How germy is your makeup?
Here’s your weekly dose of yuck: There’s a good chance the mascara you’re using right now is laced with infection-causing bacteria! Grossed out? I know I am.
According to a new study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers from two Brazilian universities tested 40 mascara samples from real women and found that 79 percent were contaminated with staph bacteria. Ew!
Laura Tedesco of Women’s Health Magazine explains that the moist, dark environment inside a tube of mascara is an ideal breeding ground for nasty bacteria. And hey, did you know mascara should only be used within (a measly) three months? That means there’s a high chance you’re using your favorite lash-extender past its prime and applying a germ-infested coat to your lashes.
In fact, the study found 86 percent of women tested admitted to using expired mascara. If you refuse to throw away a half-used tube, Tedesco warns mascara that’s older than three months can increase your risk of pink eye and other inflammatory conditions.
“[Makeup products] for the eye area merit special attention because of the proximity and contact with this region, and thus, the higher probability of causing irritation or, if the product is contaminated, ophthalmic infections,” say study authors.
So how can you keep your eyes healthy? For starters, don’t ever share eye makeup with your friends. Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., a germs expert and assistant professor of public health at the University of Arizona, recommends ladies stash their makeup where gal pals will least expect it. Instead of stashing it in your bathroom, try a bedroom drawer where bacterial growth is less conducive. Also, since cosmetic companies also aren’t required to print expiration dates, Reynolds suggests setting yourself a reminder in your phone to toss your mascara thee months after you open it.
But wait, there’s more: The study found mascara isn’t your only problem, ladies. Women tested also reported using eye pencils, lipsticks or lip glosses, eye shadows, face powders, foundations, and concealers past their expiration dates.
To read the rest of Reynolds’ clean makeup tips, check out at WomensHealthMag.com.