E.coli on your face: Most makeup contaminated with superbugs, study says

Those who regularly use makeup might want to ask for replacements of some staples this holiday. A new study found that up to 90% of makeup products are contaminated with superbugs.

Anyone who uses makeup will tell you it doesn’t come cheap, and many tend to hang on to products well past their expiration dates. Do that, and you risk applying bacteria to your face every day.

“We tested 467 makeup products, including lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliner, mascara and Beauty Blenders. We found 70 to 90% of products were contaminated with bacteria,” said Dr. Amreen Bashir with Aston University in the UK.

The bacteria found in the makeup was E.coli and staphylococci bacteria.

Her study, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, has revealed the worst culprit was makeup sponges, like Beauty Blenders. Bashir said 26 percent of those tested contain fecal matter.

Bashir suggests keeping products clean, washing your hands before applying makeup, storing your makeup and applicators outside the bathroom and tossing expired makeup.

Depending on the type of makeup, users can keep them from anywhere between three months to two years.

The FDA recommends tossing these products after owning them for this long:

  • Mascara — Between 2-4 months
  • Liquid eyeliner — 3 months
  • Cream eye shadow — 6 months
  • Pencil eyeliner — 2 years
  • Powder eye shadow — 2 years
  • Liquid face makeup — 6 months
  • Dry powder — 2 years
  • Lip stick & gloss — 2 years
  • Skin products in pump bottles — 6 months
  • Makeup applicators — 3 months
  • Makeup sponges — 3 months
Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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