In Skin Care

If there is any time to go all out with hair and makeup, it’s Halloween. When else can you cover your face in colorful paint and fake blood and hit the town? While Halloween makeup can be fun, it’s not so great for your skin.

Face paints and thick costume makeup can cause breakouts or allergic reactions if you aren’t careful. There are a few ways to avoid skin issues during Halloween without disrupting your fun, so don’t stop planning that wicked witch costume just yet!

Be conscious when choosing Halloween makeup

Choosing Halloween makeup may seem as simple as finding the colors you need, but there is a lot more to consider when selecting your face paint. Makeup sold at Halloween stores is often hypoallergenic but not typically non-comedogenic, which means it can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Additionally, costume makeup often has harsh ingredients that provide full coverage but can irritate the skin. These ingredients may be fragrances, preservatives or heavier oils than everyday makeup. Try to find oil-free and non-comedogenic makeup, and read all of the ingredients to be sure there are no allergens.

Never use last year’s Halloween makeup. Makeup that has sat unopened in a dark place for a year is the perfect breeding ground for breakout-causing bacteria. Investing in quality costume makeup each year will save you from skin issues down the road.

Properly prepare your skin

Prepping your skin before applying thick costume makeup or paint is one of the most important things you can do to prevent skin irritations. Before applying makeup to your face, always do a spot test on your arm or leg to see how you react to the makeup. Spot testing will ensure unsightly hives won’t be a part of your costume this year.

Once you’ve tested the makeup, you can start prepping your face. First, cleanse and exfoliate your skin thoroughly. Exfoliating not only provides a smooth canvas for applying makeup, but it also eliminates dead skin cells and opens clogged pores.

After cleansing and exfoliating, moisturize your skin and apply a primer before applying makeup. The primer will act as a barrier between the makeup and your skin. This important barrier will help shield against skin damage the costume makeup may cause.

Triple cleanse before bed

Sleeping in Halloween makeup can wreak havoc on your skin. After a fun night full of candy and creepy clowns, always cleanse your face before going to bed. Start with your regular cleanser. Be gentle, never using harsh scrubbing techniques that will further irritate your skin.

After cleansing your face, use an oil-based makeup remover or baby oil to rid your skin of any thick makeup left behind. Remember, your Halloween makeup most likely contains heavy oils and therefore needs an oil-based cleanser for removal.

If you’ve applied false eyelashes or any other type of stick-on embellishment to your face, it is best to invest in adhesive remover. Never pull anything off your skin without using an appropriate cleansing aid; use a makeup remover or adhesive remover to help with the process.

Once your face is product free, exfoliate your skin to guard against breakouts. A chemical exfoliant, such as our glycolic and salicylic acid pads, is great for unclogging pores and calming inflammation.

Avoid hair horrors

Just like your skin, Halloween can be equally hard on your hair should you choose a spooky style. Instead of using paint, glue, glitter and other hair products, try a wig. A wig can give the look you want while keeping your hair out of harm’s way. Before placing the wig, use dry shampoo on your hair and scalp to absorb any of the oils the wig may produce.

If your costume calls for a specific style you can’t achieve with a wig, there are few helpful tips to keep in mind to protect your hair and scalp.

Just like costume makeup, look for quality Halloween hair products and spot test them before full use to minimize reactions. When washing out hair decorations and products, use a sulfate-free shampoo, gently massaging into the hair and scalp. Follow with a conditioner, using about three times the amount you would typically use. Brush through wet hair with a soft bristle brush, repeating these steps until hair is clean.

Moderate the sweets

Last but not least, we can’t let Halloween come and go without mentioning the horrors that excessive candy can have on your skin. In a nutshell, sweets raise insulin levels in your body and can quickly move blood sugars out of the bloodstream and into your cells. This contributes to skin breakouts and can exacerbate acne for those who already have the condition.

The trouble with Halloween candy is that we often have it in our home weeks before Halloween (a temptation to indulge), and it seems to linger for weeks after. Be mindful of the types of candy you buy, and consume it in moderation.

Prepare in advance

Start your Halloween planning now, so you have time to do your research and have all your products and cleansers at the ready.

Hopefully, these tips will keep your skin in tip-top shape through Halloween, but if you DO have any issues, you know who to call. Columbia Skin Clinic is a full-service dermatology practice serving patients in three convenient Midlands locations.

Physician Assistant Laura Winn