Parents warned about dangers of cheap children's make-up

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

Parents are being warned about the dangers of allowing their children to use discount store make-up kits after a child was hospitalised in the US with a severe allergic reaction to the cosmetics.

Kylie and Tony Cravens took to Facebook to issue a warning after their daughter Lydia, 3, suffered a severe reaction that caused her eyelids to blister and swell shut, and her face and body to develop a shocking rash.

Lydia spent several days in hospital recovering from her week-long ordeal.

The make-up kit in question.
The make-up kit in question. 

The couple said their daughter became ill soon after they bought her a child's make-up set. It was only afterwards they learned the make-up contained six chemicals that commonly caused allergic reactions. 

"Lydia, unfortunately, was one of those people allergic," the couple wrote.

"In 24 hours, our little girl went from 100 per cent healthy to having her eyes swollen and blistered shut with a rash all over her body," they wrote, adding cold packs had to be "applied every 30 minutes or so because her skin was burning".

"She was unable to eat much for days because of the blistering and cracking of her lips.

"Please be aware of what you are letting your babies have … especially kids' cosmetics … so this doesn't happen to your child."


Mr Cravens said it was heartbreaking to watch his little girl suffer during her ordeal, while Mrs Cravens told Love What Matters she would never have imagined something like this happening to her child.

She said she knows many parents who have purchased similar products for their children but urged greater vigilance.

"Please! Check ingredients thoroughly before purchasing," she said. 

The couple said they would be more cautious in the future and research ingredients in products.

Australian mum Natalia Michael said incidents such as this were far too common and was one of the reasons she started her own range of children's cosmetics.

Ms Michael said she started researching what was in the everyday products she used soon after she began experiencing a worsening of her childhood asthma and eczema a few years ago.

She said she was shocked to discover that many foods, cosmetics and cleaning products contained various chemicals even when they claimed to be "natural".

After her eldest daughter received a children's make-up kit for her birthday that contained chemicals, synthetic colours and even metals. She promptly threw in the bin and began making her own cosmetics for her daughter to play with.

What started out as a hobby soon grew into a business and No Nasties was born.

The business now offers a range of children's play make-up as well as face paints and hair products that are stocked in 300 stores in Australia and overseas.

Ms Michael says she is regularly contacted by parents whose children have suffered allergic reactions to make-up or face paint, but are able to use her products.

She says parents should steer clear of cheap products and should always test anything new on a small area of skin on their child's wrist or behind their ear.

She says while her products are definitely more expensive than others on the market, parents would be better to not let their children use anything at all than resort to cheap products that contain synthetic colours and scents, preservatives, known toxins and even carcinogens.

"They really don't need face paint or make-up. You are better to use nothing at all than to let your children use toxic ingredients," she says.

"Anything that goes on your child's skin goes straight into their blood stream."

Due to what she says are lax labelling laws in Australia, Ms Michael says it is up to parents to do their homework and examine the ingredients when buying products for their children.

She also suggested parents steer clear of products that contain the word "fragrance", unless specified.

"'Fragrance' can be used to mask all sorts of ingredients, so I generally steer clear of anything that does not stipulate 'natural fragrance' or an essential oil," she says. 

"So many products and companies use words such as 'natural', 'pure' and 'organic' and yet if you look closely, they may be made up of only a handful of natural or organic ingredients."