Face painting is fun but is your face paint safe?

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Popularity of face painting gives rise to surge of many face painting products in the market today. They come from very expensive professional paints to cheaper do-it-yourself face paints. But do you know that price should not be the ultimate criteria in selecting face paint products?  Studies have shown that even products labeled as non-toxic is not really safe. In fact, consumers shouldn’t be relying much on those marketing jargon as they are only meant to attract buyers. So what should consumers be looking for?

Here is a list of things consumers should consider when choosing face paint products

  • First and the most important, do not get confused with craft paints and face or body paints. They are different. Craft paints are used for normal artworks, on plastics, woods, papers and glasses. Craft paints (acrylic paints) contain chemical that is harmful to skin in prolong exposure.  Although they are safe when get in contact with skin in small amount, they are not meant to be painted on skin directly. Professional artists know this but beginners should keep this in mind, especially those still experimenting with different brands.
  • Look for product that is FDA Approved. This means that the product was checked by authority and passed the criteria of safety. FDA mainly checks if the product contains dangerous metals such lead, and compliant with FDA Approved Color Additives. Look out for this label not only on the paint you are buying but also on glitters and paint remover.
  • Do not assume that products labeled NON-TOXIC is safe for face painting. Non-toxic simply means that it is not a poisonous substance. It is not free of toxic chemicals but rather, the amount is safe enough to be used in humans. That is, you can touch it with hands without causing any reaction. Check the ingredients for harmful chemicals like parabens,  formaldehyde, carmine, bismuth and talc.
  • Oil-based or water-based is just a matter of preference. Water-based, also called water-activated paints, are lighter to carry on skin than oil-based paints. But water-based paints don’t last very long and comes off easily with sweat. Oil based however, maybe a little tougher to remove compared to water-based. When deciding which type of paint, consider the person you will paint it to. Water-based paint is a better choice for kids.
  • There is also an alcohol-based paint. This is the most preferred choice of body paint artists as it last longer and has a better finish. But this type of paint is not recommended for face painting.
  • Unfortunately. there are things that we wont know unless we start using the product. Allergic reaction is one of them. Being labeled as Hypoallergenic and cosmetologist-tested does not guarantee it wont cause an allergic reaction. That is because some people are more sensitive than the other. Hypoallergenic and cosmetologist-tested simply means that it is safe for majority of people. What we can do is to always check for signs of skin reaction. It usually starts with itchiness or redness of affected area. If present, remove the face paint immediately.

Is homemade paint safe? Well, it depends on how it was prepared. Homemade paint normally is made of flour, salt and coloring. If food color is used then that would be definitely safe.

Safety of face painting is a responsibility of both artists and clients. Artists should be very mindful of the products they are using. Likewise, clients should made it a point to ask about the paints that will be used on them.

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