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Judicious Use of Cosmetics in Daily Life

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Feb 13, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  4 min read



Use of cosmetics is very common in day-to-day life. So, basic knowledge about the ingredients and the types of reactions to those products are necessary to overcome any problem.

Judicious Use of Cosmetics in Daily Life

Cosmetics are largely used for beautifying or promoting attractiveness and altered appearance. But, these products are not intended to alter or interfere with normal physiology of human skin or body. Reactions to cosmetic ingredients is common nowadays, out of which contact dermatitis is very common. Most of the cosmetic products do not initially cause a reaction, but on subsequent exposure due to the sensitization cause allergic response.

The cosmetics industry has always been prosperous. Hair dye, cosmetic cream for different purpose, lipstick, nail polish, epilators, antiperspirant, pre and aftershaves are now used frequently. Relative to its wide usage, cosmetic products have rarely been associated with serious adverse reactions. But, it does not mean that cosmetics are always safe to use.

Cosmetic dermatitis predominantly affect females, probably due to their frequent use of cosmetics. Common cosmetic dermatitis due to the use of various cosmetics products are,

  1. Allergic contact dermatitis.
  2. Contact urticaria.
  3. Pigmentary changes.
  4. Lichenoid eruptions.
  5. Nail changes.
  6. Hair changes.
  7. Acneiform eruptions.

1) Allergic Contact Dermatitis:

It is the most common adverse reaction to cosmetics. The most common site is eyelid. In this, the sufferer will present with redness and scaling of the affected areas. This adverse reaction occurs due to hair dye, eye makeup like kajal, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow and eyebrow pencil due to various sensitizers in them like paraben, phenylmercuric acetate, etc.

2) Contact Urticaria:

In this, individual presents with multiple hives and flare response to topically applied cosmetics. It is basically due to various ingredients of cosmetics like Balsam of Peru, acetic acid, paraben and cinnamic acid.

3) Pigmentary Changes:

Hyperpigmentation of face also called as Riehl melanosis occurs due to the use of various fragrance ingredients containing cosmetics like benzyl salicylate, sandalwood oil and jasmine absolute.

4) Lichenoid Eruptions:

Lichen planus, itchy purple color raised eruptions like lesions on the face and neck may occur due to hair dye ingredients paraphenylenediamine (PPD).

5) Nail Changes:

Onycholysis (separation of the nail plate from the nail bed ), nail destruction and nail discoloration may be caused by nail cosmetics such as nail polish and nail polish remover.

6) Hair Changes:

Hair breakage is more common due to improper use of hair straighteners or hair damage may take place due to the oxidation type of dye or bleaches.

7) Acneiform Eruptions:

Various cosmetic ingredients like Lanolin and its derivatives, detergents and dyes are known to cause acne like lesions.

Test Patch Before Cosmetic Use:

  • For this, you just put a small quantity of cosmetic product behind your ear and do not wash it off for two days. If you do not have any signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, burning or redness at the test spot, then it means that this product is safe for your skin.
  • Please remember that once your task is over or before going to sleep always wash your face after removing makeup. It is important to wash your face with a cleanser, so that there are no traces left to clog pores or do other damage overnight.

How to Choose Cosmetics for Different Types of Skin?

There are a variety of cosmetics available in the market with lots of attractive levels and fragrance claiming lots of things that are liable to confuse a normal person who has no knowledge of personal care products. First of all, the caretaker must know the type of his or her own skin, whether it is normal, dry, oily or combination.

Products like moisturizer and foundation are chosen according to his or her skin type like, for dry to normal skin oil based formulations required and for oily skin, water based formulations are required. The cost of the product or the manufacturing company should not guide the purchase since very often cheaper products may give equal or better results.

While selecting cosmetics the result should be evaluated under natural light and not the bright artificial light. If a sample of the product is available, then they should be checked first in a small area to see for any irritant or allergic reaction.

Certain Myths Regarding Cosmetic Products Are as Follows:

  • Skin creams and moisturizers with vitamin A, E and other plant extracts prevent aging and skin wrinkling - Most of these substances are not absorbed topically, hence carry no added advantage over a plain moisturizer.
  • Face cleaning with milk and use of facial packs are more effective ways to clean the deep pores - But, in reality soaps are equally effective for facial cleaning as compared to others mentioned earlier.
  • Soaps or shampoos that produce more lather on application have better cleansing actions - The lather production depends on the addition of foam booster to soaps or shampoos, while cleansing depends on the presence of detergent ingredient in soaps and shampoos.
  • Medicated soaps are better cleansing agents and good for skin disease - In reality, the normal flora acts as a defence against the harmful bacteria and prevents their growth over the skin surface.
  • Application of kajal improves eyesight and eyelash growth - Kajal contains carbon and it is used for a cosmetic purpose of enhancing eye appeal. It serves no beneficial action and it can cause contact dermatitis and other eye problems.

If you develop any reactions to cosmetics products, then immediately wash the face. If you feel excessive burning, stinging or redness, then you can apply ice packs to the affected areas and apply topical steroids like Hydrocortisone over the face and Mometasone over the neck and other body parts. Visit your dermatologist or general practitioner as soon as possible.

Always remember that makeup is for beautifying and promoting attractiveness to a certain extent only. This article is not discouraging the use of cosmetics, but it should be used judiciously, in minimal quantity and should be used after doing a test patch of cosmetic products.

Any doubts in choosing your cosmetics? Consult a cosmetologist online -->


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Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  4 min read


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