Contact eczema due to cosmetics

Contact eczema results from prolonged contact with a wide variety of allergens. Some of them are used in the composition of many cosmetics, which can sometimes complicate daily cleansing and care.



What is eczema due to cosmetics?

This type of contact eczema appears following the use or application of a cosmetic:

  • A hair color allergy, shampoo allergy or hairspray allergy results in eczema lesions on the scalp. In the case of shampoo-related dermatitis, eczema plaques may appear on the back or face if the product runs off when rinsing;
  • Deodorant allergy leads to eczema plaques under the armpits;
  • Lipstick allergy causes lesions on the lips and/or all around the mouth;
  • Nail polish allergy is characterized by the fact that it can cause lesions on other parts of the body, especially the face and eyes, which we frequently touch, without being aware of it (hand-transmitted eczema).

In some cases, it is not a genuine contact allergy, but rather an irritative, non-immune dermatitis due to humidity, rubbing, repeated washing of the skin or hair, etc. Irritant dermatitis and contact eczema can develop successively in the same person, further altering the condition of the skin.

Which cosmetics are involved?

There are many cosmetics that can cause an eczema flare-up, but please note: cosmetics allergy is not an allergy to a type of product or brand. It is a contact allergy to a substance present in a cosmetic and which is a source of dermatitis. Most frequently, it is an allergy to a fragrance, dye or preservative. In case of doubt, allergy tests can reveal the substance responsible. It can be present in many cosmetics, hence the importance of reading product labels. In some cases, allergy tests are negative and the diagnosis of irritant dermatitis is then more likely.

What is the best way to treat eczema due to cosmetics?

There is nothing inevitable about allergic eczema and it can be treated like any other type of eczema, i.e. with anti-inflammatory creams and soothing repair creams applied to the lesions, as well as emollients over the long term. However, in order to avoid daily flare-ups of contact eczema and long-term changes in the skin condition, it is best to stop using the cosmetic(s) in question.

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