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We’re all guilty of indulging in a few bad habits every now and then. But when it comes to your makeup routine, there are things you might be doing that you didn’t even know could be harmful to you. Here, we’ve rounded up some common makeup habits that can cause major damage to your skin—and your health.
Sharing Makeup with a Friend
You share clothes and jewelry with your BFF—so why not that flattering-on-everyone lipstick you love…right? Wrong—very, very wrong. Sharing your favorite lip color with your besite could lead to something nasty—and we’re not talking about getting upset when she doesn’t return it to you. “Sharing makeup with a friend comes the risk of infection,” says David Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. “In sharing eyeliners and lipsticks, you can run the risk of contracting viral infections such as conjunctivitis and cold sores.” Oh, and one Australian woman claims she got a staph infection—that has left her in a wheelchair permanently—from using her friend’s makeup brush.
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Using Expired Makeup
“Expiration dates exist for a reason, and most people don’t throw out products when they should,” says Bank. So just as you’d trash milk that’s past its prime, you should also toss that mascara or lipstick or whatever other product you’ve had forever. You run the risk of getting an infection like pink eye or unwanted skin irritation if you use something that’s expired since products can start to harbor bacteria. Most products have a symbol on them that will tell you how long it’s good for once you’ve opened it. Mascara and liner generally have the shortest shelf life (Rebecca Taylor, M.D., an ophthalmologist and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, recommends getting rid of them after three months).
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Sleeping with Your Makeup On
Too tired to take your makeup off at night? You could be waking up to big problems in the morning, as regularly snoozing in your foundation can do a number on both your skin and your eyes. “Sleeping in your makeup can lead to clogged pores, but it can also cause eye irritation, as well,” says Bank. “When you toss and turn your head throughout the night, traces of makeup can migrate into the eye.” Eye makeup contains oils and waxes, and as the products sit on the eye overnight, those ingredients can block glands, resulting in bumps on the skin around your eye, or even a stye, says Taylor.
Getting Lash Extensions
“Some lash glues contain formaldehyde, which can irritate the eyes,” says Taylor. “If applied poorly, extensions can cause lashes to become brittle and break off.” That being said, getting lash extensions can be perfectly safe as long as you take the right precautions. Taylor recommends not overusing extensions, which can lead to hair loss, researching where you schedule your appointment to ensure you’re going somewhere safe, and doing a patch test to determine if you’re allergic to any extension glue.
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Applying Eyeliner to Your Waterline
“Your eyes have their own set of natural bacteria, and by using eyeliner pencils, you can introduce foreign bacteria,” explains Taylor. “To avoid infection and clogged oil glands, don’t line your inner rims or waterline [inside your lash line].” In fact, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Waterloo, researchers found that 15 to 30 percent more particles of liner moved into the eye’s protective layer—the tear film—when people applied eyeliner here, as opposed to outside the lash line. Talk about gross.