Can makeup be harmful for the skin?

April 13, 2012

Can makeup be harmful for the skin?
Can makeup be harmful for the skin?

For most women, makeup is a daily part of life – like brushing your teeth and styling your hair. Like plastic surgery, it can be used to improve appearance and bring out a person’s best features. But a teen from South Korea took her love of cosmetics to a whole new level last year. According to The Daily Chili, 20-year-old Bae Dal-mi refused to remove her makeup for more than two years.

"I wanted to look perfect at all times, I even slept with the makeup on," Bae Dal-mi told a South Korean television show, according to the website.

Her concerned mother convinced her to go on TV to address her problem. When she finally removed the makeup, a team of dermatologists evaluated her skin and discovered that the products had caused her skin to age quicker than usual. The website reports that her skin appeared to be two times older than her actual age.

Experts say that cosmetics are generally not harmful to the skin and have gone through rigorous testing. Though, it is recommended that makeup be removed every night before going to sleep and suggest giving the skin a break from makeup, when possible.

In a Daily UK article, some doctors warned of developing damaging skin conditions, like eczema and dermatitis following a lifetime of wearing heavy makeup and product on the skin.

One doctor went as far as to say, “The best way to retain this moisture and the skin’s defenses is not to use cosmetics every day, some of which contain strong chemicals such as preservatives which strip away the natural defenses and dry out the skin.’

Discovery Health reports that makeup can clog pores and prevent sebum, a waxy lubricant that moisturizes the skin, to do its job – this how pimples can form and premature aging can occur. Makeup around the eyes could cause contact irritation to a very sensitive area and may potentially lead to an infection.

Choosing a product made from quality ingredients and checking to see that it’s non-comedogenic is important to ensuring skin health. In fact, many cosmetic products contain sunscreen which helps protect the skin from sun damage.

Some women with skin allergies or would like to forgo the hassle of applying layers of makeup everyday have chosen “permanent makeup” or micropigmentation. Common areas of application are on the lips, eyebrows, upper eyelid and lower lash line. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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