Market America | SHOP.COM’s Five Things You Don’t Know About Makeup Safety That Should Scare You

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Unfortunately, with a lot, if not most cosmetics, we can often risk our health if we are not aware of the dangers that come with unsanitary products. From blindness to blood poisoning (yes, you read that correctly!), unsanitary cosmetics can cause an array of health problems.

Market America | SHOP.COM’s Five Things You Don’t Know About Makeup Safety That Should Scare You

“Safety” isn’t really a word we hear when discussing cosmetics, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. For something we use so regularly that is applied to some of our most precious features, you would think we should be taking all precautions necessary to prevent harm. That’s why we wanted to have a little chat about the basics of cosmetic safety and how to implement it into your routine.
The word “cosmetics” covers a lot of things, as found in the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act, which defines them as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body ... for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.”

Unfortunately, with a lot, if not most cosmetics, we can often risk our health if we are not aware of the dangers that come with unsanitary products. From blindness to blood poisoning (yes, you read that correctly!), unsanitary cosmetics can cause an array of health problems. In one study from October 2019, 467 products (lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliners, mascara and beauty blenders) were donated for testing. The study showed that 70–90% of all used cosmetics were contaminated with bacteria. Of the products, lip gloss and beauty blenders were found to have the highest amount of bacteria, including types such as Staphylococcus aureus(the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections) as well as Escherichia coli (which causes bacterial infections). From the study, Dr. Amreen Bashir also informed us on how of the 70% to 90% of cosmetic products, beauty blenders contained the highest total microbial load and more than 25% carried faecal contaminants. Yes, you read that correctly — faecal contaminants on products you are applying to your face; just let that sink in. With that, they advised to avoid storing and using makeup in the bathroom. No matter how clean you keep your bathroom, its best to stop keeping things we regularly apply to our face near the toilets.

So, that’s a lot of ground to cover, but let’s make it simple! Market America | SHOP.COM is going to break down five easy steps that you can take to ensure all of your cosmetics are safe to use.

1.    Assess: Start by going through all of your makeup, hair products, skincare products, dental products, and body products and check the expiration date, as well as quality. It sounds like a lot, so if you’re short on time, just go through one category a week. Not all products will have set expiration dates on them because the government does not actually require them, so if you run into that, worry not. Check out the FDA’s recommendations regarding shelf life of different products. A few other ways you can determine your product’s quality is based on where you’ve stored it. For example, if you didn’t notice that your face moisturizer should be stored in a cool and dry place and it’s been sitting on a shelf in the sun for a while, you might want to consider getting a new one.

2.    Label: A great habit to get into is labeling your products with the date on which you opened it. This way, you will have a better idea of how long you’ve had the product and how that may affect its quality. If you’re not sure when you purchased a product or how old it is, the FDA recommends disposing of it if there are changes in color or smell. Labeling also allows you to be more mindful in your use of products. For example, if you’re a product lover and always have multiple new products you’re trying, make sure to use the ones that have been opened the longest because they now have a shorter shelf life than the ones you haven’t opened or just recently opened. It may sound like a hassle to label each product, but it can give you more confidence that what you’re applying to your body is safe. It’s also important to remember that labeling will not prevent all safety hazards, such as dropping a product like your mascara on the bathroom floor. In scenarios such as those, we encourage you to at least clean, if not replace the item prior to use and if not, apply at your own risk. The FDA also discusses different ways consumers can protect their products from microbial contamination — those little germs, bacteria and fungi that can make their way into your cosmetics; yuck!

3.    Clean: While most of our cosmetics like body wash, shampoo and face wash require little up keeping, it’s important to remember our makeup. If you use any brushes, sponges or other applicators to apply your makeup, it is essential to clean them. When you neglect cleaning them, you leave old makeup product residue on them, letting bacteria grow and the next thing you know you’re breaking out because you haven’t washed your makeup brushes in a couple of months. The American Academy of Dermatology breaks down why and how to clean your makeup brushes. They recommend doing it every seven to ten days, and it only takes seven quick and easy steps. All you need is a bowl, some shampoo, baby shampoo or gentle facewash, lukewarm water, a towel and your brushes, and you’ll no longer have to worry about the skin and safety concerns that come with dirty makeup brushes. If you’re looking for a safe soap to clean your brushes with, check out the DNA Miracles® Natural Foaming Wash & Shampoo that is both gentle and nontoxic. From clogging up your pores with dirt and debris to getting pink eye or even a staph infection, dirty makeup brushes have many risks, so, get to washing!

4.    Don’t share your products: While many of us are taught to share what we have from a young age, sharing makeup with anyone, including your BFF, can lead to serious infections, especially eye products. Another person’s bacteria and germs could be hazardous, especially when applying products to the face. You also never know how often others clean and take care of their makeup products, such as brushes and applicators. Don’t forget all of those retail store “testers.” As various stores reopen, the risk of contamination can be far worse, as there is no way to know who and how many others are using their fingers to apply the latest shades to their own face. From cold sores and warts to eye infections and staph infections, sharing your products can create unnecessary risks. It’s also important to avoid buying used makeup or cosmetic products because even if it’s claimed to have never been opened, when it comes to sharing, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5.    Replace: Last but not least, replace your products. If you’re not sure the last time you replaced your mascara, it’s probably time to. If your eyeshadow is looking a little rough or aged, consider getting a new one. If you’re questioning the quality of your cosmetics, it’s better to stay safe and replace! From acne and skin irritation to staph and blood poisoning, we’ve brought to your attention the risks you should be aware of regarding your cosmetics. Plus, who doesn’t love a good excuse for a mini shopping spree? Check out these beauty products if you’re considering replacing some of your own!

Now, with all of that in mind, we hope you can take steps moving forward to ensure your cosmetics are safe and up to date.

Market America | SHOP.COM is a global product brokerage and internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing and is the creator of The Shopping Annuity®.

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