and dark-coloured cosmetics, these dyes are derived from coal processing and have been associated with cancer risk.
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): These chemical exfoliants can cause increased sensitivity to the sun and may lead to sunburn if used without proper sun protection.
  • Fragrant Plant Extracts: Natural fragrances or essential oils, even though they come from plants, can still be irritating to some people, particularly those with sensitive skin.

Opt for Natural Fabrics

When selecting your Halloween costume, prioritise natural, breathable fabrics like cotton, silk, or linen. These materials allow your skin to breathe and reduce the risk of irritation. Avoid synthetic materials like polyester or vinyl, as they can trap heat and moisture against your skin, potentially causing rashes or breakouts.

Test Costume and Makeup in Advance

A crucial step is to try on your costume and test any makeup or face paint a few days before Halloween. This way, you can identify any potential issues and ensure that you're comfortable with your choices. If you notice skin irritation or discomfort, you'll have time to adjust your costume or makeup accordingly.

Use Hypoallergenic Makeup

For Halloween makeup, opt for hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic products. These are less likely to clog your pores or cause allergic reactions. Look for makeup specifically designed for sensitive skin and avoid using regular cosmetics that you use in your everyday routine, as they may contain ingredients that your skin is not accustomed to.

Protect Your Skin

Before applying makeup, create a barrier between your skin and Halloween cosmetics by using a skin-friendly primer or moisturiser. This helps prevent direct contact and minimises the risk of skin irritation. After the Halloween fun, make sure to remove makeup thoroughly to allow your skin to breathe and recover.

Be Mindful of Accessories

Accessories like masks, wigs, and hats can also impact your skin. Ensure they fit comfortably and don't rub or press against your skin. For masks, consider adding a soft fabric or cushioning on the inside to protect your face from rough edges. Always keep your accessories clean to prevent dirt and bacteria from causing skin issues.

Easy on the Glue and Adhesives

If your costume requires adhesives, such as spirit gum for prosthetic pieces or eyelash glue, make sure to use them sparingly and follow the instructions. Excessive use of adhesive products can lead to skin irritation and even allergic reactions. Choose medical-grade adhesives for safety.

Consider DIY Costume Ideas

To have more control over the materials and makeup you use, consider do-it-yourself (DIY) costume ideas. Crafting your costume allows you to choose skin-friendly fabrics and cosmetics and minimise the risk of skin problems.

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