Is Your Makeup Giving You Migraines?

We’ve all heard the old adage that beauty is pain. But if your makeup is giving you migraines, it’s gone too far. When chatting with the founder of the natural skincare line Lather, Emilie Davidson Hoyt revealed that her experience with migraines was actually the driving force behind starting her company. Intrigued, we dug a little deeper into the migraines and cosmetics connection.

When we talked to Dr. Frank Lipman, Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, he was far less surprised by our questions than we had anticipated. “Fragrance can often be behind many adverse reactions to traditional beauty products, causing skin rashes, asthma, and even headaches,” Dr. Lipman says. “Fragrances are considered to be among the top five known allergens, with one in every 50 people suffering possible immune system damage, according to the EU’s Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products.”

Turns out headaches and migraines brought on by synthetic fragrances are actually a type of allergic reaction. “Having a sensitivity to fragrance is similar to any other type of allergic reaction,” Dr. Lipman says. “An allergic reaction will depend more on the chemicals being used to create the fragrance and less about what the product is made to smell like.” So know what to add to your watch list.

If you think your makeup or perfume could be the root of your migraines, get in the habit of reading of the ingredients list and choose products that clearly state what’s scenting it. “On the label, “fragrance” should be followed by a list of ingredients in parentheses,” Dr. Lipman says. “Look for a product that uses essential oils instead of “fragrance (parfum)” and choose products with no added fragrance.” Dr. Lipman also suggested using the Skin Deep advanced search to find products that are fragrance-free.


Do any of your favorite products smell too good to be true?