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Gettin’ rid of the make up nasties

Being extra pale was hot in Elizabethan England. So hot, in fact, that women took their lives in their hands just to get that porcelain-skin look.These days the risks of getting made up aren't so drastic. But there are still a few nasties you can pick up from a humble eyeliner or foundation—skin rashes, eyelash lice and even herpes. Here are eight simple rules to ensure that the pink on your lips is a nice gloss, not a burgeoning cold sore.

1. Don't share: Sharing make-up with others is one of the easiest ways to spread bacteria. You can contract the herpes simplex virus, which leads to painful, unpleasant-looking cold sores, from using other people's lipsticks—even if the person has no visible signs of a cold sore. You also increase your chance of lip dermatitis, or chelitis. But eye products are the ones to really watch out for. If you are trying on make-up in a store, be sure to ask for single-use applicators or, if you have to use shared instruments, ask that they be sterilised before they touch your face.

2. Throw out the old stuff: Do you have a drawerful of old or half-used cosmetics? Get rid of them. As cosmetics age, preservatives are used up and become less effective. Women can develop peri-oral dermatitis from using old products, a condition causing acne-like red bumps on the skin. To make your products last as long as possible, be sure to read the label for storage directions. Cosmetics usually have expiration dates—usually three to six months for eye products and up to one year for creams and powders. If you are worried about a product, try a simple sniff test. 

3. Replace your applicators: If you've had an eye infection, replace all your eye make-up applicators immediately. Bacteria can remain in the applicator, and there is a chance that you will unknowingly reinfect yourself. But you should always use an applicator—like a cotton tip, brush or sponge—rather than your fingers to lessen the risk of contaminating cosmetics with bacteria from your skin.  Sponges are a haven for bacteria and need to be replaced once a week.  You will get dead skin cells on the sponge every time you use it, which can cause bacteria to grow, it gives more issues with acne.

4. Get that thing out of your mouth: Many women wet applicators with saliva or use it to thin clumpy make-up. It sounds harmless enough, but don't do it. Your mouth contains all sorts of bacteria, which are OK in your mouth, but not in your eyes.

5. Don't do it in the car: When I see people driving and putting on make-up, it makes me really nervous, your eye is fragile, and doesn't heal easily.  A slip of the mascara wand can scratch the cornea, making the eye vulnerable to serious infections including staphylococcus aureus—or golden staph—which can lead to permanent damage, or even blindness. It's rare, but it does happen.

6. Keep a lid on it: Most cosmetics contain preservatives that kill bacteria and increase shelf life. But once a product is exposed to the environment, it becomes vulnerable to microbes that can either lessen the efficiency of preservatives, or introduce bacteria that preservatives were not designed to protect against. The more times a product is opened, or left open, the more organisms can get in. So close those lids tightly.

7. Be naturally cautious: While products labelled "natural" are often great for people with allergies or those who don't like using too many chemicals, they do have a downside. clients sometimes assume they are safer but they don't always contain the same preservatives, so they don't always last quite as long or offer the same level of protection against bacteria.  Check out the expiry on cosmetics.

8. Take it off before you go to bed: When you go to sleep, give your skin and eyelashes a rest, too. If you leave mascara on overnight, it can clump and flake into your eyes causing itching and redness. A simple night-time routine of removing all your make-up before you go to bed will help ensure you wake up from your beauty sleep looking rested and radiant, not bloodshot and pimply.


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