This time of year, most people have one question on their mind: What am I wearing for Halloween? If you plan to wear anything involving face paint, health officials have another question for you to ask: Is it safe? According to USA Today, a growing number of people have reported unusual allergic reactions to wearing face paint this year. For example: In February, 43 Girl Scouts in Ohio broke out with red, bumpy rashes after using face paint made by the Shanghai Color Art Stationery Corporation. After a group of Boy Scouts reported a similar problem, the company recalled the product. Linda Katz directs the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Cosmetics and Color. She says most face paint products are completely safe, but there are several precautions you can take to make sure you won’t get sick this Halloween.
- For starters: Katz says never use anything on your face that isn’t intended for skin – like spray paint, for example.
- Also: Never apply face paint near the eyes, especially if it contains chemicals that make it glow in the dark, or appear “day-glow.”
- If you’re concerned about allergies, Katz says you should apply a small dab of face paint to the inside of your arm a few days before Halloween. Then if you experience a rash, don’t use the paint.
- Finally: If you open a tube of face paint and notice a bad smell, throw it away. That’s usually a sign of contamination, or bacteria.
Despite all the warnings, we don’t want to discourage people from using face paint on Halloween. In fact, safety experts say choosing face paint over a plastic facemask is always a safer option, because some masks can make it hard to see where you’re walking, and that could lead to more injuries while trick-or-treating! If you’d like to go further, or if you’d like to report a problem you’ve had with face paint, the FDA encourages you to visit their Website at FDA.gov.