Is face painting dangerous?

Face painting is at present very popular at kid’s parties. It’s a great way to enhance a party mood. Children love to get themselves decorated as their superheroes and Disney characters, and many more.
Before appointing a face painter at your party there are a few things to be queried to safeguard health and hygiene. The questions essential to ask a professional face painter are:

  • If he carries a liability insurance
  • His rates
  • How many faces he can paint in an hour.
  • Hygiene he maintains while painting, and most important.
  • The kind of face paint he uses.

The quality of face paint used is very important, as those that are not approved by the FDA, is very hazardous for health in children.

Unapproved face paint, and craft colors can contain lead and other chemicals like nickel, cobalt and chromium which can harm their skin for lifelong.

Experts say, that there is “no safe level for lead” exposure for children. Even the minimum amount of it can be harmful and can impair a child.

The dangers of face painting thus are:

Lead poisoning – a kind of metal poisoning that can affect nervous system, reproductive system, digestive system, heart, bones and kidneys .It can causes diseases like anemia, abdominal pain, headaches, behavior disorders, learning disorders and in serious cases, seizures, coma and death.

Contact Dermatitis – chemicals like nickel, cobalt and chromium in face paints can cause severe contact dermatitis in children. These chemicals act as allergens. Contact dermatitis is produced by external exposure of the skin to an allergen, systemically administered allergen reaches the skin through the circulatory system and thereby producing systemic contact dermatitis. Cobalt sensitivity can also cause asthma.

Apart from metal allergy and poisoning, bad hygiene maintenance while painting can also be harmful for the children

  • One-sponge-per application is a must
  • Frequent changes in water is required
  • Quick and thorough removal of the paint is essential

It should be kept in mind that most professional face painters would never use products found in craft stores. to an observant parent, it would be obvious when they see a professional setup vs. that of an amateur. A few blobs of paint on a paper plate, or tiny pots of paint that look like poster paints is one very clear sign of possibly sub-graded products, and an artist who seems dubious about his product safety is definitely a good reason to be avoided.


Parents need to follow all directions, so that they can enjoy festivities with their children without unnecessary worry.


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