Nine out of 10 women are putting their health and looks at risk by applying makeup past its use-by date, a survey shows.
Most are unaware that their lipstick or mascara can be a hothouse for bacteria which can cause infections when the makeup is applied.
Others deliberately hang on to their favorite cosmetic products longer than they should because, for example, the line has been withdrawn from sale.
Experts from the College of Optometrists found that despite recommendations to throw away mascara after three to six months, 92 percent of women admit to keeping it for longer.
Nearly two-thirds questioned were using eye makeup that was more than two years old.
The worst offenders were those in their late 30s and early 40s, of whom one in five uses eye makeup that is more than five years old.
For women who don't have much time in front of the mirror before leaving home in the morning, applying a quick coat of mascara on the train or bus can be most dangerous of all.
Scratching the eye with a mascara wand is the most common injury from makeup and can lead to eye infections.
The risk of infection is heightened by the tendency to share makeup. Over a third of women under 24 admitted to sharing mascara with friends, for example, on a night out.
Dr. Susan Blakeney, optometric adviser to the college, believes women don't realize the danger in their makeup bags. Mascara can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so its not surprising we've found nearly half of women suffer from itchy, watery and red eyes when they are holding onto their eye makeup for so long and sharing it among their friends, she said. The irony is that eye infections are not a pretty sight. Most women are either unaware of or simply ignoring manufacturers recommended use-by-dates. The good news is that by taking a little bit more care with your makeup and beauty regime, it's easy to reduce the risk of eye infections. It's not as if women need any extra incentive to keep their makeup bags updated with the latest ranges. Manufacturers have also raised the appeal of toiletries and cosmetics by combining them with moisturizers and anti-aging creams. Perhaps it is because women are now constantly topping up their makeup bags with new products that they never actually finish any older products, said Dr. Blakeney. These older cosmetics lie around for years, each one a little hothouse for bacteria. European Union legislation requires makeup to be labeled with a date of minimum durability, but there is no statutory definition of how long a product remains usable. However, cosmetics experts say that smell, appearance and even taste can be good signs of when a product is past its prime. Keeping lids firmly screwed on and storing makeup away from sunlight is also advised. Source: Daily Mail; London (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. Powered by Yellowbrix.