Sharing cosmetics opens women to infections

For women who typically borrow one another’s makeup during those Friday night rushes to hit the town, the activity may not be as safe as most think.

“It’s normal for friends to use each other’s makeup when they’re getting ready to go out. It’s almost seen as part of the routine,” said Terrica Williams, a 19-year-old sophomore pre-medicine biology student from Winter Haven.

But experts said there are several complications that can sprout from sharing makeup. Letisha Bush, a MAC cosmetic consultant in Dillard’s at Governor’s Square mall, said the lips are one of the most sensitive areas on the face, and any product worn on them should not be shared.

“Any disease that happens to the lip area is able to be transferred through lip gloss, lipstick and lip pencil,” she said.

Frank said even the common “lip-gloss-on-the-finger” trick is unsanitary since you are still transmitting germs from the other person’s lip product.

Bush said it’s exactly what you can’t see, which is bacteria, that causes imperfections on the face and ringworms when foundation and blush are shared.

“There’s cross contamination where bacteria crosses from her face to yours,” said Wendy Mayeux, a nurse at the Skin and Cancer Association.

She said the combination of different sponges and fingertips allow foreign bacteria to have easy access to your skin.

Agreeing with Mayeux, Bush said foreign bacteria then proceeds to wreak havoc on your skin combining with the oil from sponges to cause breakouts.

The skin’s response to sharing makeup, however, is not solely confined to breakouts but actually includes a susceptibility to skin diseases and ringworms.

Not only does sharing makeup put your face at risk, it also places your eyes in a position of jeopardy. Bush affirmed the importance of the eye’s protection from the bacteria that can arise simply from using old products.

“Sharing makeup can cause eye infections and pink eye; that’s the main thing,” said Rebecca Cox, an Estée Lauder cosmetic consultant in Dillard’s at Governor’s Square mall.

Jasmine Frank, a 19-year-old freshman political science student from Dayton, Ohio seemed to be aware of the harmful effects sharing eye makeup can have.

“Sharing eyeliner and mascara can give you sties because you get infections from bacteria,” Frank said.

In fact, according to Mary Kay’s Product Guide, upon opening a tube of mascara and using it, bacteria begin to grow within it. Sharing mascara only spreads the bacteria, allowing it to infect all those who use it.

“By sharing makeup, you only give yourself greater susceptibility to sharing infections,” said Michelle Macomber, a specialist at Michael J. Ford’s Southeastern Dermatology.

Jazmin Maddox, 20, a junior Miami native, said she thought most students are simply uninformed about the harmful effects sharing make-up can have on your face.

“Maybe if more people understood how disgusting it really is, they wouldn’t do it,” said the junior English student. “If you think about it, (sharing makeup) isn’t sanitary, and anything that poses a threat to your health should be taken seriously.”

Frank agreed, but said, “People don’t really think things can happen to them.”