Several make-up products contain life-threatening superbugs, says study

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Enterobacteriaceae and fungi were detected in all product types, and were prevalent in beauty blenders (26·58 and 56·96% respectively).

Bugs such as E. coli and staphylococcus were found to have contaminated nine out of ten products once they are being used.

"As part of a recent project, we tested 467 makeup products, these included lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliner, mascara, and beauty blenders and the results were astonishing", says Dr Amreen Bashir in a video about the research.

The products are becoming contaminated because they are not being cleaned regularly or are being used long after their expiry date.

While such bacterium may occur naturally on the skin, researchers at Aston University note that they can cause serious illnesses - from skin infections and conjunctivitis to blood poisoning - if they gain access to the body through the eyes, mouth, or any wounds or sores on the face. Blender sponges - egg-shaped sponges used primarily to apply and smooth foundation - were the more egregious offenders, containing the highest levels of possibly harmful bacteria. Additionally, beauty store makeup testers were found to provide a route for contamination and infection. Often endorsed by celebrities, these sponges are estimated to have sold over 6.5million worldwide. The researchers say these products are particularly vulnerable to contamination because they are moistened before using and then left damp and unwashed, which creates the ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria. European Union guidance holds make-up brands to strict hygiene standards of manufacture and states that E.coli, in particular, should not be found in any concentration in new cosmetic products.

The majority of makeup products now in use may contain unsafe superbugs, according to a new study out of Aston University. The products are varied and include everything from tubes of mascara and lip gloss to blenders like sponges. "And our worst culprit seemed to be our beauty blenders, 26 percent of these had fecal matter present on them".

Make-up products used every day by millions of people in the United Kingdom are contaminated with potentially deadly bugs, such as E.coli and Staphylococci, because most are not being cleaned and are used far beyond their expiry dates, new research led by Dr. Amreen Bashir and Professor Peter Lambert of Aston University's School of Life and Health Sciences has shown.

"Consumers' poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up, especially beauty blenders, is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli - which is linked with faecal contamination - breeding on the products we tested", says Bashir.

"More needs to be done to help educate consumers and the makeup industry about the need to wash beauty blenders regularly and dry them thoroughly, as well as the risks of using makeup beyond its expiry date".

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