With Halloween approaching quickly, here are some top tips about how to stay safe this October.
For people with severe allergies, dressing up for Halloween can cause concerns; whether going out trick or treating, or going to a Halloween party, where free sweets are a faint memory of the past.
When choosing your costume, the main things to look out for are face-paints, any other type of cosmetic used, or masks that are worn instead of makeup.
Snazaroo is a hypoallergenic face-paint brand, designed to be fragrance-free but even then, it should always be patch-tested before using on a large-scale. Leave for at least 48-72 hours to ensure a reaction will not take place and bear in mind that a reaction could be caused not only by the face-paint itself, but also by the brushes/sponges used to apply it, how you remove it or even something put on before the face-paint.
Be just as cautious when using other cosmetics, as they could contain allergens, or irritants; always read the label whenever you buy any cosmetic product!
Some permanent and temporary hair dyes can contain a chemical called para-phenylenediamine (PPD). People can become allergic to it at any time, even if they have been exposed to it before without problems. The most common reaction to PPD is contact dermatitis which causes the skin to become red, blistered, dry and cracked. Severe reactions to PPD are rare but check the product instructions before using it and do an allergy patch test 48 hours before using it to minimise the risk.
Some food-based ingredients are used in cosmetics and given a Latin name, so watch out for these other ingredients:
- Sweet almond: prunus dulcis (prunus amygdalus dulcis)
- Bitter almond: prunus amara (prunus amygdalus amara)
- Avocado: persea gratissima
- Apricot: prunus armeniaca
- Banana: musa sapientum
- Brazil: bertholletia excelsa
- Cashew: anacardium accidentale
- Celery: Apium graveolens
- Chestnut: castanea sativa
- Chickpea: cicer arietinum
- Coconut: cocus nucifera
- Corn (maize): zea mays
- Egg: ovum
- Fish liver oil: piscum iecur
- Hazelnut: corylus rostrata
- Horse chestnut: aesculus hippocastanum
- Kiwi fruit: actinidia chinensis
- Kola nut: cola vera
- Kukui nut: aleurites muluccana
- Lupin: lupin albus
- Macadamia; macadamia ternifolia
- Milk: lac
- Mustard: brassica alba
- Oat: avena sativa
- Peach: prunus persica
- Peanut: arachis hypogaea
- Pistachio: pistacia vera
- Rice: oryza sativa
- Rye: secale cereale
- Sesame: sesamum indicum
- Soya: glycine soja
- Sunflower: helianthus annuus
- Walnut: jugulans regia
- Wheat: triticum vulgare
- Whey protein: lactis proteinum
Words such as hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, sensitivity tested and non-irritating don’t mean that no-one will react to them, so you must check each product you intend to use in a patch-test before you use it for your final Halloween look.
Masks and costumes can also cause a reaction, as many of them contain latex, a substance that many people are allergic to, so check the materials it is made from before you commit to a night of wearing something that could cause a reaction.
Many more issues come with wearing a costume, as well as them containing latex. If they have been stored in a cupboard for a while, they could contain dust or mould spores, with could also trigger an allergic reaction. In order to avoid this, air out your costume about a week in advance, and if possible, wash it with a detergent you will not react to.
A final issue that is caused by costumes is that there may not be a place to carry your auto-injectors. Nevertheless, you should always find a way of carrying them with you, as you never know when a severe allergic reaction could happen. To discover a way to do this, read Patrick’s article: https://acyouthambassadors.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/how-to-carry-epipens-discreetly/