Halloween is fun for kids and grown-ups alike.
Costumes and makeup obviously play a large role in this holiday, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind for the sake of your skin. Year after year, my schedule is jam-packed with acne patients for the first two weeks of November, and nine times out of 10, Halloween makeup is the culprit. But when you take the proper precautions and know which ingredients to avoid, you can enjoy Halloween with minimal side effects.
Most of us don’t have Halloween-grade makeup lying around at home, which means you’ll probably have to do a little shopping. Be sure to read the labels and avoid anything with isopropyl myristate, which is known to cause acne. This ingredient is very common in cosmetics (especially colored ones) like eyeliner because it helps the product glide on the skin. Since you’re likely applying these products beyond your eyes on Halloween, it’s best to steer clear — especially if you’re prone to acne.
Once you have your makeup, be sure to apply a primer that contains dimethicone before creating your Halloween look. This ingredient forms a barrier that will protect your skin from heavy makeup (and potentially irritating ingredients) and it will also help keep your makeup in place. Jane Iredale’s Smooth Affair Primer is available in versions for normal and oily skin, and it’s so great you’ll want to use it under your makeup every day.
If there’s one night of the year to not go to bed with makeup on, Halloween would be it. Your usual cleanser might not be up to the task, so start with argan, jojoba or almond oil to dissolve the makeup (but avoid safflower and olive oils because they can clog pores). After the oil, use a cleanser that contains a surfactant (such as La-Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser) to wash away any makeup or oil left behind.
Another potential Halloween problem is henna, whether you use it on your skin as a tattoo or on your hair. If you’ve ever had a reaction to hair color, you’re probably allergic to a chemical called paraphenylenediamine, or PPD, and you should avoid henna. If you’re not sure if you’re allergic to PPD, you’ll know very shortly after it comes in contact with your skin, as it causes redness and swelling. In the event of a reaction, take an antihistamine such as Benedryl, and call your dermatologist.
And remember that makeup isn’t the only potential Halloween skin threat. Try to take it easy on the candy, since sugar prompts a process called glycation that can compromise your skin’s collagen and elastin — and lead to wrinkles!
Dr. Leslie Baumann is a board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami.