Health Advice



Give your makeup a makeover

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Ancient Egyptians -- both men and women -- smudged dark kohl under their eyes and applied henna to their skin. Ironically, while a lot of this makeup contained toxic levels of lead, the heavy metal also helped ward off bacterial infections and may have kept King Tut from getting sick.

Today, things are reversed. While cosmetics are lead-free, many can act as vectors for potentially serious infections. A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that 79% to 90% of in-use makeup has become contaminated with infectious microbes, including E.coli, staphylococci and fungi, which can trigger rashes, skin and respiratory infections or gastro distress that may become antimicrobial-resistant.

How does this happen? Many users don't make sure their hands are clean before applying makeup and they never clean sponges and brushes used to apply makeup; 64% said they drop them on the floor and reuse them without a thought! Foam sponges are especially vulnerable since they absorb moisture that can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

To avoid infections, clean cosmetic brushes and sponges with soap and warm water frequently. Avoid dipping fingers directly into bottles or onto powders/blushes, as that can introduce bacteria into the product. Also, be mindful of makeup's expiration date. Foundations are generally good for less than a year. Eye makeup like mascara and eyeliner should be replaced every four months to avoid eye infections. Lipstick and lip gloss should be replaced every six months or more often. Finally, trust your senses. If something seems off, toss it.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Clay Bennett Hi and Lois Working it Out Mike Lester Crankshaft Take It From The Tinkersons