Halloween Makeup Dos and Don’ts

Halloween is fun for kids and grown-ups alike. Costumes and makeup obviously play a large role in this holiday, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind for the sake of your skin. Year after year, my schedule is jam-packed with acne patients for the first two weeks of November, and nine times out of ten, Halloween makeup is the culprit. But when you take the proper precautions and know which ingredients to avoid, you can enjoy Halloween with minimal side effects afterwards.

Halloween Makeup Prep

Most of us don’t have Halloween-grade makeup lying around at home, which means you’ll probably have to do a little shopping. Be sure to read the labels and avoid anything with isopropyl myristate, which is known to cause acne. This ingredient is very common in cosmetics (especially colored ones) like eyeliner, because it helps the product glide onto the skin. Since you’re likely applying these products beyond your eyes on Halloween, it’s best to steer clear, especially if you’re already prone to acne.

Be sure to apply a primer that contains dimethicone o protect your skin before creating your Halloween look. This ingredient forms a barrier that will protect your skin from heavy makeup and potentially irritating ingredients, and it will also help to keep your makeup in place. Jane Iredale’s Smooth Affair Primer is available in versions for normal and oily skin, and it’s so great, you’ll want to use it under your makeup every day!

Scary Halloween Skincare Habits to Avoid

If there’s one night of the year not to go to bed with makeup on, Halloween would be it. Your usual cleanser might not be up to the task, so start with argan, jojoba, or almond oil to dissolve the makeup. On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid safflower and olive oils, because they can clog pores. After the oil, use a cleanser that contains a surfactant, such as La-Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser, to wash away any makeup or oil left behind.

Another potential Halloween problem is henna, whether you use it on your skin as a tattoo or on your hair. If you’ve ever had a reaction to hair color, you’re probably allergic to a chemical called paraphenylenediamine, or PPD, and you should avoid henna as well. If you’re not sure if you’re allergic to PPD, you’ll know very shortly after it comes in contact with your skin, as it causes redness and swelling. In the event of a reaction, take an antihistamine such as Benadryl and call your dermatologist.

And remember that makeup isn’t the only potential Halloween skin threat. Try to take it easy on the candy, since sugar prompts a process called glycation, which can compromise your skin’s collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles!

I hope everyone has a fun, safe Halloween, and if you have any suggestions for skin-safe cosmetics or other tips, please share them on our Facebook page!


Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through

September 7, 2016 Acne, Beauty