Hidden dangers could be lurking in your makeup

There are hidden dangers lurking in your makeup if you are not careful. (WCHS, WVAH)

The cosmetic business is big business, but do you know what you are really putting on your face when you're buying makeup?

The Eyewitness News iTeam takes a look at hidden dangers that could be lurking in your makeup right now and the one thing you will want to do tonight.

Tabi Pontious takes two things very seriously - volleyball and her makeup.

"It's a comfort thing to have makeup on," Tabi said. "I have a bathroom to myself - every girl’s dream. I just have my makeup all lined up."

Like many young women, the freshman at West Virginia State University uses lots of different products. She said she saves everything that she has, but is also wary of what she uses.

"I read something forever ago that if it gets a certain smell, you’re supposed to replace it and my eyelashes are my favorite quality. So I'll spend any kind of money on that," Pontious said.

But how do you know when makeup is bad? Our iTeam discovered there are no laws or regulations that require makeup to have shelf life or expiration dates on their labels. So, we set out to find some answers. Let's start with mascara.

Dr. Lawrence Minardi, an ophthalmologist, said you do have to be careful with old used makeup, especially mascara.

"So the use of the mascara, you take that mascara brush and touch the lashes. So, you're likely to get some of that bacteria on the brush and put it back in the tube. So the bacteria can proliferate there," Minardi said.

The doctor goes on to say that could lead to redness of the eye conjunctivitis, a corneal ulcer which is a much more serious eye problem.

The recommendation by doctors and cosmetologists is to replace mascara every three months.

Cosmetology instructor Samantha Halstead of the Carver Career Center, said everything needs to be clean, including foundation, blush, eye shadow and lotions.

"Just keep your stuff clean,” Halstead said. “If you don't know if it's dirty, throw it away. Get something new. That way you prevent the spread of infections."

Halstead teaches her students to spritz the makeup with an alcohol or alcohol and water mixture to kill germs. That includes applicators, too.

"Honestly, just putting in soap and water. Soap and hot water are our best friend," Halstead said.

Halstead has one important piece of advice on where you keep your makeup. If you keep it out in the bathroom, move it - now.

"You don't realize that when you flush the toilet, then it spreads 6 feet in all directions. So, if you're leaving stuff laying out it's getting all that bacteria on it,” Halstead said.

Finally, be careful when you borrow or share makeup. Even if you still share makeup with a close friend.

Tabi tells her friends they can use her stuff if they use their own brushes.

"Even though I know the germs are just cross contaminating, I try to think it's not,” Tabi said.

Another piece of advice is don't store make-up where it is hot. That includes cars. Above 85 degrees and your products will start to deteriorate.

Also, many types of infections can be spread from neglecting to clean your makeup and applicators. Not doing that could pass fungal and bacterial growth back and forth.

Eye and skin infections are the most common issues from using contaminated makeup. They include, breakouts, skin irritation, staph infections, fungal infections, herpes and pink eye, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA also reports in rare cases of eye makeup misuse, some women have been temporarily blinded.

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