Itchy eyelids or swollen lips suggest; you are allergic to cosmetics!

Itchy eyelids or lips swell: you may be allergic to your nail or your day creams are. How to recognize an allergy to cosmetics? What are the most hazardous substances?

If one morning you wake up with itchy hands you, redness or swelling of the eyelids, face or blisters that ooze, you may be the victim of a contact allergy to cosmetics. Mascara, lipstick, shampoo, cleansing lotion … not always easy to identify the product in question because these reactions eczema often appear 48 hours after application.

Allergies are clearly distinguishable from irritation, which affect mainly reactive skin and result in tightness, or burning of the skin; the cause could be too frequent washing, inadequate rinsing or using creams with fruit acids and vitamin A acid.Irritations disappear with soothing creams and a moderate use of the offending product.


If you suspect an allergy, consult an allergist-dermatalogue quickly. You give him the cosmetics you use every day (shampoo, creams, makeup, wipes, shower gels …), with whom he will perform skin tests.

“The suspected product is applied under occlusion on the patient’s skin, says Martine Avenel-Audran, an allergist and dermatologist at the University Hospital of Angers. After 48 hours, the appearance of a miniature confirmed eczema allergy. I then contact the company that manufactures cosmetics to know the components to test separately. Pending the completion of the tests and the list of allergens to rule definitively, I prescribe a corticosteroid cream, which relieves eczema. ”


– Do you have a cosmetic product at the place of the reaction? In fact, the reaction takes place often enough on the area where the offending was applied cosmetic.

– If your eyelids are swollen, have you put nail polish? This question may sound strange, but in some people, a substance in the nail polish can be allergenic.

– Do you wear perfume? An allergy may be due to your perfume or that of your companion by direct skin contact or airborne (when the perfume is sprayed).

– Did you take a sun bath recently? Some products applied to the skin before exposure to the sun can cause photo-allergic.


There are between 5000 and 6000 perfume origins of plant, animal and synthetic, very present in creams, gels and lotions. “There was a couple of year, the composition of perfumes, often held secret, making it difficult to identify a fragrance allergen,” observes the allergy specialist. Recognition facilitated through a European directive which identified twenty-six most allergenic perfume molecules (including linalool, limonene, citronellol and geraniol) and requires, since 2005, their labeling.

Followed by the Conservatives: the most “at risk”, now reserved for products requiring a rinse, limit the time of contact with the skin.


Emerging allergens are now singled out by dermatologists. It is, on the one hand, surfactants present in particular in cleaning agents in foam products (shower gels, shampoos …) and, secondly, products “unwashed” (wipes, lotions Cleansing …).

Also are on the spot protein hydrolysates of wheat emulsifying qualities increasingly used in hair care products, day creams. “They can cause very serious (but rare) style reactions of anaphylactic shock,” said Martine Avenel-Audran. Finally, octocrylene, a chemical filter, the concentration of which increased in antisoleil creams may cause photoallergies.


Once identified allergens, opt for cosmetics that are without reading very carefully selected composition on packaging products.

Opt for products without fragrances or preservatives, packed in small tubes and marketed by laboratories working with dermatologists. As for the “hypoallergenic” label if it does not certify the hypoallergenic nature of the product, however it ensures the implementation of rigorous safety testing and exclusion of perfumes, allergens most often implicated in contact dermatitis.


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