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Nurse practitioner: Be aware of what you're putting on your face

Dirty makeup cap.jpg
(KATU Photo)

The cosmetic industry is big business, but do you really know what you’re putting on your face every time you visit a beauty counter or even dip into your own makeup?

“It’s important to be aware and cognizant of what you’re putting on your face,” said nurse practitioner Courtney Vesely with Knott Street Dermatology in Northeast Portland. “What you don’t know is whether or not they’re putting something near their eye, and they have a potential eye infection or on their lips, and they’ve got a cold sore or something like that. That’s where the concern can be.”

KATU News swabbed open samples from a beauty store and took them to an independent lab to get tested. Results show elevated levels of bacteria in both the mascara and lip gloss samples.

“Whether it’s your own makeup bag or those counters, the issue is we’re dipping in and out multiple times,” Vesely said. “For your own personal makeup bag, when it’s something like your eye, your mascara – those are the ones I say every three to four months, you should probably be switching those out.”

Vesely says whether it’s makeup counters or your own makeup bag, you need to take precautions.

“Your skin does a really good job of protecting yourself against those infections,” she said. “The problem can be for people with acne breakouts or things like that. If we’re re-putting things on our face and dipping into multiple vials and different products and things like that, we can be reintroducing bacteria to our face that can further exacerbate those breakouts.”

Here are a couple ways to make sure your products are clean or if you are really tempted to use in-store samples.

  • Wipe down lipsticks with a tissue that has sanitizing spray on it and use a cotton swab to apply.
  • For lip and eye pencils, sharpen them before you use them, removing that outside layer helps keep germs off your face.