Can We Sanitise Our Makeup To Keep Skin Problems At Bay?
Her World Singapore|January 2022
We ask the experts about common skin issues arising from bacteria-breeding on makeup and tools, and how we can solve these problems.
Ruth Chew

After almost two years of alcohol sanitisers, it’s time to come out and face the world. How’s your makeup doing though? Have they languished after being forgotten in your makeup drawers for much of 2021? How about your brushes and blenders? Were they neglected too?

Left alone for too long, makeup and its tools could be causing you skin issues.

BACTERIA… GROSS!

Research found that between 70 to 90 per cent of all used cosmetics were found to have been contaminated with bacteria. A study done by Journal of Applied Microbiology found that significant levels of microbial contamination occur during the use of such affected cosmetic products, which then pose a potential risk to health.

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and Escherichia Coli (E. coli) infections have been found in the same research in makeup and its tools. While they are not the kind that will land you in hospital with a bad case of stomach flu, they can be detrimental to skin.

Dermatologist at Dermatology & Surgery Clinic Dr Uma Alagappan says unclean makeup can cause many skin problems. Comedones and inflammatory acne are most common, leading to breakouts, scarring and pigmentation. Another issue is irritant contact dermatitis, a skin reaction that occurs when a substance comes into contact with and damages skin’s topmost protective layer. Some people can react to strong irritants after a single exposure, while others may develop symptoms after repeated exposure, causing the aggravation.

Lip dermatitis, a type of eczema, often occurs when an allergy or irritant causes the lips to become swollen, red, flaky, and itchy. Sometimes, cold sores occur too, when lips come into contact with bacteria.

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