Health Watch -- Frightful Costumes

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


Do you look scarier after your costume comes off?

For people with sensitive skin, the most frightening part of Halloween may come after the costume comes off. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say makeup and clothing dyes used as part of Halloween costumes can cause rashes for children and adults who have sensitive skin.

Dr. Ponciano Cruz, UT Southwestern's vice chairman of dermatology, has some helpful hints for avoiding a frightening post-Halloween face.

First, don't wear costumes or masks that rub color onto the skin. If the color comes off on you, the dye isn't colorfast, and it could irritate your skin.

Wear loose-fitting costumes so you don't get the friction or irritation of tight-fitting clothes. Make sure masks don't rub your face.

People with very sensitive skin should probably avoid using makeup, face paints or body-coloring agents. If you do want to color yourself, make sure you use paints designed for use on skin.

If you decide to dye your hair for the occasion, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Most call for a spot test to check for skin allergies a couple of days before you actually dye your hair.

At the end of the evening, be sure to carefully wash off all makeup, paints, temporary hair color or clothing dye before you go to bed to avoid skin irritation.

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Oct. 2004

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