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Halloween face paint: The hidden dangers

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Halloween brings trick-or-treating, costumes, masks and of course, face painting. They're all part of the tradition.

But as fun and harmless as painting your face may seem, is it safe?

“It can be really harmful," says Dr. Kristine Romine, a board certified Dermatologist at Camelback Dermatology.

3 On Your Side wanted to ask her about a recent report that indicated that 10 out of 10 face paint samples tested positive for lead, and six of the 10 face paints contained nickel, cobalt or chromium.

And remember, this stuff is supposed to go on your face.

“This is the time of year where everyone just goes to the 99-cent store or some little shop to get their Halloween make-up and most of that is very exclusive. It could cause acne. It can contain toxic chemicals like lead and chromium and nickel that has really been shown to cause lots of issues, especially with children.” 

And Dr. Romine says even if you try to avoid some of these harsh chemicals, it's not easy.

“Those chemicals aren't always listed in the ingredient list," she says.

Dr. Romine says the chemicals can irritate the skin and cause rashes and even acne. And it can be even more harmful if a child gets the paint in his or her mouth or eyes.

“It can cause toxicity," she says. "They may notice abdominal pain and even vomiting in higher dosages.”

Instead of those face paints, Dr. Romine recommends some alternatives. “Even a thick, zinc oxide-based cream sometimes that we use for like diaper rash gives a nice thick coat of white and is extremely safe, actually healing.” 

Zinc Oxide?

“It's like A&D or Desitin," she says. "It's awesome!” 

And if you want something other than white paint, no problem. “If you want to add some color to the zinc oxide base, like food coloring, that's what I would do for my children.” 

Halloween may only be once a year but experts like Dr. Romine wonders, why put something on your face that's harmful when you have options?

“It's so important to take care of your skin throughout your whole entire lifetime”. 

Copyright 2015 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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