The Scary Thing a Popular Lipstick Did to One Woman

For most of us, a bad lipstick experience usually means the color bled, got on our teeth, faded too quickly, or simply, didn’t look good with our skin tone.

For one woman, however, a bad lipstick experience landed her in the emergency room with a potentially life-threatening condition.

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Florida resident Lily Cleopatra Maurice claimed that after using a new lipstick from CoverGirl Queen Collection, her lip swelled to such frightening proportions that she started to choke and had trouble breathing. She posted the scary pictures on Facebook saying that she “could’ve died in her sleep” from “a fatal lipstick reaction.” Take a look at the photos below.

These days, allergic reactions to cosmetics products seem to pop up all the time on social media. From hair dye that blew up one woman’s face to deodorant-caused under-arm burns, social media is full of warning alarms over these nasty product side effects. But what do the experts think?

“This lipstick reaction is relatively rare condition called angioedema [an allergic reaction that leads to rapid swelling around the face, mouth and throat],” says Washington, D.C. dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD. “It is not common to happen from a product, but when it does it’s dramatic. There are many ingredients in cosmetics including preservatives, fragrances and dyes that can cause an allergic reaction.”

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We asked cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos to take a look at the ingredient list. “The ingredients in CoverGirl's Queen lipstick are all fairly common and safe ingredients used in cosmetics. Most often, fragrance is the source of an allergic reaction. Fragrances, even natural ones, are complex mixtures of chemicals. Due to regulations, there are 26 potential allergens like linalool or d-limonene that need to be listed on a cosmetic ingredient statement. But it appears that CoverGirl has taken care to select a fragrance that does not contain any of those 26 components.”

“The rule of thumb is if you use a product and you feel itchy or tingly or “strange” on the area, be careful using it again,” says Dr. Tanzi.  “It could be an allergy developing and the next time you use the product the reaction could be much worse.”

“It's important to know that allergic reactions are often specific to the individual,” adds Dobos. “What may be an allergen or one person can be totally harmless for another, so this may be a unique case. A careful diagnostic work up should be done to  to determine the source of the allergic reaction.”