Baylor College of Medicine: Certain makeup can cause bacterial infections

By John Brannen - Web Editor
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HOUSTON - Using out-of-date makeup or not storing it properly could cause infections, according to the Baylor College of Medicine in a report for the journal "Cosmetic Dermatology."

Dr. Ramsley Markus, the author of the study and a professor of dermatology, said six out of 19 makeup samples that were tested contained bacteria.

"Some samples even contained a type of staph," Markus said.

Tests of the 19 cosmetic samples revealed that about one-third of them had bacteria that included Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus epidermis.

"While these can sometimes be found in cultures of normal skin, they are potentially dangerous for those who are in immune-compromised states or have a compromised skin barrier," Markus said. "Staph, and strep can lead to infected hair follicles and cellulitis."

The results said that makeup products used on a semi-regular to daily basis can cause infections. Markus said that manufacturing, packaging, pH levels, water content and antimicrobial ingredients can contribute to the accumulation of bacteria.

The Baylor College of Medicine released a statement that read in part:

"After buying cosmetics, keep the products properly sealed when not in use to protect against airborne germs. Mascara should be switched out at least every three months, while other cosmetic products should be kept for no longer than six to 12 months. The older a product is, the more time bacteria has to grow in it."

"We want to remind the public that there are unseen potential dangers growing in makeup and that the cosmetics they use daily could be a source of infection," Markus said.

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