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When was the last time you tossed your cosmetics?
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When was the last time you tossed your cosmetics?

I would bet that you have a makeup bag and that bag contains all kinds of makeup, many of which are years old or have never been opened.  But did you know that cosmetics may be detrimental to your health?  Some of those unexplained symptoms, such as running nose, puffy eyes, or rashes may be a result of the makeup.  We don’t often think about how important our skin is, but it is the largest organ!  And, it does absorb ingredients. 
So how long should you keep cosmetics?  The standard of the cosmetic industry is 3 years from the date of manufacture.  That isn’t a regulation, but a recommendation, so your guess is as good as mine as to the enforcement of this.  The Food and Drug Administration do mandate that over-the-counter products such as sunscreens, and antiperspirants have the expiration date written clearly on the package, unless, of course, that time frame is 3 years.

How can you tell if what you are using is a cosmetic or drug?  The US. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines cosmetics as articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beatifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structures or function. Those products that claim to change the structure or function of any part of the body or to treat or prevent disease is considered a drug and comes under a very restrictive act of drug regulations.  Some of the ingredients in many of the foundations, anti-aging compounds may be included in that, so be aware.

What should you know about possible hazards? Bacteria, such as pseudomonas aeruginosa, can contaminate mascara and can infect the eye, especially if the cornea is scratched upon application.  Those wearing contact lenses are also vulnerable.  Coal tar dyes, a major coloring agent in makeup, can result in dermatitis and skin cancer.  And let’s not forget aluminum, a known toxin, which may be found in makeup and lipsticks.  Preservatives methyl and propyl paraben, ingredients that people are learning more about, allow for traditional cosmetics a longer shelf life.

So how long is too long?

Discard after 3 months:  mascara
 
Discard after 6 months: Concealer, Foundation, cream or liquid
 
Discard after 12 months: Lipstick, lipstick pencil, gloss, balm, eye shadow, eye pencil, blush, pressed or loose powder
 
Discard when expiration date listed on product:  Cleanser, Moisturizer, Moisturizer with sunscreen, and Toner.
 
Scary isn’t it?
 
Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

1.       Don’t share your makeup with anyone
2.       Keep your makeup out of the sun and heat and don’t keep a bag in the car.
3.       Throw away any eye makeup that you were using if you developed an eye infection.  Same goes for any mouth infections; throw gloss, lipstick, or chapped lip product.
4.       Do you see a color change in your lipstick, blush, or foundation?  Throw it away.  Same if you smell something different.
5.       Be careful not to inhale powders.
6.       Don’t drive and put makeup on.  How many times have you seen this?
7.       Keep your brushes clean.  Soap and water are fine.
 
If all of this just seems overwhelming and a bit much, there are a couple of apps that can help you stay organized.  Expiry Wiz and Beauty Keeper may just help you do that.   And, if all that is too much to worry about, consider replacing all your cosmetics one time a year.  Now you know what that Christmas money can buy.

Until next time,

Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.

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