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New study reveals superbugs might be lurking in your make-up

New study reveals superbugs might be lurking in your make-up

Read this before you reach for you apply that expired mascara or lip gloss.

New study reveals superbugs might be lurking in your make-up

New research from Aston University in Birmingham has revealed that a handful of superbugs could be lurking in your make-up bag. The study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, found that commonplace in-use make-up products including beauty blenders, mascara and lip glosses are harbouring potentially deadly superbugs.

The new research, led by Dr Amreen Bashir and Professor Peter Lambert of Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences, examined at a total of 467 in-use make-up products including 96 lipsticks, 92 eyeliners, 93 mascaras, 107 lip glosses and 79 blender sponges.  

The research found that “70 to 90 per cent of all used products were contaminated with bacteria.” 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.

In order to understand why the products were harbouring harmful bacteria, the team involved conducted a questionnaire to study the make-up habits of the owners of the products that were examined. The researches found that the majority of products were not cleaned and were used far beyond their expiry dates. 

The study found that beauty blenders are the worst offenders as they are rarely cleaned.

The study is the first of its kind to look at beauty blender products. Shockingly, the team found that despite the blenders being relatively new, they were found to have the highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria. They also discovered that the vast majority (more than 90 per cent) had never been cleaned and more than 60 per cent had been dropped on the ground at some point. 

Researchers believe that manufactures and regulatory bodies need to do more to protect consumers including making expiry dates and cleaning requirements more visible on packaging. 

“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 faecal contamination — breeding on the products we tested,” Dr Bashir said.

“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,” he added. 

Here’s how to know when to throw out your old beauty products.

Are your make-up brushes overdue a good clean? Here’s how to get the job done.

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