This is the commonest skin disorder that can arise from the use of cosmetics. The most frequent presenting complaint is facial itch and rash.
Types of cosmetics causing irritant contact dermatitis include:
Excessive or inappropriate use of any of these skin care products and procedures can cause skin irritation, especially in individuals with sensitive skin or underlying skin diseases.
The patient may experience only burning or stinging sensation after applying the cosmetic on the skin. In severe cases, itchiness, redness, swelling and later scaling and peeling of the skin can occur.
Stop using all cosmetic products on the affected skin immediately. Consult your doctor. Do not seek treatment from beauticians or unqualified persons. Your doctor will treat you with a bland facial cleanser and low-potency corticosteroid cream or ointment.
After the rash recovers, patch testing may be required at a later date to exclude allergy to the cosmetics. (See below)
Your doctor will advise you on the appropriate cosmetics to use.
Another important skin disorder caused by cosmetics is allergic contact dermatitis. It occurs less frequently than irritant contact dermatitis. It is often difficult to differentiate between an allergic contact dermatitis and an irritant contact dermatitis by the appearance of the rash alone. Cosmetics ingredients that can cause skin allergy include fragrances, preservatives and sunscreens.
Clinical presentation The patient may not experience any problem with the cosmetic initially. An allergic reaction can occur even after repeated exposure to the incriminating substance.
Symptoms of cosmetic allergy include itchiness, redness, swelling or even blistering on the affected skin.
Secondary spread beyond the affected site may occur. The same reaction will recur if the patient uses another product that contains the same ingredients.