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Palmetto Parent

Halloween Makeup Safety Tips

Oct 04, 2018 04:12PM ● By Emily Stevenson
As the leaves begin to change and October quickly approaches, the Cosmetology department at Remington College offers ten costume and makeup tips to help keep everyone safe and spooky this Halloween season.

When using any new makeup, first perform a patch test to ensure that you will not have a negative reaction to the makeup. This should be done by applying a small amount of the make up to the underside of your arm or on your neck; if the area is irritated, do not use the makeup on other parts of your body. Don’t forget to do patch tests for children planning to use makeup as well!

Use makeup instead of a mask. Masks can be uncomfortable, and can obscure a children’s vision or breathing. A child’s vision being compromised while they are trick
or treating, crossing streets and walking around crowded or unfamiliar neighborhoods, is a huge and entirely avoidable risk.
Craft glitter should never be used on the face or body. This kind of glitter can lead to major eye irritation, or even cornea scratches. Opt for specially formulated cosmetic glitter instead, which is much safer.

Many people are allergic to latex, which is used frequently for props and prosthetic skin used for costume makeup. Test anyone who plans on using these materials for latex allergies ahead of time.

If you buy a costume for a child, we recommend washing the costume before they wear it, to ensure there are no harmful or irritating chemicals on the fabric. If the costume is delicate, wash it by hand in the sink and let it air dry. If the costume includes non-fabric materials, wipe those down with soap and water, rinse, and dry thoroughly to prevent mold.
Ensure that the ingredients used in your costume makeup, including glues, fake blood and prosthetics, are FDA approved. Makeup used specifically for stage or theatre is more likely to contain only FDA approved ingredients.
Check that your props contain safe ingredients as well. Some Halloween masks or props can contain harmful ingredients, such as lead paint. Consider making your own with safe materials, such as papier-mâché, or using makeup instead of a mask.
To keep skin as healthy as possible, costume makeup should ideally be free of oil and alcohol, and use a water base. Search for costume makeup that is non-comedogenic, which means it does not clog pores.

Consider using a wig or a hat instead of spray-on hair color. Aerosol hair color can dry out your hair, leaving it brittle, dry and in poor condition.

Never use non-prescription contacts for a costume! Contacts are a medical device, and should be properly fitted to each individual by a doctor. Talk to your optometrist about the possibility of prescription color contacts if you’re interested in getting a pair. Wearing improperly fitted or unhygienic contacts puts you at risk for losing your eyesight.

Halloween Safety: Frightening Risks of Non-Prescription Costume Contact Lenses

Wearing costume contact lenses to enhance your Halloween costume may seem like a good idea, but beware, dangerous chemicals and painful infections can lead to permanent eye damage and vision loss. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are warning costume shoppers about over-the-counter decorative lenses after a recent study found that several varieties tested positive for chlorine and other harmful chemicals.

The research published in Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice found chlorine in three types of non-prescription costume contact lenses. Iron was found on four pairs of lenses. The chemicals may come from colorants used to tint and create playful patterns on the lenses. One pair seeped chlorine after a routine rinse, prompting concern from researchers about toxicity to the eye. The study also noted that colorants printed or pressed onto some decorative lenses create an uneven texture. Those rough surfaces could scratch the eyes, potentially allowing in bacteria that can cause infection and even blindness.

Four of the five lenses in the study are not available legally in the United States because they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Despite that sales restriction, many decorative lenses of unknown origin can be bought online, at beauty parlors or even gas stations.

Dr. Guillermo Amescua, assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, advises, “Contact lenses worn without a doctor’s prescription greatly increase the possibility of serious complications. These lenses may cause injuries such as cuts and open sores in the cornea, as well as bacterial infections, which could lead to corneal scarring and vision loss.” Dr. Amescua said additional risks include conjunctivitis (pink eye), swelling of the eye (corneal edema), sensitivity to light, and allergic reactions.

For these reasons, Bascom Palmer and the Academy advise consumers against wearing decorative lenses without a prescription.

About Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is ranked the nation’s best in ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report, an honor it has received for the 15th time.  In addition to its international reputation as one of the premier providers of eye care in the world, Bascom Palmer is the largest ophthalmic care, research and educational facility in the southeastern United States.  Each year, more than 250,000 patients are treated with nearly every ophthalmic condition and more than 18,000 surgeries are performed. With four patient care facilities in Florida (Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Naples and Plantation), the Institute serves as the Department of Ophthalmology for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, part of UHealth-University of Miami Health System. Bascom Palmer faculty members also staff the Miami and West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, Jackson Memorial Hospital and Miami Children’s Hospital. For information on Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, contact Marla Bercuson at (305) 326-6190 or, or visit