Study Says You’re Likely Using Old Makeup (and It’s More Dangerous Than You Thought)

How old is that lipstick? (Photo: Getty Images)

A pair of British studies has confirmed what most makeup users know — first, that applying out-of-date cosmetics to your face can be risky business, and second, that nobody really takes those risks seriously.

The newest research — a survey of 5,000 women carried out by LIB beauty group in the U.K. — found, according to the Daily Mail, that a fifth of women hold onto their makeup for more than five years, while about 25 percent of those polled admitted to keeping their mascara for up to one year (despite warnings by experts to replace it every three months) and 20 percent said they keep their cleanser for at least one year — twice as long as recommended. Nearly 10 percent, meanwhile, use lipsticks that are more than three years old, which is two years past what’s suggested.

Bacteria found in the makeup testing. (Photo: SWNS)

It’s all pretty understandable, of course, as makeup and other beauty products can be pricey, and it can be painful to dump them before we’ve used every drop. But by holding on to them for too long, found a study out of London Metropolitan University that tested various used products, wearers are susceptible to a plethora of horrors, from urinary tract infections to blood poisoning.

Also, according to the Daily Mail, scientists have found that all five of the beauty products tested contained unsafe levels of potentially lethal bacteria — and one of the items, a lip gloss, was still within its use-by date. That lip gloss, along with a blush, foundation, and lipstick, tested positive for the deadly strain of bacteria (enterococcus faecalis), which causes meningitis and septicemia.

“I’m absolutely shocked that my blusher contains bacteria that could cause meningitis and septicaemia,” London beauty blogger Laura Byrne, 26, told SWNS regarding the nine-month past-date blush she contributed to the study.

Other scary bacteria found in the products included eubacterium, which causes bacterial vaginosis; aeromonas, one of the culprits behind gastroenteritis and wound infections; staphyloccocus epidermidis, an antiobiotic-resistant bug; propionibacterium, a cause of acne and other skin conditions; and enterobacter, which causes urinary tract and central nervous system infections.

Finally, the LMU poll gave an idea of some of the most unusual (and not exactly sterile) items that women keep in their makeup bags — including horse shampoo, guitar picks, pubic-hair dye, hemorrhoid cream (to use as under-eye cream), KY jelly “to use as hair gel,” a screwdriver, and, oddly enough, cat snacks. “I use cat biscuits to distract my cat whilst I try to do make-up. He likes to play with the brushes,” that woman explained. But, of course.


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