Your old mascara may be spoiling your looks

Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:46am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The average British woman's cosmetic bag is out of date by a worrying four years, according to a study on Wednesday.

Women are using cosmetics well past the use-by date, unaware that some products could be magnets for germs which could damage their health and looks, said Sara Stern, Director of Cosmetics at retail chain Debenhams.

"British women are famously loyal to make-up brands and products, however, their reluctance to throw away old products is a risky business," Stern said in a statement.

"We wouldn't hesitate to chuck out moldy or bacteria-ridden food and the same standards should apply to the lotions and potions and that we put on our skin. Beauty is timeless but unfortunately, products are not."

Favorite beauty essentials such as foundation, concealer, blusher, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and perfume all include a "period after opening" indicator, denoted by an open pot with the number of months of safe use written inside.

Debenhams asked 1,000 women aged 18 to 70 about the contents of their cosmetic bags and their understanding of the health considerations.

Despite European Union guidelines meaning brands have to state product shelf lives, 89 percent of respondents said they were unaware that such information exists, did not understand what the symbol meant or were unable to read the often tiny writing.

Make up, perfume and skincare products used after the expiry date carry a risk of irritation and infection, Debenhams said. This is due to air and bacteria infiltrating the products. Multiuse products carry an even higher risk as they can spread germs from eyes to skin to lips.

To add to the shock factor, 60 percent of respondents admitted they shared make-up with friends and family, multiplying the chances of infection.   Continued...

 
<p>A model gets ready before presenting a creation at the Reem Acra Spring 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week September 13, 2009. REUTERS/Kena Betancur</p>