Combating allergens in makeup products

Makeup products aren’t usually the first suspect of an allergic reaction, but some ingredents used in makeup don’t sit well with the user’s skin. Nearly 15 million Americans have at least one food allergy, the Food Allergy Research and Education organization said. A countless amount suffer from at least one food intolerance.

There is a misconception that food allergies, and especially intolerances, only affect the natural reaction points in the body, such as those where a reaction can be detected. However, adding products that contain allergens to your skincare or makeup routine heightens the chance for a reaction.

The most common allergens used in products are derived from soy, gluten and corn GMOs. This means that product users who are either allergic or sensitive to any of these allergens should avoid them, especially in face products such as foundations and face creams.

Even with small levels of allergens, the reactions from these products can range in severity. Some reactions may appear as redness and irritation to the face, while more severe reactions include blistering and swelling. Acne can also result from the irritation caused by these allergens.

When shopping for new skincare and makeup products, reading labels is important. Unlike food, beauty products are not required to label allergens. Instead, consumers have to take the research into their own hands.

There are some common ingredients to watch out for, depending which allergens you are looking to avoid. Anyone with a soy intolerance should avoid soy lecithin, mono/di/tri-glycerides (made from soy), and natural flavors. Product users with a gluten intolerance should stay away from any products that contain wheat or flour protein. Additionally, corn GMO ingredients are found in makeup as natural flavors.

The safest way to buy beauty products is to find those that contain the least ingredients. Some companies even advertise that their products are organic, such as Alba Botanica, Burt’s Bees and Avalon Organics.

The moral here is never to trust marketing labels. Even when buying organic products, watch for soy and gluten-based ingredients. They are still considered organic when they are not genetically modified. So even though a product is advertised as “hypoallergenic,” or “all natural,” chances are that it could contain significant levels of natural allergens.

While cosmetic products may not seem like the most significant cause of reactions from allergens or intolerances, they can make a difference in the user’s health. Some dermatologists attribute severe acne in adolescents to their food allergies. It makes sense; why use an ingredient on your face that you avoid putting into your body?

Alisa Smith is a sophomore communication and political science major from Arlington. She can be contacted at 335-1140 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of The Office of Student Media.