There’s never a shortage of negatives when it comes to cosmetic solutions in the beauty industry. From the importance of keeping your applicators and brushes clean to knowing how makeup is breaking down your skin, there’s a cautionary asterisk attached to every label, which is why we taught you how to read them for what they are, in the first place.

One such alarming fact is that your lip gloss and mascara tubes could be plagued by contagious contaminators. A recent study indicated that 79 percent of mascara tubes had staph bacteria. What was even more disturbing was that 86 percent of women in the study admitted to using mascara, well past its prime.

Staph bacteria are otherwise harmless, and are commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even the most healthiest individuals, but can sometimes pose a serious threat if they enter your body through the bloodstream, into the joints, bones, lungs, heart, or any other sites.

They can be contagious and travel through lesions and cuts on the skin, which is why, ensuring that your makeup and its tools are regularly replaced and sanitized is of utmost importance. Given the multiple open crevices on your skin (hair follicles, pores, lesions), contracting an infection through shared makeup is a serious risk.

The severity of the bacteria can be seen in the case of 27-year-old mother of one, Jo Gilchrist, who has been rendered paralyzed after using a friend’s makeup brush. Gilchrist contracted community-associated MRSA—a form of staph that has damaged her spine so severely that she will never walk again, and will never regain control over her bowel or bladder function either.

Read More:
The Morning After: How Alcohol Takes A Toll On Your Skin
(Learn How To) Read The Label: Skincare Glossary
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Charlene Flanagan is a lifestyle journalist whose love for language drove her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English literature, as well as pursue her Masters in Arts. Over the last five years, she’s contributed to a number of leading publications, and has particularly enjoyed reviewing books and restaurants, as well as interviewing celebrities. Her recent switch to a holistic lifestyle has her looking at her food choices very differently—although she won’t admit it. When she’s not busy writing up about workouts, home remedies, and skincare essentials, she spends her time being the quintessential city girl who’s excited to see what life has in store for her.