On the same day, Rachel McLaughlin, an 18-year-old from Northern Ireland, was hospitalized after using her friend's brand new fake Kylie Lip Kit gloss, according to her sister Bronagh McLaughlin, 21, who posted a PSA about the incident on Facebook:
In the post, Bronagh shares two photos of Rachel's lips, which appear severely swollen and blistered – two classic signs of an allergic reaction, according to New Jersey-based allergist Neeta Ogden, MD, spokesperson for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (She did not treat Rachel.)
Bronagh told Cosmopolitan.com her sister first applied the lip product at 8pm on a Friday night out, and continued to reapply it until midnight. When she noticed her lips swelling, she came home and removed the product with her regular facial cleanser and toner.
"There's nothing else that could of provoked the reaction," Bronagh says, holding the fake Kylie Jenner Lip Kit responsible for the symptoms that continued to worsen.
When Rachel woke up on Saturday morning, her face and lips were even more swollen, and she felt her throat closing. "I lost all feeling round the bottom of my face and my lips continued to grow bigger from when I first saw them," Rachel told Belfast Live, adding that she couldn't breath and later learned she had high blood pressure, too. (Rachel declined to comment.)
Rachel went to Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital on Saturday morning, Bronagh confirms, where she was given a topical antibiotic cream to avoid infection of the wounds and an antihistamine, the medication often used to treat allergy symptoms such as swelling of nasal passages, according to MedlinePlus. "She's just really upset about it," Bronagh told Belfast Live. "Her lips are completely gooey and blistering."
Rachel's friend purchased the counterfeit Kylie product on a Facebook site that has since been removed, according to Bronagh. She allegedly paid â‚¤3, or about $4.22, while authentic Kylie Lip Kits cost $29.
Bronagh says her sister's lip swelling has since gone down; as of Thursday, her only remaining symptom is blistering inside the mouth.
To avoid suffering from a similar reaction, Dr. Ogden says it's smart to spot-test new cosmetic products on the inside of your forearm, where the skin can be closely monitored, before facial application. Apply a pea-sized amount, then look out for itching, redness, or hives, which can develop up to 96 hours after exposure, according to Dr. Ogden.
If you opt to go straight for the face and notice tingling, itchiness, or swelling of the lips or eyelids, remove the product immediately. So long as there's no swelling in your tongue or throat, which can cause trouble breathing as a result of product inhalation or in response to anxiety, take an over-the-counter antihistamine and/or apply an OTC steroid cream, Dr. Ogden suggests. If you have any respiratory symptoms, you could need an EpiPen or medical attention stat, so go to the emergency room, urgent care, or your primary care physician if they are available to see you immediately, Dr. Ogden says. Then bring the product that provoked you to an allergist, who can help you figure out exactly which ingredients you're sensitive to.
As for protecting yourself from counterfeit products, which could contain unregulated ingredients, Dr. Ogden agrees with the advice in Bronagh's Facebook PSA: "DO NOT BUY THEM!!!!!!!!"
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