little girl in dog halloween costume getting makeup on her face
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Is It Safe For Your Baby To Wear Makeup On Halloween? Experts Weigh In

Before you grab the eyeliner, read this.

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Halloween is the only time of year when you’ll find parents scouring their makeup bags to find the perfect eyeliner to make whiskers on their 3-month-old's cheeks so their tiny cat costume isn't in vain, but can you actually put makeup on your baby for Halloween?

Is It Safe To Put Makeup On A Baby?

Although you have your heart set on making your 4 month-old into Frankenstein for Halloween, it might not be worth slathering their sensitive skin with a lot of green face makeup. “While it is safe, it is important to remember that baby skin is sensitive and can be more reactive, especially to ingredients, preservatives or dyes that can be found in certain makeups,” Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City tells Romper. But what makes Baby’s skin so darn delicate? Dr. Charles, MD, FAAD, a board certified dermatologist, explains: “Babies have a higher surface area to volume ratio, meaning they can absorb more through their skin than adults,” he says. “Thus, anything applied to large parts of babies' skin carries a higher risk of systemic absorption.”

What Are The Risks Of Putting Makeup On A Baby?

While it might be cute to paint your newborn’s nose black and give them whiskers to look like a cat, a raging skin infection isn’t quite as adorable. “Particularly for those with sensitive skin, makeup can trigger redness, dryness, flaking and overall irritation of the skin,” explains Dr. Garshick. “In some cases, it can also trigger breakouts or clogged pores.” But wait, there’s more — and it’s not good. “Allergic contact dermatitis is when you develop a potentially lifelong itchy, flaky red rash whenever you are exposed to a particular ingredient,” warns Dr. Charles. “Putting makeup on your baby risks irritant rashes, developing allergies, and systemic absorption of the various chemicals in the makeup.”

What Ingredients Should You Avoid?

Of course, you should look closely at the makeup label to see what you’re putting on your baby. Thing is, it might always be accurate, Dr. Charles says. “Many makeup products aren't fully transparent with their ingredients,” he says. “Consequently, you can't be entirely sure what you're applying to the skin.” Still, there are some ingredients that are a definite no-no. “Some ingredients that may be more likely to cause sensitivity in babies include fragrance, formaldehyde and other preservatives, alcohol and certain dyes,” says Dr. Garshick. “In general, it is recommended for baby products to be simple and free of allergens or irritants.”

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What Age Is Too Young To Put Makeup On?

There is no hard and fast rule on when your little one can put on some pink face makeup to look like Peppa Pig. But the younger Baby is, the greater the risk for skin irritation. “A younger child will have more sensitive skin, but in general, the use of makeup may also depend on how reactive the individual's skin is,” says Dr. Garshick. “The more sensitive, the more reactive it can be to face make up.” And it’s not just the application and wearing of the makeup that might pose a problem, but removing it as well, since all that scrubbing can be even more irritating.

Here’s How You Can Use Makeup On Your Baby More Safely

If you want to make your little Leo baby into a lion for Halloween, there are ways you can apply the makeup so that it causes minimal irritation to their skin. “You can create a barrier with Vaseline before using the makeup to try to minimize skin irritation,” advises Dr. Charles, who recommends using a ceramide cream to help re[air the skin’s barrier. In addition to reading the labels to ensure the safety of the makeup, “be sure to limit the use and duration and to gently rinse it away when done,” says Dr. Garshick.


Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

Dr. Charles, MD, FAAD, a board certified dermatologist

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