We all love pampering ourselves with our favorite skincare and makeup products. But have you ever wondered what could happen if your beloved beauty products get contaminated with health risks? Contaminants can come from various sources, including dirty hands, expired ingredients, exposure to air, or even improper storage. Yes, I know it is kind of a disgusting topic, but one that we all should be aware of. I certainly realized it this morning when I planned to use my favorite body scrub. So let’s dive into this topic in to ensure you keep your skin and overall health glowing.
My ICKY Story:
The Hidden Dangers: Contaminated Beauty Products
I really should know better. I’ve been reviewing beauty products for decades. One of my pet peeves is non-airtight containers. I like the look of fancy jars of creams and body scrubs, but they can easily get contaminated. This is especially true if your pricey potions are in the moist bathroom or shower. Today I went to open my favorite body scrub, and discovered that it had not just liquified, but was covered with icky mold! Since the body scrub wasn’t something I used all the time, it probably had been a month or more since I’d opened the jar. This was so disgusting and smelled horrible. I immediately hopped out of the shower and tossed the entire thing. Remember: nothing lasts forever. This is especially true of screw-top jars. So use the products or ditch them.
What Could Go Wrong?
This story isn’t to scare you but to make you aware of what can happen when you keep products for too long. Again, it’s really use them or lose them.
Contaminated products can cause redness, itchiness, or rashes. These unpleasant side effects can be especially troublesome if you have sensitive skin.
Bacteria and fungi love to thrive in moist environments, like creams and liquid makeup. Using contaminated products may lead to skin infections, such as acne, styes, or folliculitis.
Ingredients in beauty products can trigger allergic reactions when they come into contact with contaminants. Swollen eyes, hives, or even anaphylactic shock can occur in severe cases.
Eye makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, is particularly susceptible to contamination. Using contaminated eye products can lead to Blepharitis, conjunctivitis, or other eye infections. I discovered this first hand when I was in France and used a travel mascara in my bag that was too old. I went through this trip with pink eyes and it took a couple of weeks to go awayt.
Serious Health Risks:
In rare cases, contaminated products can cause severe health issues. For instance, lip products contaminated with mold can lead to fungal infections or even digestive problems if accidentally ingested. However, it’s not just facial cosmetics that can pose a risk. Body products, like scrubs and lotions, can also become contaminated (like the one in my top photo). Contaminated body scrubs, for instance, can have serious health implications (other than if it’s smelly, moldy or liquid who wants to use it?) Here’s why:
Scrubs are designed to exfoliate the skin, which can be beneficial. However, if a contaminated scrub comes into contact with open wounds, such as cuts, scrapes, or irritated skin, it can introduce harmful bacteria, leading to infections and delayed healing.
Scrubs can create microtears in the skin when used excessively or with too much pressure. If the scrub is contaminated, these tiny openings can become entry points for bacteria, increasing the risk of infections and skin issues. You won’t know that your skin is infected right away, but you will, shortly.
Moist environments in body scrubs can encourage the growth of fungi. Using a contaminated scrub may lead to fungal infections like athlete’s foot or ringworm, particularly in areas like your feet and groin. Eccch gross!
Some body scrubs may contain fine particles, which, if contaminated, can become airborne during application. Inhaling these particles can potentially cause respiratory problems, especially for those with allergies or asthma.
Toss anything that seems too old or tainted. But if you experience any adverse reactions, discontinue its use immediately and consult a healthcare professional if necessary. Your body deserves the same care and attention as your face, so be careful with it!
What Can You Do to Keep Your Precious Skincare Products Safe?
Most products have preservatives to stabilize and prolong their shelf life. But even those ingredients can’t work miracles or last forever.
Here’s what you can do to keep your beauty products safe and contamination-free:
Wash Your Hands. Always wash your hands before touching your face or applying makeup. Use clean brushes and sponges for makeup application.
Use the Products or lose them. I must say I’ve kept products longer than I should. If you need reminding why it’s a terrible idea (especially for potions in jars) look at this photo above again!
Do Check Expiration Dates: Don’t use products that are past their expiration dates. You can get away with using the product but it’s efficacy (especially SPF products) might be less than optimal. These dates are there for a reason, as ingredients may also become unstable over time.
Keep your beauty products in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Seal containers tightly to prevent air exposure.
Don’t share makeup and skincare. Sharing makeup and skincare products can transfer bacteria and viruses. It’s best to keep your products to yourself.
Regularly Clean Your Tools: Clean your makeup brushes and sponges regularly to prevent product buildup and bacterial growth. I am a notoriously lazy cleanser of my brushes but I’ll try to do better now. I also clean the lids and rim of jars from time to time so the product doesn’t degrade on them. Many brush cleaners are spray-on/wipe-off and easy to use.
If your skin is sensitive or you aren’t sure about an ingredient perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for allergic reactions or sensitivities.
When To Toss:
If you notice changes in color, texture, or smell in your beauty products, it’s time to bid them farewell. Dispose of expired or contaminated items properly to avoid any health risks. Remember, your health and safety should always come first. The quality and cleanliness of your beauty products are super important!