TAMPA - Halloween is the busiest time of the year for professional face painter Chonya Alvarez.
“We definitely get a lot of requests for princesses. We’ve got a lot of Pokémon going on,” said Alvarez, who only uses face paints and makeup designed especially for the skin. Some cheaper products, she says, contain ingredients known to cause irritation to the skin.
“Especially at that age, (children's) skin is very sensitive and you don’t know what is in those paints,” he warns.
Tampa dermatologist Dr. Seth Forman agrees, and has seen the effects first hand.
“The first thing is they’ll start to get a little bit itchy,” said Dr. Forman of an allergic reaction. “One of the main ingredients of these face paints in propylene glycol. It's one of the most common allergens known to humans.”
Dr. Forman recommends parents check ingredients on the label and never use products not specifically intended for the skin, like acrylic paint, spray paint, crazy glue or permanent marker. “I’ve seen children come in with an allergic reaction to certain paints and glues that they’ve used.”
Parent Alicia Smith plans to be extra cautious after her daughters had a reaction to face paint used during cheerleading earlier in the year.
“It gets rashy, kind of scaly on their eye lids,” said Smith of her daughters' sensitive skin.
She’s hopeful to avoid any scary skin surprises this Halloween by checking the ingredients.
“I just want them to be protected and not have any pain or itching or anything like that.”