Paris woman who had severe allergic reaction to lip gloss tells her story

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PARIS, Tex. -- A woman was hospitalized in critical condition for five days simply because she tried on a lip gloss this summer. She told her story to our Stephanie Brletic.

Gladys Wilkie tells us she's never had any problems with cosmetics before, but when she tried on a brand new lip gloss she bought this summer, she immediately had a severe allergic reaction.

She shared her story with KXII-TV, and warns others to be cautious.

Wilkie spent July 16, 2008, helping clients at House Jewelry and preparing for her 35th birthday the next day, but everything changed when she bought a new Maybelline shine seduction glossy lip color.

Within 45 seconds of applying the product, she had a severe allergic reaction.

"Thank God the paramedics were where they were. They said if they'd been anywhere else that it would've been too late."

Wilkie says the product didn't taste right, so she wiped some of it off. She says her throat then began to close.

"To think that I tried on some lip gloss, and I knew that I was dying."

She spent the next five days in the hospital, two of those in intensive care.

Wilkie's mother says she will never forget the day her daughter woke up after the experience.

"That was probably one of the happiest days of my life, and knowing that I did not lose her, because all the time she was on the ventilator and asleep. I couldn't talk to her. I couldn't ask her what was going on, what was happening and I was so afraid of losing her."

Wilkie says she's afraid of having another horrible experience and being unable to receive medical attention, so she doesn't travel. But she says her story is important to tell.

"I want this to not happen to anybody else. You know, I imagine somebody putting that on and maybe kissing their infant child, or a girlfriend kissing her boyfriend who has a reaction to that."

Attorney John Ginn is handling Wilkie's case. He says the lip gloss will be analyzed to determine the exact cause.

Ginn says Wilkie is allergic to bee stings, and the product contains artificial bees wax.

"When you have a reaction that is that severe, we think and believe that Maybelline should be on notice that they have a responsibility to warn the public that that possibility exists even if it is a very small percentage of the population."

Maybelline issued a statement about the situation, saying the company adheres to rigorous standards, meeting all FDA regulations as well as all European regulations, continuing to say the lip gloss Wilkie used has artificial beeswax, and it could not trigger a reaction in someone with an allergy to bees.

The company says they sell millions of lipsticks per year and have not received any other complaints.

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