Comic-con cosmetic costume dangers

(KUSI) – Comic Con encourages attendees to show their enthusiasm by dressing for the occasion but some materials may not be very safe.

Kristen Richards with Torrey Pines Dermatology stopped by Good Morning San Diego to give some advice on how to avoid any type of allergic reaction from your custom costumes.

Costume Tips:

  •     Make sure your costumes are crafted from safe materials.
  • Far too many store-bought versions are made of unsafe plastics like vinyl aka PVC, filled with hormone disrupters or even lead, a potent neurotoxin.
  • This is an issue with swapped or hand-me-down costumes, too.
  •   If costumes are older and packed away in a basement or attic, trapped dust and dust mites can make it difficult for those with allergies or asthma to breathe.
  • Since dust mites can trigger asthma in children, parents may want to consider purchasing new costumes to replace those that have may accrued dust from being in storage all year.
  • If a child wants to keep his or her old costume, parents can wash it with specialized laundry products designed to eliminate dust mites and other allergens.
  • Accessories used for many common Halloween costumes also may cause reactions.
  • Crowns, magic wands and faux jewelry that uses metals like nickel may cause rashes and irritation.
  • Beware of nickel and cobalt, which can trigger allergic reactions.
  • Hydrate yourself with water and snack on a few pretzels or potato chips before and during Comic-con, especially in warm temperatures.
  • Sweat causes you to lose water and sodium, which contributes to uncomfortable leg cramps and can make you feel faint.
  • The salt provided by the snack infuses additional sodium into your system, and the water keeps dehydration at bay.
  • According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, costume makeup can trigger an allergic reaction or symptoms of asthma.
  • 10 percent of people will suffer from a cosmetic allergy during their lifetime           Inexpensive makeup may contain preservatives that can cause a rash and swelling of the skin.
  • Formaldehyde is a very common preservative used in many of these products, but some products labeled “formaldehyde-free” can still cause allergic reactions.
  • Certain makeup is not advisable to use around the mouth or eyes, so be certain to check all packaging for any warnings.
  •   High-quality theater makeup may be a better option than the cheap crayon sticks sold at costume stores.
  •   In any event, always test makeup on a small area of the skin well in advance of Comic-con.
  • If a rash or any abnormality occurs, do not use the makeup     Tests conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics discovered that many contain heavy metal horrors like lead and chromium.
  •   Some lipsticks also contain lead.
  • If your kids don’t want to go bare, use the safest makeup you can find instead.           When it comes to outfitting a Comic-con costume, avoid VOC-filled nail polishes and fragranced products made with phthalates, an endocrine disruptor.
  •    If your costume “needs” dark nails, choose a version free of formaldehyde, toluene, and phthalates.
  •    If you can, apply outside or with the windows open, even better. Or try stickers.          Does a costume call for different hair?
  •    Use wigs and hats instead of spray-on hair coloring made with synthetic chemicals that are a bit too mysterious.

 Mask tips:

  •       Certain headgear can limit your visibility, a child can be standing at your feet and out of your field of vision.    Props like fake teeth made from rubber and vinyl frequently contain lead paint and chemical plasticizers.
  • Kids can actually absorb these while wearing them.
  • Fake blood is usually made from an unsafe dye in a petroleum base, so avoid it, too.
  •   If you or your kids are the creative type, try whipping some up your own fake blood with cornstarch and beet juice.
  • Cosmetic contact lenses might seem like the perfect way to enhance your costume this year, but the American Academy of Ophthalmology is warning consumers that the nonprescription lenses could do serious damage to your eyes.   Selling such lenses without a prescription is actually illegal,
  • Dangerous because they could cause corneal abrasions (scratches on the cornea, which covers the iris and pupil) and ulcers on the eye, which can then lead to infection (keratitis).         If this happens, the AAO warns that corneal transplants and other eye surgeries might become necessary to prevent blindness.
  •  It all could have been avoided if these patients just took a little extra time to obtain a prescription and only wore FDA-approved lenses.
  • Contact lenses should only be worn if they are FDA-approved and prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
  •  Be sure to have a dress rehearsal, becoming comfortable in the costume before the event will insure the best performance.


Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News