How to Prevent Infections Caused by Makeup

Three Parts:Practicing Good HygieneUsing Cosmetics SafelyTreating An Infection If It Happens

If you want to prevent infections caused by makeup, it is important to maintain good hygiene and to practice safe cosmetic use strategies. These will greatly diminish your chances of developing an infection related to makeup use. If you do develop worrisome signs of an infection, it is important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Part 1
Practicing Good Hygiene

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    Wash your hands well prior to makeup use.[1] One of the keys to preventing infections correlated with makeup use is to wash your hands well before applying makeup. When you apply makeup, your hands will very likely come in contact with your face. Ensuring they are clean can help you avoid unnecessarily contaminating your face with germs.
    • Wash your hands for 15–30 seconds with soap and warm water.
    • Alternatively, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands prior to applying makeup.
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    Sanitize your makeup brushes.[2] You will most likely be using brushes to apply your foundation etc. Ideally, you would wash your makeup brushes after each use, using soap and warm water or baby shampoo. In reality, however, this is somewhat difficult to do on a daily basis. You can try spritzing your makeup brush with a brush cleaner after each use or, at the very least, wash your brushes every two weeks.[3] This will prevent the bacteria that is naturally present on your face from staying on the brush and multiplying.
    • Leave your brushes out to air day after washing them.
    • It is important that they dry completely, as a moist environment can further the growth of any germs that are present.
    • Always wash your brushes before using them on someone else.
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    Thoroughly clean other makeup equipment.[4] In addition to keeping your makeup brushes clean, you can sanitize powder palettes. Palettes such as those for eye shadow and blush can be touched repeatedly with makeup brushes because you can sanitize the tops of them with 99% alcohol rubs after each use. Therefore, if you are wanting to mix colors prior to application, you can do so on the tops of the powder palettes and subsequently clean these with alcohol rubs after each use.
    • You can also clean any metal makeup devices such as eyelash curlers with alcohol rubs, or by simply washing them with soap and warm water.
    • Keeping your makeup equipment clean is a key step in preventing infections caused by makeup.
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    Clean the surrounding area.[5] Since you will most likely be placing your makeup brushes and tools on the counter in between use, it is important that this area be clean as well in order to minimize your risk of infection. Use a cleaning product or an alcohol wipe at least once a week to keep the counters that you use for makeup application clean.
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    Store your cosmetics at the right temperature.[6] It is important to store your cosmetics in a place where they will not get too hot — specifically, where they can remain at a temperature below 85°F (29°C). This is because cosmetics exposed to the heat for too long (such as those inadvertently left in a hot car) may have a reduced effectiveness of the preservative ingredients. In other words, reusing cosmetics that have been exposed to the heat for prolonged periods of time carries a higher risk of infection.

Part 2
Using Cosmetics Safely

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    Change your cosmetics every few months.[7] Few people are aware of the risk of microbial (bacterial or viral) contamination of their cosmetics, which only gets worse with time. Consider your mascara — your eyelashes naturally have bacteria on them, so even after your first use of mascara, bacteria are being introduced into the mascara container when you put the brush in after use. Needless to say, the longer you have a particular cosmetic for, the more of a chance there is for bacteria to grow in there, heightening your risk of an eye infection.
    • For this reason, it is recommended to change your cosmetics at least every three to four months.
    • If you have not used a cosmetic product in several months, your best bet is to throw it away and to buy a new one to decrease your likelihood of infection.
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    Consider using disposable brushes.[8] Another option to avoid the the cross-contamination of the bacteria from your skin and eyelashes getting into your makeup containers is to use disposable brushes while applying makeup. They key with disposable brushes, however, is to not "double dip" (in other words, to use each disposable brush only once without re-inserting it into your makeup container).
    • Using disposable brushes is not the most convenient or environmentally friendly option; however, it is the surest way to avoid contamination of your cosmetics.
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    Do not share your cosmetics.[9] One of the key ways to prevent infections caused by makeup is to not share your cosmetics with others (and to not borrow a friend's cosmetics). Sharing cosmetics introduces the other person's bacteria into your cosmetic containers as well as your own bacteria, thereby multiplying the risk of infection.
    • It is especially important not to share cosmetics if you or the other person has (or has recently had) a pink eye infection.
    • Pink eye (medically known as "conjunctivitis") is extremely contagious, and can be passed from one person to another via makeup tools.
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    Know when to see a doctor.[10] It is important to see your doctor if you notice any potential signs of an infection that may be related to your makeup use. Signs to be aware of include swelling of your eyelids, discharge from your eyes, or redness and inflammation of the whites of your eye(s).
    • Also see your doctor if you develop an unusual rash or skin problems following makeup use.
    • You may have a skin infection, or you may have an allergy to the cosmetic product.

Part 3
Treating An Infection If It Happens

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    Seek prompt medical attention.[11] If you suspect that you have either an eye infection or a skin infection caused by makeup use, see your doctor sooner rather than later. Also, avoid using any further cosmetics until you have had the area of concern looked at and diagnosed, as continuing to use cosmetics may worsen the situation.
    • You may also want to buy new cosmetics after your infection has cleared, in order to ensure that the cosmetics you are using do not have microbial contamination.
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    Consider eye drops for an eye infection.[12] The exact treatment that your doctor recommends will depend upon your symptoms, as well as your specific diagnosis. For some eye infections, medicated eye drops can be of help in treating the condition and resolving it sooner rather than later. Ask your doctor if this is the best option for you.
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    Ask about treatment for a skin infection.[13] If you have developed a skin reaction (which may be allergic or infectious), or an unusual lesion on your skin that you think may be related to makeup use, ask your doctor for help with diagnosis and treatment options. A topical antimicrobial cream may help, or your doctor may offer you oral antibiotics. It will vary on a case-by-case basis.

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Categories: Conditions and Treatments | Makeup