When to throw away makeup

Many women wonder when to throw away makeup and what are signs that there may be contamination.  The type of makeup and how it is handled will make a difference in how quickly it expires.  A good rule of thumb is to replace all of your liquid makeup every 3 months and dry makeup every 18 months.  But makeup is expensive, and who wants to throw away a perfectly good product?

The first indicator that makeup should be thrown away is the expiration date, if there is one.  Some manufacturers put expiration dates on packaging as a general guideline for the shelf life of the product, however it is not required.  Even when they are there, makeup expiration dates are commonly ignored.  Unfortunately, many women are putting themselves at risk for infection by using old makeup.  Depending on the type of makeup and how it is stored and used, makeup can grow bacteria long before the recommended expiration date.

Makeup that is a water-based type will grow bacteria more quickly than the dry powdery makeup.  Moisture and oxygen are what bacteria need to grow.  When those two things are present, you can assume bacteria is beginning to grow.  Makeup with applicators, like mascara, tends to introduce bacteria after the first couple of uses.  When the applicator touches your eye, it can pick up bacteria.  When the applicator is pumped up and down in the bottle, oxygen is introduced and bacteria can easily begin to grow.

It is important to pay attention to the condition of your makeup and dispose of it as soon as it starts to clump or separate, as these are signs of possible bacteria contamination.  Dry powdery makeup can also clump and show signs of moisture.  This is a good indication that it is time to throw it away.

Contaminated cosmetics can cause bacterial conjunctivitis or a stye, an inflamed oil gland on the edge of the eyelid.  The infection is not pretty and must be treated by a physician.  Help prevent bacterial infections by buying smaller containers of makeup and replacing it more frequently.

Resouces: Today.com, How Stuff Works.com

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