Keep clean make-up kits to avoid infection

Some women’s handbags are literally overflowing with make-up stuff and they cannot bear to leave the house without using make-up or to walk around all day without a touch up on their make-up.

Unlike the olden days when women used only ordinary powder on their faces, these days there are make-up products such as the eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, blusher, eyeshadow, compact powder, foundation and others which serve different purposes.

To efficiently apply these make-up products to enhance one’s facial features and appearances, make-up tools and applicators such as facial brushes, pair of tweezers, lip brush and puff are essential.

Despite spending lots of money on beauty products and their applicators and tools, it seems lots of women give little thought to the hygiene issues associated with neglecting make-up tools.

Others also find it generous to share their tools with their friends, family members, colleagues or sometimes strangers without bearing in mind the consequences.


Sharing her experience on using a friend’s make–up brush, a young Australian mother said she could not have imagined that fixing a spot on her face with her best friend’s make-up brush could have caused her to contract an infection which has left her paralysed.

Identified as Jo Gilchrist, the 27-year-old woman believes the staphylococcus or staph bacteria entered her body and attacked her spine after she used her friend’s make-up kit.

According to online information, medics at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane are still attempting to rid her body of the bacteria, almost three months after she became ill.

Jo Gilchrist must now spend the next three months in hospital, where she will be administered with strong antibiotics.

Staph bacteria are often found in the nose or on the skin, and they generally do not cause any symptoms – a phenomenon known as colonisation.

“I literally thought I was going to die,” she told Warwick Daily News.

Transferring bacteria

Many wonder if it is possible to get infected by using a friend’s make-up kit. A cosmetologist told the Daily Graphic in an interview that it was possible to transfer bacteria through a make-up tool.

Mrs Emma Yankey, a lecturer at the 2nd Image School and Clinic, said bacteria and other infections piled up daily as make-up tools and products were used without proper hygienic maintenance.

“Women tend to have elaborate make-up sets but they often forget the importance of keeping the application brushes hygienic and for longevity,” she said.

She added that improper maintenance of make-up kits and tools meant inviting skin problems for oneself while sharing personal make-up tools could also cause the transmission of bacteria or other infections from one person to the other.

she said a victim with a bacteria infection from a make-up tool or product was likely to transfer that infection to another person, especially one who has a weak immune system.

She said because most of the kits were kept in handbags and containers, the sun rays did not shine on them to kill the bacteria, leading to a piling up of infections.

“Mascara, for instance, can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s not surprising that we have found that nearly half of women suffer from itchy, watery and red eyes when they hold on to their make-up for so long and share it with friends,” she explained.

Keep them clean

Concerning brushes used to put colour on eyes, lips and cheeks, Mrs Yankey said they attracted bacteria; hence transmitting infection to another was easy.

She added that make-up built up on dirty brushes and puff could lead to scratchy feeling on one’s skin.

“That is why there are a lot of women with rashes on their faces and they complain that their make–up products are not good for them,” she indicated.

“Be they brushes or the containers in which you keep your blush, lipstick, eyeshadow and more, make sure to clean them regularly and do not share,” she urged.

Mrs Yankey also advised that make-up tools used on commercial basis should be sterilised at all times or clients must have their own make-up set.

She also advised that when make–up was done in the evening the face must be cleansed in the morning to remove all dirt to avoid the pile-up of bacteria.

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