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Practical beauty: Makeup allergies

Check out our tips to reduce the risk of allergic reactions to cosmetics

06 OCTOBER 2011

If you have sensitive skin, it can be an expensive business trying out different brands and products to find out which work best for you. So we've put together a few basic guidelines that should help you lessen the chance of problems.

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Keep cosmetics up-to-date
Just like foodstuffs, modern cosmetic packaging includes a guide that will tell you how long the product will keep after opening: the label should show a little icon of an open container and a number indicating the number of months that the product can be used for. It's a good idea to write on each container when you first open it, and even if it isn't empty, when the safe period has passed, replace it.

Storage
The way you store your cosmetics can also help reduce the risk of premature deterioration: in general, heat, light and damp can speed the chemical changes in the products, so it's a good idea to keep your makeup in a cupboard, not out on the sunny dressing table or in the bathroom.

Cleanliness

This time it's not about your own hygiene, but about the applicators: all brushes, makeup sponges, etc.. should be washed frequently and dried thoroughly. Standing brushes in a jar, with their bristles upwards allows air to circulate and helps stop them getting matted.

Pencils not liquids
When it comes to eyeliner and eyebrow liners, pencils are less likely to produce allergic reactions because the wax in the product means that there's little need to use preservatives. Liquid formulas use latex and can cause irritations.

Beware of waterproofs
The problem lies not so much in the waterproof products themselves as in the stronger formula cleansers that are needed to remove them, as these can be harsh on the skin.

Powders not creams
As a general rule, because of the ingredients used, cosmetics in powder form are less likely to provoke allergies than creams or liquids.

Review your lifestyle habits

Good cleansing and moisturising habits are essential to minimise the risk of irritation. Make sure you find a cleanser that suits your skin, always remove make up before you go to bed, and use a moisturiser or night cream to replace nutrients lost during the day. Pay attention to your diet: eating well – including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables – and drinking plenty of water will help keep your skin healthy and at its best to cope with the rigours and stresses of new and different cosmetics.

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