€12k damages over lipstick allergy

A six-year-old boy who developed an allergic reaction to his mother’s lipstick has been awarded €12,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister Maria Watson, counsel for the child, who is not being identified to avoid peer bullying, told the circuit court president, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, that when he was only three his mother painted the first initial of his name on his forehead with her lipstick.

Ms Watson said the letter remained on the child’s forehead for about two hours before his mother attempted to wash it off and was unable to do so. She found it had caused a mark and injury to her son’s skin.

Counsel, who appeared with Moloney Solicitors for the boy, said that in March 2015 the child had been playing with his mother’s make-up bag when she had joined the play and put the mark on his forehead.

Ms Watson said the mother had found it very difficult to remove the No 507 “Relentless Rouge” long-lasting lipstick and had cleaned the area with Silcox’s base cleaner. Over the following 48 hours the area had become red, swollen, and blistered.

She told the court that the blistering rash persisted for about a week but although this had settled it had left a well-defined area of discolouration corresponding with the location of the lipstick.

Ms Watson said the child’s mother had brought her son to a consultant dermatologist at the Blackrock Clinic who had advised her that the area of erythema on the forehead would gradually improve. A final review in July 2017 revealed no sign of the mark.

The boy, through his mother, had sued L’Oreal (UK) Limited, which has its registered office at Hammersmith Rd, London, and which entered a full defence to the claim.

L’Oreal stated the product had not been defective, was of merchantable quality and was fit for intended purpose which was for use as a lipstick.

Ms Watson told the court that L’Oreal had claimed it was not negligent or guilty of breach of duty and the boy’s mother had not used the product for the purpose for which it had been sold or intended.

In its defence L’Oreal had claimed the injuries had been caused by an acute allergic reaction which was not reasonably foreseeable from the defendant’s perspective.

She said a settlement offer of €12,000 had been offered to the boy and she was recommending that the court approve and rule it as appropriate.

Judge Groarke, approving the settlement, said a medical report had related the lipstick to the boy’s injury.


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