Pic: teen385.com
Pic: teen385.com

London: The vast majority of in-use make-up products such as beauty blenders, mascara and lip gloss may be contaminated with potentially life-threatening superbugs, including E. coli and Staphylococci, according to a study. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, shows that make-up products are contaminated with potentially deadly bacteria because most are not being cleaned and are used far beyond their expiry dates.

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, said the researchers from Aston University in the UK.

This risk is amplified in people with a weak immune system, who are more likely to contract infections from opportunistic bacteria, they 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 faecal contamination — breeding on the products we tested,” said Amreen Bashir, who co-led the study.

“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,” Bashir said in a statement.

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 per cent) not having ever been cleaned the researchers said. This was despite more than two thirds (64 per cent) of beauty blenders being dropped on the floor at some point during use, they said.

The study is the first to look at beauty blender products — hugely popular make-up sponges used to blend foundation and contouring on the face, the researchers said. Often endorsed by celebrities, these sponges are estimated to have sold over 6.5 million worldwide, according to the researchers.

—PTI

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