Alexandra Carter and her son were in the middle of a trial run for Halloween when his “costume” caused painful, itchy “burns” on his face.
As 7News reports, the mom from Queensland, Australia, had purchased a special Halloween makeup kit from her local Woolworths. Though her son had never reacted to face paints before, Carter still did a patch test before applying it, testing a bit of the makeup on the underside of her son’s wrist.
When he didn’t react, Carter went ahead and painted her son’s face. But within minutes, the young boy began to have a reaction. As Carter told Be:
“Mckenzie complained about his skin hurting and feeling itchy, he had started to wipe it away with a cotton face washer which revealed his angry red skin.”
Concerned, Carter immediately removed the makeup and gave him an antihistamine. As she wrote on Facebook:
This was only on him for three minutes and then had to immediately take him for a shower. It has severely burnt his skin.
Her son was left with red blotches that looked resembled a chemical burn. Fortunately, by the next day, the redness had faded, though the itchiness lasted a bit longer.
According to the Huffington Post, costume makeup often contains ingredients that aren’t present in ordinary cosmetics, which increases the chance of an allergic reaction. Dermatologist Joel Schlessinger told the Huffington Post that it’s important to check the ingredient list on Halloween makeup for ingredients that don’t pass Food and Drug Administration muster:
“It’s not unusual to see severe reactions to these cosmetics, specifically around the eyes, nose and mouth. Additionally, some Halloween face paint could contain color additives that aren’t FDA-approved, such as certain fluorescent or luminescent dyes.”
Schlessinger also recommended doing a patch test before applying Halloween makeup:
“As with any unfamiliar makeup, you’ll always want to perform a patch test on your neck or the underside of your arm to make sure you won’t have a negative reaction. If you see signs of irritation, avoid putting the makeup on your face. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if the costume makeup gives your skin an itchy or blistering rash.”
Carter agrees, saying that parents should do a patch test, even when they’ve used the makeup before. As she told Dearly, it isn’t safe to assume that a product marketed for children is free of harmful ingredients:
“For a product aimed at children it should be 100 percent safe. If my son can react like this within a few minutes (who mind you has never had a reaction to face paints before) it’s terrifying what it could have done if left on longer.”
Since sharing her story, Carter says she has spoken to the store that sold the makeup, and that they promised to investigate further. She has also received support from companies that specialize in face paints for children, promising to send her safe products in time for Halloween.
Carter says her real purpose in sharing her story was to let parents know about the risks involved with costume makeup. As she told Dearly:
“Being this close to Halloween, it could help some parents and ultimately children who should enjoy this festive holiday without an allergic reaction to face paint — which is meant to be a fun experience.”