Is your Lipstick Causing Allergies


Lipsticks, like all other cosmetics, contain a lot of chemicals. Not all of these chemicals are harmless. Though most people would not experience any harmful effects from lipsticks, if a lipstick contains a chemical that you are allergic to, it can easily cause allergies.

Since lipsticks are applied on the mouth, women have a tendency to lick their lips and digest some all the time. On an average, a woman may ingest 4-5 pounds of lipstick in their lifetime. More often than not, this is not what causes the allergies. The contact of the lipstick with the lips is what causes the lipstick allergies in the first place. Here are some symptoms which can help you find out if you have this allergy.

Is your lipstick causing allergies

Skin Rashes and Contact Dermatitis
If you have contact dermatitis due to the chemicals contained in the lipstick, the allergic reaction would most likely occur directly on the site of the contact. Angioedema is a condition which occurs when you have swelling right beneath the skin of the lips. The lip appears hypersensitive, red and puffy. If the allergies are causing itching and burning sensations on your lips, ingesting the lipstick may cause the symptoms to spread. More specifically, itching and burning of the throat, tongue and the mouth may be caused. In severe cases, the mouth may develop eczema, ulceration and sores as well. An ingredient known as carmine, is a red colored pigment which is derived from the crushed shells of beetle, is the most common cause of contact dermatitis from lipsticks.

Respiratory Problems
Though this is not common, breathing problems such as shortness of breath and respiratory issues may occur when you apply a lipstick that you are allergic to. Runny nose, nasal congestion, fainting, dizziness and light headedness are some of the other respiratory problems induced by allergies from lipsticks. Respiration is especially difficult for those who suffer from asthma.

Gastrointestinal Problems
Some of the other problems experienced by those affected by lipstick allergies are focused in the gastrointestinal organs. Since you inadvertently ingest a lot of lipstick, the chemicals may reach your stomach and cause problems. Most gastrointestinal problems are caused due to the ingested chemicals. Some of the problems experienced include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pains. If the chemicals in the lipstick contain bismuth oxychloride, you could experience bismuth toxicity. Though these levels remain low, they may eventually increase, causing allergic reactions.

Though anaphylaxis is a rare condition, this could happen if you develop a very severe allergy to the lipstick that you have been using. In case of a severe allergic reaction, the major organ systems begin to shut down one by one, until eventually your airways become obstructed and you are not able to breathe at all. Anaphylaxis may cause a stroke and in rare cases, even death.

So, is your lipstick causing allergies? If you are experiencing all these symptoms, then yes, it is and you should see a doctor about it.



  1. Hi,

    I’m using shades like lipsticks , gloss, lips balm for more than 5 yrs,….but for past one year, ‘m getting allergie to those products…I seriouly don’t know the reason which is making my lips itch & irritate…now-a-days whenever ‘m using lip shades, it will automatically cause my lips & lipline – dry , itch and irritates….so stop to use lipshades and switch on to use lip balm, since lips became very dry if ‘m not applying any mositure on it ..[ Using products are Lakme & Lotus ]…Previously i don’t have this kind of problem…Only recently it is causing….Can anyone assist me the cause of my problem…


    • Lip colors are comprised of a number of ingredients including oils, botanicals and colors. You can develop an allergy at any time through use to any one of them. A good allergist will take the time to skin test you to the product and the ingredients themselves, but do your homework when choosing one because not all will do skin testing for actual products. You will need to produce a list of ingredients from the lip products to find the common ingredient that may be the cause of the problem. Also, if you have not done so, consider switching to a home-based cosmetic salesperson who has the time to give you the individual attention you need due to this issue. If you cannot find one, go to for one in your area.

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