The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned yesterday that certain cover-the-counter acne treatments could cause serious and even life-threatening reactions.

Proactiv, Neutrogena, MaxClarity, Oxy, Ambi, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear are all brands that have been linked to rare reactions. They include gels, toners, face washes, and scrubs. Acne products, such as the ones just named, that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicyclic acid have been linked to these side effects, although it is not determined for sure if it is these ingredients or a combination of ingredients that trigger these reactions. Reactions occurred within minutes up to a day after topical application.

While acne products list some common side effects, they do not list the more extreme side effects that occur, even thought they happen on rare occasion. Extreme side effects include: difficulty breathing, throat tightness, swelling of the eyes, face, lips, or tongue, hives, or itching. The FDA said that people should seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms occur.

“There is currently no mention of the possibility of these very severe allergic reactions on the product labels,” Dr. Mona Khurana, a medical officer at the FDA, said in a statement. “It’s important that consumers know about them, and that they know what to do if they occur.”

131 allergic reactions to these products were reported from 1969 and 2013, ranging from 11 to 78-years-old.  44% of cases left beauty-goers in the hospital, 40% suffering from severe allergic reactions (low blood pressure, fainting, shortness of breath, wheezing), but no deaths were reported. The FDA emphasized that these severe reactions are rare. Burning, dryness, redness, and itching are all common reactions, so make sure to test a small amount of acne treatment when using for the first time.

Do you use any of the products mentioned above? Have you ever had an allergic reaction to an acne treatment? What is your beauty routine to battle acne?

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