Halloween weekend is finally here, which means you’re likely gearing up for Halloween parties or trick-or-treating with the kiddos. While dressing up in costumes can be quite fun, some get-ups can really irritate your skin.

Here are 3 costume tips to prevent trick-or-treating from turning into scratch-and-retreating.

1. Be Careful With Old Costumes: If you’re planning to dust off that old costume from the garage or attic, you may want to think twice – it may have collected dust and mites that are highly allergenic. If you or your child have asthma or eczema, you should be especially careful with old costumes as the dust may cause wheezing or a full-body rash.

But hey, we’re all about the 3 Rs, so if you want to reuse that old costume and it IS washable, just wash it before wearing it. If your costume is NOT washable, strap on a dust mask, take it outside and dust it off thoroughly. If you or your child are particularly prone to allergies, you may want to invest in a new costume or stick with ones you can wash before wearing.

2. Choose Costume Jewelry Wisely: Costume jewelry can cause skin allergies and irritation known as contact dermatitis. The most common culprit for this is an allergy to nickel. Earrings, necklaces, armbands, metal belts, chains, or other metal costume accessories that contain nickel can trigger an intensely itchy, irritating, and painful skin reaction if you are allergic. It may be best to steer clear of costume jewelry if you have a nickel allergy, eczema, or dry and irritated skin.

If you want to test the metals on your costume for nickel, the dimethylglyoxime test appears to be relatively accurate for detecting nickel and is available commercially. Another trick is to coat your metal jewelry with clear nail polish. This may work well for armbands, earrings, or belt buckles, but may not be practical for necklaces or chains.

If you have a nickel allergy, it’s better to ditch the costume jewelry and find other ways to shine.

3. Avoid Irritating Makeup: Makeup is an important part of many costumes. Unfortunately, some fabulous costume makeup can also leave you with a not so fabulous rash. If you, or your child, have sensitive skin that’s prone to eczema, it’s better to stay away from makeup that includes fragrance, fragrance mixes, or formaldehyde-releasing agents. Approximately 20% of cosmetics and personal skin products contain a formaldehyde releaser, so read the labels before you buy your Halloween makeup. A few formaldehyde-releasing ingredients to watch out for are Imidazolidinyl urea, MDM hydantoin, and quaternium-15.

With these skin tips in mind, you and your family are primed to ditch the costume itch and enjoy a happy Halloween!

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