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Using Face Paints Safely at Halloween

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Using Face Paints Safely at HalloweenOh no! Not another Halloween warning to dampen our spirits. Every year, we parents are faced with the choice of locking our kids in (thus protecting them from harm) or letting them out and enjoy childhood for a little bit longer. Mrs H’s Halloween Safety Tips just about said it all.

Now, there’s nothing like face paint to make Halloween or any kiddie party for that matter, fun and festive. From the shimmering to the neon, to the glowing-in-the dark colors, most parents have used face paints on their little ones.

Beware of Halloween Face Paint

Then comes this warning from no less than the US FDA itself. Was it only yesterday that we were advised to use face paints instead of masks? Masks can obscure child’s vision and can present choking or asphyxiation hazards. Now, we have to take care which face paints to use.

Why To Be Cautious When Using Face Paint

Face paints may contain toxic or irritating substances that can trigger allergic reactions. Some have been reported to contain lead and mercury. Reported adverse effects of the paints on the skin areas it was applied to are:

  • Rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Burning Sensation
  • Swelling

So which will it be, mask or face paint?

Well, luckily the US FDA gives some recommendations regarding the safe use of face paints. So before you do a Spiderman or princess masterpiece on your child’s face, please read the following:

  • Use only paint or make up that is intended for the skin.
  • Check for allergies before extensive use by doing a patch test before the big day.
  • Avoid applying paint around and close to the eyes, especially fluorescent (neon) and luminescent (glow in the dark) colors. The fluorescent colors (D&C Orange No. 5, No. 10, and No. 11; D&C Red No. 21, No. 22, No. 27 and No. 28; and D&C Yellow No. 7) should especially be avoided near the eyes.
  • Follow application instructions carefully.
  • Read the labels and check the ingredients. Watch out for colors not approved by the US FDA. Colors approved for cosmetic use are listed on the FDA site.
  • Use newly purchased products. Paints already opened and previously used may be contaminated.
  • Watch out for recalled products. In May of this year, the FDA advised consumers of several types of children’s face paint recalled by Fun Express. Check out the list of products here and here.
  • Remove the paint thoroughly after all the fun is over. Don’t sleep with paint or make up on. Follow removal instructions on the product labels.

Halloween is a fun holiday! With a little caution and awareness from parents, it can stay that way.


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  1. Spooktacular Babies Halloween Slideshow | Holidays | Babies Online The Blog

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