December 18, 2019Skincare

Tis the Season to Share Warmth and Cheer . . . Not Your Makeup!

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