Monday 21 August 2017

Your bacteria-ridden makeup could be the reason you keep getting sick

Image: Getty
Image: Getty
Gloved Hand Holding Petri Dish with Bacteria Culture
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

Your much-loved makeup bag is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

We're all tired of being told that we need to wash our makeup brushes weekly, but what about the makeup products themselves?

It turns out, your favourite bronzer, concealer and mascara could be homes to a colony of bacteria, resulting in several illnesses.

"The makeup will contain your natural flora from your face, which is kind of like a germ fingerprint," Susan Whittier, PhD, associate professor of clinical pathology and cell biology at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, told Buzzfeed Health.

Gloved Hand Holding Petri Dish with Bacteria Culture
Gloved Hand Holding Petri Dish with Bacteria Culture

"These include things like Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus viridans, and Micrococcus."

However, Whittier explained that pathogens, which are disease-causing micro-organisms, are what we should avoid. The presence of pathogens in makeup products can result in diseases and infections such as E. coli, strep and salmonella.

Considering that you may not clean each makeup product between uses or thoroughly wash your hands before touching them, not to mention sharing products with other people, this means that using the same products for an extended period of time can put you at risk of these health problems - and more.

"If you have an open cut or pimple, the dirty makeup could get in there and cause an infection like staph — or if it’s your eye, it can cause irritation or conjunctivitis [pink eye]," Whittier said.

"And viruses like the flu or a cold — or even the herpes simplex virus — can also survive on lipsticks for days to weeks thanks to the waxes and proteins in them.

"After three months, makeup will probably also have some fecal matter since it’s usually stored and used in the bathroom next to the toilet."

To prevent this from happening, spray your products with alcohol or wipe them with an alcohol wipe weekly or fortnightly, which will get rid of the bacteria without damaging the makeup.

Time to get cleaning!

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