December 4, 2019
It turns out that looks can, indeed, kill: The vast majority of in-use makeup products—among them, beauty blenders, mascara, and lip gloss—are contaminated with potentially life threatening superbugs, research conducted at Aston University in Birmingham, England, has revealed..
Make-up products used every day by millions of people are contaminated with potentially deadly bugs, such as E.coli and Staphylococci, because most are not being cleaned and are used far beyond their expiration dates, new research led by Dr. Amreen Bashir and Professor Peter Lambert of Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences has found.
Bacteria that can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to blood poisoning if used near eyes, mouth, or cuts or grazes, were found in nine out of ten of the products. This risk is amplified in immunocompromised people who are more likely to contract infections from opportunistic bacteria.
The relatively new beauty blenders — sponges used to apply skin foundation products—were found to have the highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria; with the vast majority (93%) never having been cleaned, despite more than two-thirds (64%) being dropped on the floor at some point during use.
.Often endorsed by celebrities, these sponges are estimated to have sold over 6.5 million times worldwide. The Aston researchers found these products are particularly susceptible to contamination as they are often left damp after use, which creates an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
Post-Brexit, UK consumers could be at even greater risk as they will no longer be protected by EU regulations and could find themselves purchasing more beauty products from the United States, for example, where there are no regulatory requirements to put expiration dates on make-up packaging at all.
Commenting on the new findings, Dr. Bashir said: “Consumers’ poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up, especially beauty blenders, is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli—which is linked with fecal contamination—breeding on the products we tested.
“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 makeup beyond its expiry date.”
The study results have been published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology .
Research contact: @AstonUniversity