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Cosmetics containing food allergens

Always check ingredients in products used on the skin, lips and hair. Food allergens may be present in make-up, skin care products, shampoos and conditioners.

Food allergens can even be present in lip products, as shown in the images. We have not heard of a case of someone reacting due to kissing someone whose lip product contains their allergen, but it is something to be aware of. While it is unlikely that someone will go into anaphylaxis from having the allergen on their skin, people can have hives, skin redness or a rash and feel itchy. We want to prevent even a mild allergic reaction.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) recommends avoiding skin products containing foods for infants, as this may sensitise the infant, who may then develop an allergy to that food. There is also some evidence that adults can develop allergies to foods after using skin products containing foods such as goats’ milk and oats.

The Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020 sets out the mandatory requirements for cosmetics ingredients labelling in Australia. The requirements are intended to reduce the risk of consumers unintentionally exposing themselves to ingredients causing allergic reactions. For further information we recommend you visit the following Product Safety Australia webpages:

Please note that the mandatory standard for ingredients labelling on cosmetics was last updated on 24 November 2020 to include additional labelling requirements for hand sanitiser.

Although allergy information is not mandatory on cosmetic products, suppliers can add value to their customer service by including such information and encouraging consumers to follow some simple tips when buying and using cosmetics:

  • Always check that the cosmetics you use have information on the ingredients.Contact the manufacturer if you are not sure.
  • Check that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients in the cosmetics you use. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns or if you’re not sure.
  • If you have an allergic reaction to a cosmetic product, stop using the product immediately and seek medical advice.