WARNING: Bacteria, ‘superbugs’ could be hiding in your makeup bags, study finds

WARNING: Bacteria, superbugs could be hiding in your makeup bags, study finds

ATLANTA — If you wear makeup, even if it’s only on special occasions, we have an important warning. A new study found bacteria and “superbugs” hiding in many cosmetic bags.

The study found beauty blenders used to apply foundation were the worst offenders. The problem is many people aren’t washing them properly or often enough.

“Not often enough, probably,” Rachel Luckcuck said.

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“Once every two months. I should probably do it more,” Kenya Jones said.

“Once a month, once every two months. Brushes not as much. My beauty blender, I definitely try to wash it more just because it does get kind of gross,” Katie Neil said.

A lot of women don’t wash their makeup brushes and sponges as often as they should. A new study tested used mascara, eye liner, lipstick, lip gloss and beauty blenders that came from women’s actual makeup bags.

The results were disturbing. “And to find things that should be in your poo in your makeup, nobody really expects that,” said Armeen Bashir, Ph.D., a lecturer at Aston University in the United Kingdom.

She said beauty blenders were the worst offenders followed by lip gloss. The study found 70 to 90 percent of the used products were contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli.

“You’re putting yourself at risk is what you’re doing,” said Dr. Rutledge Forney, an Atlanta dermatologist.

She said applying contaminated makeup onto a pimple or scratch on one’s face can cause an infection, especially around the eyes or nose.

“It’s a pain in the neck to have to get a facial infection from your own products,” Forney said.

The good news is these infections are treatable and preventable.

“And it’s quite shocking,” said Mimi Johnson, the owner of The Glamatory in Smyrna.

She is a makeup artist with 13 years of experience. When she gives makeup lessons, she tells clients to bring their current kits.

“Many of them are using brushes that I can physically see that aren’t clean and I can physically see the breakouts and the irritation on their skin,” Johnson said.

She said it all starts with proper skincare. Women should make sure to take off their makeup at the end of the day and wash their face before applying it. Don’t use expired or old makeup like mascara.

“A lot of people will think it’s clunky so, or clumpy, then I like to use it like that. No, you could be spreading or having eye infections,” Johnson said.

She recommends changing out mascara every two or three months. She said foundation should be good for a year or two.

People also need to make sure their tools are clean, by washing them once a week with makeup remover or warm, soapy water.

“But if you are using those blender sponges, you definitely have to thoroughly you know when you squeeze them, you can see the product coming out. It needs to be clear,” Johnson said.

Forney said after washing beauty blenders and brushes, it’s important to make sure they are completely dry.

“So, if you’re in a hurry, take that beauty blender and put your hair dryer on it. Get it dry. Same thing with your brushes before you use it again,” she said.

If a beauty blender is dropped on the bathroom floor, “You might want to get another one and use it and wash that one that hit the floor,” Forney recommended.

Doctors also recommend always washing one’s hands before applying makeup and never sharing makeup, because that can lead to contamination.