Before we buy makeup and skincare products, we’re asking different questions now. What’s actually IN this product? Is it good for my skin? Is it healthy? Are these products ethically and sustainably made? We’re becoming much more savvy consumers and more thoughtful advocates for our own health.

But, as a consumer, it’s challenging to separate substantiated health concerns from claims like “chemical free” which are basically meaningless, given that water itself is a chemical. That’s why I’m such a strong advocate of sharing studies and information to help educate consumers to make informed decisions about controversial ingredients.

This brings us to a new study on PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) just published this morning (link to full study below). PFAS are fluorinated pollutants – commonly found manmade chemicals used in a range of consumer products including water-resistant clothing, microwave popcorn bags, and stain-resistant furniture. They’ve been found in our water supply, in the soil, and now, in our beauty products. PFAS have been nicknamed “forever chemicals” for good reason: these chemicals persist in nature and in our tissues. These compounds are not only harmful to our planet, as they don’t break down in the environment, but they also accumulate in the human body and have been linked to a number of serious health concerns including: cancer, hormone disruption, obesity and liver toxicity. The CDC and EPA have recognized these compounds as toxic.

This new study showed high fluorine levels (which would suggest the probable presence of PFAS) in numerous waterproof mascaras, liquid lipsticks and foundations. Even more concerning was that these chemicals were not listed on the ingredient lists. You can read more about the study and its findings here. I am absolutely not advocating an alarmist approach here. I’m sharing information to help you stay informed so that you can make decisions based on your personal comfort level.

Skincare and Beauty Products:

PFAS are not necessary in makeup. I personally don’t choose to use skincare and beauty products with “perfluor” or “polyfluor” on the ingredient list because that’s my comfort level. Many people don’t realize that PFAs are used in cosmetic products because of their water-repellent or water-resistant properties. These perfluorinated compounds (PFASs or PFCs) are typically found in products meant to stay put for long periods of time. What makes them last longer on your eyelashes or lips are the same chemical properties that make them accumulate in our bodies and persist in our environment.
This new study concerns me because many of the contaminated products did not even list these compounds (PFAs or PFCs) on the ingredient list. Consequently, even a very savvy consumer would have no way of knowing if the product she is using contains PFASs or PFCs when buying and using the products tested.

Moreover, the types of products that tested positive for high levels of fluorine (and thus likely to contain PFAS) are often used close to and around the eyes and lips, such as mascaras and lipsticks. Ingredients are much more readily absorbed in those areas because of the thin, delicate mucous membranes and proximity to tear ducts. Furthermore, women often lick their lips and unknowingly ingest the ingredients in their lipstick, which is yet another route of exposure. Although it’s desirable to have mascara or lipstick or foundation that lasts a little longer, I believe consumers need to know which ingredients are contributing to that staying power. I personally love a good waterproof mascara, but not at the expense of my health.

Again, I’m not suggesting an alarmist approach here. I think this was eye opening and I’m so glad this information was brought to light. Are there PFAs in our environment? Yes. Are we exposed to them in water and food? Yes. Do we need to throw out all of our skincare and makeup? Of course not. This information helps guide us to press for transparency in ingredients and safety when it comes to the products we choose for our healthiest lifestyle. Some organizations are actively lobbying for more government oversight of cosmetics and consumer products, encouraging legislation that protects consumers and the environment.

So what can you do TODAY if you want to try to minimize your exposure?

I encourage my patients to shop brands that are transparent about their supply chain, and take efforts to ensure that ingredients and packaging are being sourced from safe, reliable sources in a sustainable and ethical way.

Some retailers also reassure their customers that any brands they carry do not contain PFAS, such as Credo.

Here are some other resources I offer my patients who are interested in learning more about PFAS:

Silent Spring Institute 

URI STEEP Superfund Research Program

PFAS EXchange, part of PFAS-REACH

STUDY: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00240

Dr. Whitney

Melasma, and hyperpigmentation in general, is one of the most common reasons people schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Below, I’ll talk all about one of the most powerful topical ingredients we use to treat melasma, hydroquinone, and the safety concerns surrounding its use. 

Okay, let’s dive into the topic at hand: just how SAFE is hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone is one of the most powerful topical ingredients when it comes to brightening dark spots, treating melasma, combatting hyperpigmentation and evening out skin tone. It’s available both as a prescription, often found in combination with other prescription medications like tretinoin, and is also available in OTC (over the counter) products. While it’s an incredibly powerful ingredient, and often considered first line by most dermatologists in the treatment of melasma, there are safety concerns surrounding its use. Does it get absorbed into the bloodstream? Can it cause cancer? Can it damage your liver? Should I be afraid to use it?  Having researched this ingredient extensively, and having used it in the office for over a decade, I will give you my honest opinion here.

First, should you be afraid of systemic absorption, and possible risks associated with systemic absorption? Many people aren’t aware that they are being exposed to considerable amounts of hydroquinone in their diet every single day. Hydroquinone is found in nature as either hydroquinone or arbutin, which is converted into hydroquinone in the body.  Hydroquinone and arbutin are found in tea, coffee, pears, wheat bread and red wine. Studies show that human exposure to hydroquinone from our diet is significant https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8568910/  I personally consume coffee and tea every day, and I love enjoying a juicy, ripe pear as a healthy snack.  

Does hydroquinone cause cancer or damage the liver? Most of these studies were done in rats, and many were done on populations of rats that already had predispositions for growing certain cancers and tumors. Although I certainly am not going to ignore these concerning studies, it is very hard to make a convincing case that what we see in rats will translate into humans. As far as liver studies go, hydroquinone seems to actually have a slight protective effect when you look at risk for liver cancers in rats. So clearly, we really are not certain of the true impact that hydroquinone has on our different organs. So far, studies done in humans who are exposed to higher concentrations of hydroquinone have been reassuring. I honestly don’t know any board certified dermatologists in the US who are afraid to use this ingredient because of concerns surrounding its “toxicity” to the body, after having reviewed the literature and science extensively.

What we do know is that high concentrations of topical hydroquinone, especially used for long periods of time without a doctor’s supervision, can lead to a skin condition called exogenous ochronosis, or pseudo ochronosis.  

This is when we see a darkening of the skin, even darker than the original melasma that these creams were meant to treat!  Furthermore, it is near impossible to get these stains to disappear!  

These cases, thankfully, are quite rare in the United States, and much more commonly found in parts of the world where people are also using antimalarial medications. Antimalarials also cause pseudo ochronosis, so the combination of hydroquinone plus antimalarials are probably a major risk factor for this condition.

The main risks seem to be: 

using concentrations higher than 4%

using hydroquinone for years at a time without breaks, and

combining hydroquinone with other ingredients such as oral antimalarial medications.  

We also know that many “bleaching” and “whitening” creams that you can find online or in other countries are contaminated with mercury and high potency steroids like clobetasol https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935116302651

Ok, so how do I approach hydroquinone in my office with my patients.  Here are my take homes:

  • Hydroquinone should only be used under the very strict supervision of a dermatologist
  • Each patient needs to weigh pros and cons, risks and benefits of using hydroquinone vs using other treatment modalities.  In cases where melasma is severe and affecting someone’s quality of life, the benefits may outweigh the risks. It’s a personal decision between that patient and the treating physician.
  • If you have been prescribed a hydroquinone containing prescription from your dermatologist, you MUST follow up carefully. Most derms will rotate you off of hydroquinone every few months, to make sure you get prolonged breaks between uses.
  • If you have used hydroquinone, or are using it, under the close supervision of a dermatologist, don’t lose sleep over it! Remember, everyone who is drinking coffee or tea, or eating pears or sipping on red wine, is also being exposed to hydroquinone.
  • Do NOT try to get hydroquinone containing products online or through online pharmacies.  If a friend brings you an extra “magic cream” across the border and swears by it, PASS!  Warn your friend about mercury and clobetasol and other risks she/he might not even know about.

For more recommendations and discussions surrounding melasma and hyperpigmentation, check out my IGTV and YouTube channels.

Dr. Whitney

 

 

During my Bowe Glow Boot Camp, my dear friend, David Kirsch, shared fitness and healthy cooking tips each week. David and I have known each other for years and every time I have the opportunity to see him or speak to him, I adore him even more. He’s not only an incredibly inspiring and talented trainer — to celebrities including J. Lo, Liv Tyler, and Heidi Klum – but he’s also a natural teacher. He has connected with so many people during quarantine through virtual platforms like HoneyComb.Fit and through his Instagram page – providing free workouts and tips to keep us all motivated, healthy, and moving. One of the most beautiful things about David is his role as a Mapa to his absolutely beautiful twins, Francesca and Emilia.

I am so honored to share this interview with you:

WB: In many homes, it’s a constant battle right now between screen time and staying physical.  How do you get your girls off their screens and convince them to be active? 

DK: So, full disclosure, there is still the occasional battle over screen time with Emilia and Francesca.  That said, my girls have grown up watching me exercise – both in the gym, at home and on vacation.  They have been organically exposed to the importance of moving your body a little every day.

WB: Do you think that people will return to gyms and working out with personal trainers in facilities in the same way they did pre-Covid?  What do you think people miss most about those in person workout experiences as compared with the remote training people have been doing from home? 

DK: I don’t think that things will completely go back to pre – Covid ways.  I think there is and will be genuine concern and monitoring of the number of bodies in the gym at any given time.  I think the thing that people miss the most about going to the gym is the social aspect and the overall general positive energy.  I have worked ‘overtime’ to try to create the energy, intimacy and vibe through my Zoom training sessions.

WB:  What’s your plan to return to training people in person?  Will you and your clients wear masks during the session?  Any tips for using a mask during times when people are really exerting themselves? 

DK: I think for the immediate future and for some time after, we will be masked and be socially distant and maintain a high level of personal hygiene.  I think masks are going to be extremely important, especially when people are exerting themselves – exhaling hard, and, at times, ‘spraying some saliva.’

WB: Do you have a go-to breakfast that Emilia and Francesca love and that you also feel good about giving them in the morning? We loved your frittata recipe and would love more of your insight! 

DK: Francesca and Emilia’s favorite go-to breakfast is avocado toast!!  My girls don’t like eggs, so my frittata doesn’t work for them.  I am a huge believer in healthy, substantial breakfasts.  Some of my favorites: frittata with whatever is in the fridge; avocado toast with hard boiled eggs, and Kite Hill unsweetened vanilla almond milk Greek yogurt with some seeds and fresh almond butter.  My girls are quite comfortable and competent in the kitchen, so I let them create at will.

WB: Do you have a mantra that keeps you motivated? Do you share a mantra with Emilia and Francesca?

DK: “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles” — Buddha

WB:  What does your own personal workout schedule usually look like in a week? 

DK: My workouts have been shortened and are more frequent now.  I have turned my living room into a home gym with some hand weights, kettle bells, a strength band and a medicine ball.  All that said, my favorite purchase was a pull-up bar that I need to pass every time I leave my bedroom.  I workout via Zoom with a friend of mine no less than 5 days a week for at least 30 – 45 minutes.  Additionally, we ‘push’ each other to do at least 100, but most days, 200 pull-ups.  Last, in addition to my personal workouts, I often workout along with my clients.

WB: What type of activities do the girls like to do to stay active?

DK: Emilia loves to dance and she’s got those TikTok moves down (unofficially, as I won’t let her have an account).  Francesca loves doing Live workouts and has gotten quite good at it!  They both love to swim, play tennis and softball.

WB: What’s the one tip you would give families right now who are struggling to stay active? 

DK: It just takes a few minutes to get off of the sofa, put down the devices and MOVE your body!  It could be a walk, bike ride, or a swim in the pool.  Do it as a family, 5 – 10 minutes a day and build up from there.  You’ll have better energy, have a more positive outlook, be less stressed and look and feel healthier.

WB: Tell us more about Honeycomb and these amazing free workouts?

DK: HoneyComb.Fit was born out of the idea of creating a fully comprehensive health, wellness and lifestyle destination. We realized the best way to disseminate this philosophy was through social media. Mark Messier is one of the founding partners. Stacey Griffith, Tracy Carlinsky, and I have been offering exclusive, free workouts for almost four weeks now and the feedback has been good, as the buzz and our following is steadily growing.  After over thirty years in the fitness industry, I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to reach out to so many people around the world that wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to train with me.  I am so proud to be part of the HoneyComb family!!  In the next coming weeks, we will be inviting guest trainers with a variety of different exercise disciplines to join the team and share their expertise.

WB: What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself as a trainer during quarantine? 

DK: The most important thing I’ve learned about myself during quarantine is that I have discovered my love and passion for online training.  I was born to teach and I have conquered my initial trepidation of “talking” to my iPhone, and thoroughly enjoy the relatively new medium.

WB: What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself as a parent during quarantine?

DK: The one thing I have learned about myself as a parent during quarantine – in spite of the moments, and there are some, I love, appreciate and am grateful for the time I have gotten to spend with Emilia and Francesca.  Real quality time of laughing, loving, cooking together, exercising together, and just quality quiet time.  I have honed the art of patience, and realize that I am not always the perfect Mapa.  By the way, the art of good parenting is not about perfection, but striving to do your best, and remembering to say “I’m sorry, and daddy loves you always and forever” when I have those moments and ‘lose my xxxxx.’

And now you can see why I love David so much!! Be sure to check out his insta page because you will become as hooked on his workouts – and family workouts- as we are!

Why Alcohol in your Hand Sanitizers is NOT the Same as Alcohol in your Toner

As a doctor and a scientist, I know that alcohol can be a lifesaving ingredient in certain scenarios, but it can do harm in others.  Alcohol use in skincare products requires some serious thought. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to alcohol in your skincare products.

For your face: 

Not all alcohols are created equal.  Alcohols fall into 2 main categories: drying alcohols, and hydrating alcohols.  When it comes to products you use on your face, you want to avoid drying alcohols, but welcome the use of hydrating alcohols.

Drying alcohols are often listed on labels as SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.  These are lightweight, volatile alcohols, meaning they evaporate quickly off the surface of the skin.  The problem is, these types of alcohols do major damage to the natural lipids and fatty acids on the surface of your skin, so they damage your skin barrier.  For people with oily skin, they can give you a sensation of feeling like you’re degreasing the skin and drying out the oil, but the long term damaging effects far outweigh that temporary sensation.  In fact, over time, your skin will actually pump out more oils to compensate for the stripping and drying effects these alcohols have.  So, long story short, these types of alcohols should be avoided by people of ALL skin types when it comes to their facial skin.

Hydrating alcohols, or fatty alcohols, are actually excellent ingredients when it comes to facial skincare!  Examples include cetyl, stearyl and cetearyl alcohol.  These alcohols are emollients, meaning they keep skin hydrated and supple—yes, the exact opposite of what you might expect when you see the word “alcohol” on the label!

For your hands:

Hand sanitizers that contain 60% ethyl alcohol and  70% isopropanol are incredibly effective germ killers, meaning they can kill many disease causing bacteria and viruses within seconds.  These are the kinds of alcohols I warned you to avoid in your facial skincare, but when faced with a virus like COVID-19, the benefits currently outweigh the risks when using them in your hand sanitizers. Just be sure to only use them when you don’t have access to running soap and water, and moisturize as often as possible to restore those lipids and encourage the regrowth of healthy bacteria (your microbiome).

Dr. Whitney

So many people are breaking out right now.  Combine the “maskne” from the friction and moisture rubbing against our skin with the chronic stress many of us are experiencing, and blemishes are popping up all over so many beautiful faces.  Acne won’t kill us, but it can certainly impact a good Zoom or Facetime!

Here’s a key tip when it comes to avoiding breakouts: try to reach for ingredients that are what we call “non comedogenic,” meaning they will not clog your pores.  As you guys know, I’m all about going CLEAN, so here are some clean ingredients that are BOWE GLOW approved and won’t break you out, followed by some natural sounding ingredients that are almost guaranteed to clog your pores:

BOWE GLOW APPROVED OILS & BUTTERS

Some of my favorite non comedogenic oils and butters that will NOT clog the pores are

  • Argan Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Safflower Seed Oil
  • Rosehip Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Mango Butter
  • Raspberry Seed Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Prickly Pear Seed Oil
  • Camelina Oil
  • Watermelon Seed Oil

LIMIT using on your FACE (and other acne prone areas like your chest or upper back) if you are breaking out:

  • Coconut oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Linseed oil
  • Cocoa Butter

I have much more on this topic to share very soon!

Dr. Whitney

We don’t need a twelve step routine to keep our skin healthy! In fact, I am a big believer in a lean approach to skincare – giving our skin only what it needs and what it wants. Everything I use has a purpose and works in synergy with my skin’s natural balance and with the other products I’m using.

Here are 3 of my must-have categories of products for my morning skincare routine:

1. GENTLE CLEANSER: My first step in the morning is cleansing with a gentle cleanser.

Your skin should feel hydrated and nourished after you cleanse, not tight and squeaky clean. I always use warm – not hot – water to cleanse and I pat dry with a clean baby wash cloth.

Here are 4 of my favorite cleansers (at different price points):

Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm

Farmacy Clean Bee

La Roche Posay Toleriane Gentle Facial Cleanser

Simple Kind to Skin Unscented Micellar Cleansing Water

2. VITAMIN C SERUM: I apply my Vitamin C Serum immediately after cleansing.

Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, boosts collagen production, and brightens dark spots.  Vit C helps to reduce visible signs of aging by combating the free radical damage arising from sun exposure, heat exposure, and other environmental stressors (like pollution). I often explain that free radicals are like tiny missiles, and they destroy everything in their path. They are highly reactive forms of oxygen whose effects can damage cell membranes and other structures in the body, including DNA and collagen. When you are exposed to a lot of free radicals, it means you are suffering from oxidative stress, and too much oxidative stress can lead to premature aging, skin cancer, and chronic skin conditions like acne. Vitamin C is a free radical scavenger, thereby protecting your skin!

Here are links to four Vitamin C serums I’m loving right now (at different price points):

Summer Fridays CC Me Serum

Marie Veronique Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Serum

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Naturopathica Vitamin C15 Wrinkle Repair Serum

 

3. MOISTURIZER: I love to lock in all that goodness and hydration with a moisturizer.

I either layer a moisturizer under sunscreen, or look for sunscreens that also act as moisturizers. I will share my favorite sunscreens as a separate post, but here are some of my current favorites in the moisturizer category:

GLOWBIOTICS Probiotic HydraGlow Cream Oil (note: a little goes a long way…blend a few drops with foundation or sunscreen)

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration (this is great if you have extremely dry skin – otherwise, I would opt to use it at night instead of in the morning).

Tatcha: The Dewy Skin Cream

[*As I mentioned earlier, I will be sharing my favorite sunscreens separately, but I do wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine!]

I’m sharing more about my skincare routine and on my Instagram posts and stories, so be sure to check them out!

Dr. Whitney

Now that we are staying in every night and cooking so much more than we ever did before, I’ve been focusing on easy, healthy dishes that even my daughter will eat!

This veggie side dish is really easy to make and is packed with skin friendly nutrients. It gets two thumbs up from my 8 year old daughter, which makes it a keeper! I think you guys will love it as much as we do.

To make, start with one or more low glycemic, high fiber veggies: brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and/or broccoli. Don’t stress if you can’t get fresh veggies- this works with frozen ones as well. Here’s my glycemic index cheat sheet and more on why low GI foods are so good for your skin!

Add garlic and onions, which are amazing sources of prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic fiber gets consumed by the beneficial bacteria in our gut to keep our gut healthy and dial down inflammation.  You can either just slice these extra thin, or sometimes I even saute them before I add them to the sheet pan to release even more flavor.

Next, we add the olive oil. I use extra virgin olive oil both before I spread the veggies on the sheet and on the top, right before I put the sheet in the oven.  EVOO is rich in a skin-smoothing emollient called oleic acid. The essential fatty acids in olive oil richly nourish the skin and have anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil also contains polyphenols that act as potent antioxidants.

I always add some rosemary sprigs, which are an amazing source of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Added bonus is they add a delicious flavor.  I bake the veggies with these lying on the top, but remove before I eat.

And finally, for the finishing touch, I love to sprinkle some dried cranberries on top. The dried cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is critical to help your skin cells make collagen. Just be sure to use sparingly because added sugars can bind to your collagen and elastic fibers and break them down through a process called glycation.

I generally bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or until I see the top start to brown!

Enjoy!!

Dr. Whitney

I have been a long time almond milk lover, as I regularly share with you guys.  It’s one of my favorite non-dairy milk alternatives to recommend because of the link between skim milk and acne/inflammation.

But, recent articles suggest that the almond industry is negatively impacting bee health. Specifically, multiple recent news reports are telling us that almond pollination requires bees to wake up one to two months early from their dormancy, thereby depriving them of needed rest and sleep. In this sleep deprived state, which we know can compromise immunity (sleep keeps your immune system healthy), they are kept in very tight quarters, which increases the spread of disease.  Not only are infections rampant among these hard working, immunocompromised bees, but to compound the issue, they are exposed to abnormally high levels of pesticides which are commonly used on the almonds– all resulting in the death of billions of honeybees in a matter of months.

I love to recommend foods that optimize our skin’s health from the inside out.  However, sometimes, the foods that benefit our skin are not benefitting our environment – as seems to be the case here. In view of this information, I am now going to switch over to coconut milk while I research and try other types of non-dairy milk alternatives including oat, pea, rice and hemp milk.

I’m also researching whether there are almond milk brands that are very mindful and responsible in connection with bee populations and resource sustainability.

I promise to update you guys ASAP on what I learn!

Dr. Whitney

You might have seen reports that the popular brand, Yes To, has recalled its unicorn face mask after many complaints of painful burns in users as young as 11 years old.

One of the tips I give my patients in trying new skincare products is to patch test, whenever possible. You really don’t know how your skin will react to a new product and a patch test is the most reliable way to ensure that your skin can tolerate the ingredients in a particular product.

Another option is to listen to your skin – and to your gut – when it comes to trying new skincare.  If you apply a product to your skin and develop any redness, burning, or stinging, IMMEDIATELY rinse it off! If you are trying a new face mask and you feel stinging discomfort – take it OFF! Do not assume this is the product “working.”

So, what happened with this popular brand’s mask and why were people reporting chemical burn-type injuries after just minutes of use? In my opinion, the most likely diagnosis is irritant contact dermatitis, meaning an irritation from an ingredient in the product that is being used at too high a concentration. In this case, the likely culprit is either Vitamin C or “fragrance.”

Even vitamin C, an amazing ingredient with tons of data supporting its use in skincare, can cause problems if the concentration is too high, or if it’s not being used in the right formulation.  The other ingredients in a formula, and the concentrations in which they are present, are all factors that can impact whether vit C can be safe and effective, or cause a major skin reaction.  Vit C needs to penetrate into the skin.  If too much of it sits on the surface, it can cause problems.  The other ingredients in the formulation, and the type of vitamin C used, can all factor into whether a product is safe.

As I’ve shared before, the term “fragrance” can mask hundreds of other ingredients, many of which are known irritants or allergens.  I recommend avoiding products that use the term “fragrance” or “parfum” on their ingredient list instead of disclosing the actual ingredients.  Transparency is KEY when it comes to safety, as we can see from reports like these!!

Dr. Whitney

It’s holiday party season! Whether you’re rocking a cherry red lip, a frosty silver shadow or an overall festive glow, you have to resist the urge to spread the love by sharing makeup with your besties — doctor’s orders!

WHY?

The quick answer: you want to spread joy, warmth and love this holiday season, not bacterial or viral infections!

We all harbor bacteria on our skin. You guys know that because we’ve spoken so much about our microbiome. The microbiome refers to the “good” bugs you carry, but your friends might be carrying some harmful germs as well, and we call those pathogens.  I tell my patients that sharing makeup is essentially swapping germs, and they should never share anything that comes into direct contact with another person’s skin or mucus membranes.

So, lip and eye products should never be shared under any circumstances, as the mucus membranes in these two areas of your face are the most susceptible to infection. The mucous membrane doesn’t contain the same layers of protection as the skin (rather, they are made of delicate, thin, moist tissue), so transmitting infectious bacteria is much easier and more common in these areas.

Sharing Eye Makeup:

When you think about it, we evolved to have eyelashes in order to protect our delicate mucous membranes from particles, pollutants, allergens, germs, etc. But we violate those lashes every time we use a liner or mascara – we forget their main purpose is to protect us! So sharing eye liner or mascara is a big NO.

Sharing Lip Products:

Sharing lip products (i.e. lip gloss, lipstick, etc.) is also a hard pass.  People don’t realize that bacteria and even certain viruses, including the one that causes cold sores, can survive on inanimate objects. Therefore, a cold sore virus can be spread between someone who gets cold sores and lends out their lipstick to the person borrowing the lipstick. Unfortunately, the contagious herpes simplex virus (which causes cold sores), once contracted, is something that can stay with you for your entire life. In fact, the infected person may not even have a visible sore present, but you can still contract the condition.

With lip products, bacteria can transfer through the mucus membranes of your mouth into your blood stream. Our lips are very thin and vascular, meaning there’s an extensive network of blood vessels just under the surface of the lips ready to absorb anything you apply around the mouth, including germs. That’s one of the reasons are lips are pink in hue – you can see those vessels peeking through.

While most cosmetics are made with preservatives, which are designed to kill harmful germs in your makeup, better safe than sorry! Natural and organic products tend to contain even weaker preservatives, so those are especially prone to getting contaminated even faster!

So, enjoy your beautiful and glossy products this holiday season – but once you use them, keep them all to yourself!!

Dr. Whitney

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