There may be some mold hidden in your beauty stash – here’s how to fix it

Would you consider eating a slice of moldy bread? Chances are there are just as many coarse microbes present in your favorite beauty products that you diligently put on your skin every day-And the tools you use to apply them.

According to a 2019 study published in Journal of Applied Microbiology70-90% of all products tested, including lipsticks and makeup sponges, were contaminated with fungi and bacteria.

“Mold can grow on skincare and makeup items for a variety of reasons. When the product is past its expiration date, when it is not stored properly and when applicators are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, just to name a few. some, “says Michael Rubino, air quality expert and author of The mold doctor.

“Sometimes the formation of mold could be the result of a wrong product formulation, in which case the responsibility lies with the producer rather than the consumer,” says Luisa Fanzani, a cosmetic chemist based in Los Angeles and founder of her namesake brand. skin care products. “When that happens, the FDA has the authority to force the company to recall the contaminated batch,” she notes.

How to tell if there is mold in your beauty products:

“A visual inspection of the product is the first step, but it’s not the final result,” says Rubino. “Mold spores are microscopic, so growth could occur below the surface or deep inside tools where it is too small to still be visible,” he explains.

“Sometimes, the color of the mold growth blends with the color of the product or tool. In cases like this, you can use your nose. Mold that grows often releases an earthy, musty smell that indicates that something is there. strange inside the product, “says the mold expert.

Also, pay attention to your health. “Your body has amazing warning systems for when something isn’t right, but you have to listen to what it’s trying to tell you,” Ruby says. “Chronic skin problems that appear randomly or other health reactions could indicate exposure to mold from your beauty products,” he adds.

How does mold affect your skin?

Using products that have been contaminated with mold, bacteria or yeast can severely irritate the skin, causing breakouts, rashes, and allergic reactions such as itchy or swollen eyes.

“For example, applying mascara contaminated with bacteria such as P. aeruginosa could cause serious eye infections,” says Fanzani.

Meanwhile, “if your skin is already inflamed or the skin barrier has been weakened by the use of harsh cleansers, pollution and other environmental factors, applying moldy cosmetics to it can cause even more irritation, redness. and allergies, among other skin problems, “notes Fanzani.

How to keep mold out of your beauty products:

Here are seven expert-backed tips for preventing mold and bacteria from growing in your beauty arsenal:

  • Avoid bathroom furniture. Your bathroom is bombarded with moisture and moisture every time it is used, making it an ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. “Mold spores need two main components to move to growing colonies: food and moisture. The ingredients within the beauty products offer various edible options for mold and some applicator elements, such as glue. adding moisture and moisture to the equation leads to a perfect environment for mold growth, ”explains Rubino. This is why it is best to store them in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep an eye on the expiration date. “Although most manufacturers of skin care and makeup products add preservatives to their products, these won’t keep mold away forever. Eventually, they become less effective in preventing these microorganisms from settling in the product,” explains Rubino. So be sure to throw away the products once their shelf life has expired, even if they don’t have an expiration date printed on the package. For example, mascara and eyeliner should be thrown away and replaced every three months. Likewise, cream-based cosmetics should be replaced approximately every nine months. While powder-based items like eyeshadow palettes and bronzers shouldn’t be used for more than a year. “All beauty tools should also have scheduled replacements. For example, reusable makeup sponges are best replaced after three months,” says Rubino. To keep it simple, you can set reminders on your phone to ask you when to replace them, he suggests.
  • Buy only from reputable brands. Not all beauty brands are created equal. “It is important to purchase products only from trusted manufacturers that have been formulated by professional chemists and contain an adequate storage system,” advises Fanzani. “I would avoid any products that claim to be ‘preservative-free’ or ‘preserved with essential oils only,'” says the cosmetic chemist. Also, he uses DIY products with extreme caution. “The DIY cosmetic trend is very dangerous in this sense as people with no experience or proper training are making beauty products ‘in their kitchen’ without adding the right preservatives or worse, without preservatives,” says Fanzani.
  • Focus on keeping everything dry. “This includes properly storing items and allowing all products and tools to dry completely before storage,” says Rubino. Also, “never leave containers open. Put the lid back on to minimize humidity,” suggests Fanzani.
  • Avoid using your fingers for application. “Experience the world with your hands. As a result, your hands carry more than 3,000 germs of different species. Some of these germs are pathogens and can cause serious infections,” notes Fanzani. “Dipping your fingers in cosmetic jars transfers these pathogenic microorganisms into the product, thus contaminating them,” she explains. For optimal hygiene, use an applicator. “And dry it with alcohol before use,” suggests Ginger King, cosmetic chemist and founder of Grace Kingdom Beauty. For moisturizers, you don’t have much of a problem if it comes from a pump. For makeup products like lipstick and eyeshadow, you can also scrape off the top layer just to be safe, she adds.
  • Clean often. “As these objects touch your face every day, particles such as spores and bacteria can build up. Creating a cleaning schedule for each tool removes these harmful contaminants and organic particles that can allow mold to grow,” says Rubino. According to experts, you should clean your makeup tools like beauty brushes and blenders at least once a week. Especially when using liquid or cream based products. Meanwhile, skin care tools like the spatula and gua sha should be rubbed with alcohol before and after each use, suggests King.
  • Evaluate everything regularly. “Sometimes mold can creep in even after taking preventative measures and before the expiration date,” says Rubino. This is why it is important to take a close look at the products and tools, after each use, to make sure there is no visible mold growth, “advises the mold expert.” Also use your nose while you inspect the objects, just in case there is hidden growth inside, “he adds.

Leave a Comment