The vast amount of time invested in our skin, from facials to pinning down the perfect cleansing regimen, can often be put at risk by the use of cosmetics. Makeup is a wonderful tool to enhance natural beauty and highlight your best features, but how can makeup work against you? We’ve all heard about the possible reactions our bodies can alert us to when using a new product, but what are some lesser-known ways that makeup affects your skin care?
1. Fights with your moisturizer
If not properly removed at the end of the day, old makeup lingers on the skin, clogs pores, and blocks the replenishment of your night time skin regiment. The skin repairs itself while you sleep, so why not give your dermis the best (and cleanest) possible palette to work with?
The Solution: Every evening, remove makeup with a cleanser that compliments your skin type and follow with your preferred moisturizer.
2. Allergic Reactions
An allergic reaction to cosmetic ingredients, irritant contact dermatitis can come in two types according to Mayo Clinic: irritant contact dermatitis, the most common reaction which affects the skin’s most outer protective layer, and allergic contact dermatitis, when an “allergen triggers an immune reaction in your skin.” Complications resulting from contact dermatitis include neurodermatitis (lichen simplex chronicus), bacterial and fungal infections.
The Solution: Always check the product label for ingredients that have caused your skin to violently respond in the past. If possible, ask for a tester or a sample of the product. If you are still leery to start using a new product, try a “patch test” by applying the product to your wrist or curve of your elbow.
3. Bacterial infections
While there are no requirements made by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cosmetic companies to provide expirations dates on their products, a good rule of thumb is to discard eye products (like mascara) after 3 months of use and foundation, 1 year. The wand of a mascara product is a breeding ground for bacteria. The FDA advises consumers to store cosmetics properly and avoid sharing with friends or family members. The use of saliva to moisten dry product immediately raises the risk of contaminating the product as bacteria from the mouth.
The Solution: Toss it if it’s old, dry, or dirty, don’t share your cosmetics, and store properly. It’s probably a good idea to clean your brushes and applicators too…
4. Just because it’s “organic” doesn’t mean it’s safer to use.
“An ingredient’s source does not determine its safety,” states the FDA. “For example, many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic.” Some plant and plant parts contain toxic properties that can cause severe allergic contact dermatitis (see #2).
The Solution: Take the same precautions you would use when using conventional cosmetics. Examine labels for ingredients that have burned you in the past and use the “patch test”.
The Bottom Line
If you have an adverse reaction to a cosmetic product, immediately discontinue use and seek the advice of a trusted skin care practitioner. Medical spas provide personal assessment and evaluation of their clients’ skin and determine a tailored skin care plan based on skin type and need. Anti-bacterial, detoxifying, and deep cleansing treatments are available in addition to skin-rejuvenation and laser therapy.
By removing your makeup at bedtime, properly caring for your products, and taking the necessary steps to educate yourself about ingredients, you will lessen the chance that your cosmetics will derail your skin’s health.