Halloween is this week and the costumes are already in place to be adorned by children and adults. Halloween face-paint is all the rave. It’s the art of creation that makes any relationship with a makeup artist, a very prized one. But just how safe is the paint you’re about to smear all over your little one’s and your own face?
HALLOWEEN FACE PAINT – TRICK, TREAT OR TOXIC.
If you’re using face paint to add to your look this Halloween, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the right products to avoid any harmful effects or skin reactions.
According to a report in 2009 by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a national coalition of nonprofit groups working to eliminate harmful chemicals from personal care products.
After testing ten major kids face paints sold in the US, the study found that all ten of the face paints tested contained lead.
Six out of the ten face paints tested contained the known skin allergens, nickel, cobalt and/or chromium, at levels far exceeding the recommendations of industry studies.
Yes, the amounts were low – but, as Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) points out, there’s no safe level of lead exposure, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends protecting children from it.
Unfortunately things haven’t changed since then in the industry, as a recent report by (CSC)“Pretty Scary 2: Unmasking Toxic Chemicals in Kids’ Makeup” was spearheaded by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and released by the Breast Cancer Fund and the California Public Interest Research Group. The report comes courtesy of the Breast Cancer Fund (BCF), which sent 48 different Halloween face paints to an independent lab to have them tested for the presence of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury. Nearly half the paints had trace amounts of at least one heavy metal, and some contained up to four different ones. Paints with dark pigments were more likely to contain heavy metals — and at high concentrations.
The report says that of the 48 Halloween face paints tested, 21 had trace amounts of at least one heavy metal and some had as many as four. Lead was found in nearly 20 percent of the paints and cadmium in nearly 30 percent.
Lead is linked to learning disabilities and developmental problems in children and cadmium is linked to breast, kidney, lung and prostate cancers, according to the report.
No Regulation On Makeup.
So, how and why are these harmful products permitted in face paint, even though lead has been banned in regulated products like house paint for decades?
Unfortunately make-up is not regulated. The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market.
Therefore the consequences of lead exposure are serious and rampant. The California Department of Public Health Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch website states that lead poisoning can harm a child’s nervous system and brain when they are still forming.
- Lead can lead to a low blood count (anemia).
- Small amounts of lead in the body can make it hard for children to learn, pay attention, and succeed in school.
- Higher amounts of lead exposure can damage the nervous system, kidneys, and other major organs. Very high exposure can lead to seizures or death.
The Safest Options.
Since all of the v contained lead, and none of the metals they found were listed on the ingredient labels, the CSC actually recommends avoiding Halloween face paint altogether until safety standards are put in place. CSC urges parents that, if they do choose to use face paint, they keep it away from kids’ mouths and hands so they don’t ingest it.
- Go Natural: Homemade is the way. Make your own dyes and colors. The CSC has provided some DIY recipes using food or natural food coloring on their website.
- “Say No” To Paint Kits: Don’t use paint kits. Professional face paint is actually cosmetic makeup that is made with ingredients that are safe for use on the skin. Halloween face paint kits often contain dyes or color additives that are not FDA-compliant. Never use craft paint, acrylic paint, markers or pens on the skin, which can cause an allergic reaction and can be very difficult to remove. Use cosmetic makeup products will come off easily using only soap and water.
- Do a Patch Test (Skin Allergy): Patch testing may help to find the cause of allergic contact dermatitis.Whenever you use a new makeup product on yourself or your child, you should always do a patch test to check for sensitivity. “Non-toxic” doesn’t mean it won’t cause a skin reaction. Take a small amount of the product and apply it on the inside of your elbow. Watch for any kind of immediate reaction after about 20 minutes or so.
- Wash Off With Soap & Water: Most of the times face paint products wash off with mild soap and water. For best results, remove with a high quality baby wipe or baby shampoo, water and a wash cloth. Avoid using low cost baby wipes, as these can be irritating to young children’s skin.
- Moisturize Your Skin Post-Removal To Avoid Irritation: To reduce your chances of any skin irritation, breakout or redness, Alice and Pressler believe that it’s best to prepare you face and body before even applying the paint to begin with. Make sure that the makeup is put on to clean, dry skin and steer clear of painting over any wounds or rashes.
- Also be sure to include a smoothing on a gentle skin moisturizer post-removal. “You can use Olay, Burt’s Bees or something from a health foods store. If you’re skin is really irritated, try an ointment like Lucas PaPaw,”