Skin hygiene and cleaning make-up tools & accessories must always be thorough.

Whenever we touch our face with our hands or make-up tools, we spread germs that can sometimes be pathogenic.

Very often we do not realise it, but the consequences can be really unpleasant: skin infections such as folliculitis, impetigo, and warts can occur.

The pathogenic bacteria that most frequently cause these skin diseases are streptococci and staphylococci, but sometimes even fungi and viruses can cause problems.

Hands are the part of the body that we use the most, we touch everything without even thinking about it, and then we touch our face or, worse still, apply moisturising or anti-wrinkle creams, foundation and other make-up with our hands.In this way we contaminate not only the skin but also the cosmetics that we use every day.

The skin has its own antimicrobial defences and cosmetic products contain preservatives to reduce the contamination from yeasts, moulds and bacteria, under normal conditions of use, and therefore within certain limits.In cosmetics, the greater the presence of water, the greater the probability of microbial growth and multiplication.The continuous opening and contamination with fingers and/or various objects could compromise the microbiological stability.

We are able to outline a series of hygiene rules to avoid problems with the use of cosmetics.

The first rule to prevent skin irritation and infections is:

always wash your hands before touching the skin and before applying any cream or make-up product.

The second rule is:

always wash your face before applying cosmetics and before applying make-up. By doing so we also remove dirt, smog, excess sebum and germs from the skin’s surface.If we apply any cosmetic on unclean skin, we would only create favourable conditions for irritations, allergies, infections and pimples.

The third rule is:

avoid, if possible, directly touching or picking up the cosmetic product with your handsin order to reduce the likelihood of microbial contamination. In particular, make-up requires the use of special tools and accessories (brushes, sponges, etc.), both for more accurate application and to reduce the risk of contamination of the product itself. These tools, however, are also likely to become a real haven for germs if we do not clean them regularly or do not replace them from time to time, a bit like we do with our toothbrush. Traces of make-up, cell debris, sebum and germs always accumulate on brushes and sponges.These can become a source of skin infections too.

The fourth rule is:

after use, remove the excess product from brushes and sponges using clean paper towel, a wet wipe, or by simply shaking it. Brushes can also be cleaned with an alcohol wet wipe to remove excess product faster and better. If brushes are dirty, it will also be difficult to apply products like foundation or powder and the make-up will not be uniform. Furthermore, this will ruin the tool itself, the bristles will become stiffer and tend to irritate the skin, especially if sensitive.

How do we clean other tools & accessories or make-up products like lipsticks, mascara and pencils or concealer sticks?

Lipsticks and concealer sticks can be cleaned by removing a thin layer with an alcohol wet wipe.

Your mascara brush must be washed at least with water before putting it back inside its container, in order to remove the excess product

Pencils can be cleaned after use, by sharpening them in order to remove the outer layer and remake the tip.

The fifth rule is:

on a regular basis, thoroughly clean brushes, sponges and other make-up tools & accessories.At least once a week.Everyday if you have skin infections.

Brushes and sponges must be washed properly at least once a week.You can clean them with liquid neutral soap or diluted shampoo.Brushes can also be immersed for a few minutes in a glass of ethyl alcohol to dissolve and remove the oily residues and disinfect them better.

There are also alcohol-based sprays to clean brushes and pencils available on the market.

It is always a good idea to remove excess alcohol and/or water with a clean towel and allow them to air dry properly.Place the brushes flat on paper towel, never vertically with the tip pointing up, otherwise water can stagnate at the base of the brush and promote bacterial proliferation.

The sixth rule is:

 Replace brushes and sponges from time to time.At least each month.

The seventh rule is:

Do not share cosmetics and make-up with friends.
This is to prevent the transmission of bacterial and/or viral infections.

The eighth rule is:

If you have a skin infection or suffer from acne with papules and pustules, you need to clean and disinfect the make-up tools & accessories after every use.

In particular, in case of infectious conjunctivitis, mascara and pencils must always be replaced.

The ninth rule is:

Pay attention to product expiry dates.

The expiry date after opening (PAO) is indicated on the product packaging.It indicates, approximately, the moment in which the cosmetic will lose its chemical and microbiological stability after opening: we will notice that the cream no longer appears homogeneous, or some components will be oxidised and degraded, and the cosmetic will present colour and odour variations.

Let’s use our precious cosmetics and make-up tools in the best way possible to make our skin healthier and more beautiful.And to avoid problems, let’s follow these 9 simple hygiene rules.


Autohr: Dott. Francesco Antonaccio

Website: https://www.dermatologoparma.com/

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