New study finds 9 out of 10 beauty products contain potentially-deadly superbugs
Monday, 2nd December 2019, 12:01 am
Make-up bags are packed full of superbugs and pose a major health threat to the nation, a new study finds.
Millions of people in the UK are at are risk of skin infections, blood poisoning – and potentially even death – from their makeup bags, with beauty blenders posing a particular threat, researchers say.
Researchers found antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ such as E.coli and Staphylococci in more than nine in ten make-up products such, mascara, lip gloss and beauty blenders.
The contamination occurs because most the products aren’t being cleaning and are being used well beyond their expiry dates, according to the study.
The bacteria can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to conjunctivitis if used near eyes, mouth or cuts or grazes.
Meanwhile for people who are already sick, or have an impaired immune system – such as those with HIV – the bugs could potentially be fatal, researchers said.
“Consumers’ poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up is very worrying when you consider that we that we found bacteria such as E.coli breeding on the products we tested,” said Amreen Bashir, of Aston University.
Sponges used to apply skin foundation products, known as beauty blenders, are a particularly popular breeding ground for superbugs within the make-up bag because they are often left damp after use, the research found.
Some 93 per cent of the beauty blenders analysed had never been cleaned, despite two-thirds of them being dropped on the floor while being used at some point.
“Consumers’ poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up is very worrying,”
“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,” she added.
The study is published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.
People unaware of risk
The researchers say the findings reveal that consumers are unwittingly putting themselves at risk, and that manufacturers and regulatory bodies should do more to protect their customers by making expiry dates and cleaning requirements more prominent on packaging.
EU guidance holds make-up brands to strict hygiene standards of manufacture and states that E.coli in particular should not be found in any concentration in new cosmetic products. However, there is currently limited consumer protection around the risks of contaminating products while in use.
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 US – for example – where there are no regulatory requirements to put expiry dates on make-up packaging at all.