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How Safe Are Your Make-Up Products from Superbugs?

 width= The press have been feeding the fear once more! And what must we all be fearful of now? Well, the make-up products lying around in our bathrooms, our bedrooms and of course at the bottom of our handbags! According to a new study, our make-up bags are packed full of super bugs, posing a major threat to our health. We are at risk of skin infections, blood poisoning and potentially even death from these make-up products. And top of the list are beauty blenders.

Why are we at risk?

Researchers have found that antibiotic-resistant super bugs (such as E.coli and staphylococci) occur in some nine out of ten make-up products such as mascara, lip gloss and beauty blenders. And the reason for this contamination is because most of the products are not kept clean and are often used well beyond their expiry dates. The researchers point out that the bacteria being found can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to conjunctivitis (if used near the eyes and mouth, or cuts and grazes). One the researchers, Amreen Bashir of Ashton University, says: "Consumers' poor hygiene practices (when it comes to using make-up) is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli breeding on some of the products we tested."

Why sponges are particularly unsafe

Those sponges used to apply skin foundation products (and known as beauty blenders) are an especially likely breeding ground for super bugs when left in a make-up bag. This is because they are often left damp after use. In their research, they found 93% of beauty blenders had never been cleaned.

What do the researchers advise?

They say: "More needs to be done to help educate consumers - and the make-up industry as a whole - about the need to wash beauty blenders regularly and dry them thoroughly, as well as the risks of using make-up beyond its expiry date." Meanwhile, make-up brands are usually subject to strict hygiene standards of manufacture - and brand new products should be perfectly safe to use.

We share our own tips on keeping your make-up safe

  • Sharpen eyeliner or lip pencils a little bit before each use to remove the outer layer where bacteria have been dwelling since you last used them. You can also use rubbing alcohol or vinegar to clean your sharpener and remove any debris that can harbor bacteria.
  • Don’t hold on to any products that no longer have a lid - or any products where the ingredients have settled or separated.
  • You can wipe down a lip balm or lipstick regularly with a small piece of paper towel that has a drop of tea tree oil on it.
  • Keep the bag or drawer where you store your makeup clean by regularly vacuuming it out before wiping it down with some diluted tea tree oil or vinegar.
  • Very important to remember is that makeup products and brushes should never be shared. Different people have different strains of bacteria living on their bodies, and cross-contamination may introduce an unfamiliar strain that your particular immune system is unable fight off. The main risk with sharing items is passing on an infection such as viral conjunctivitis or pinkeye.
While for some, these bacteria might be completely harmless, it does depend on the strength of an individual’s immune system. A person’s resistance may vary from day-to-day as well — a strain that is usually harmless may cause illness when the person is run-down with a lowered immunity. Our own range of Simply Beauty products of course contain essential oils which, by their very nature, will stay pure and uncontaminated.    width=