The majority of makeup products currently in use may contain dangerous superbugs, according to a new study out of Aston University. The products are varied and include everything from tubes of mascara and lip gloss to blenders like sponges. These superbugs may pose a particular risk to people who have compromised immune systems and/or small scratches or breaks in the skin on their face.
In-use makeup products refer to makeup that has been purchased and is being used by the recipient. An example would a tube of mascara that has been opened and applied to the eyelashes at least once; the same applies to things like lipstick that has been used, foundation, and more. Beauty blenders, meanwhile, refer to products used to apply certain makeup products, including sponges commonly used to blend foundation into the skin.
Researchers found that nine out of every 10 makeup products currently in use contain pathogens like Staphylococci and E. coli; some of these bugs could potentially be deadly if they were able to access the bloodstream through something like a scratch. Even in cases where they’re not life-threatening, the pathogens could cause other illnesses like skin infections, particularly if the makeup user has a compromised immune system.
The bacteria in these products is largely the result of using old makeup that is ‘far beyond’ their expiration dates, as well as products that aren’t being properly cleaned, according to the study. Beauty blenders had the highest concentration of possibly harmful bacteria; the researchers found that 93-percent had never been cleaned even though more than half of them had been drop on the floor during use.
The researchers note that while the EU requires expiration dates to be listed on makeup products, the United States doesn’t have similar regulations, meaning it is up to the manufacturer about whether they’ll make products with ‘use by’ dates. Consumers are advised to pay attention to expiration dates and to wash their beauty blenders after use.