Beware of store makeup samples that may harbor hidden bacteria


A woman is suing the popular cosmetics store chain Sephora, claiming that she "detected the herpes virus by taking lipstick", "without noticing the risk of herpes and other diseases" when trying samples of makeup in the store .

"It is absolutely possible," Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist, told TODAY's national research correspondent Jeff Rossen. "You can catch the herpes simplex virus from an inanimate object like lipstick – in fact, that virus can survive on the surface of a lipstick tube for up to a week."

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Bowe added that it's not just herpes; Makeup samples can make you sick in many ways.

The Rossen Reports team went undercover in popular stores, collecting samples of makeup testers with sterile swabs, and then sending them to a certified microbiology laboratory for badysis. The results were revealing.

In the three stores tested by the Rossen Reports team, some samples returned with harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, two types of bacteria normally found in the intestinal tract and excreted with feces. "You could literally be applying and smearing someone else's stool directly on your lips," Bowe said.

Some samples from all three stores also tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause infections, boils, and very serious injuries, especially if it has an open cut on the skin or lips, or if it gets into the eyes.

Sephora told NBC News that "the health and safety of our customers is our top priority" and that their "testers are regularly disinfected, replaced and replenished." They also said that they follow "best practices in our stores" and "offer many other ways for customers to try products."

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Ulta said: "The health and safety of our guests is a top priority … We encourage and support the sanitary test by offering items such as disposable makeup cleaners and applicators …"

Macy & # 39; s not he wanted to comment

"If you're anxious to try, at least use makeup on the top of your hand instead of using it near the eyes or lips, because those areas are much more vulnerable to infection," Bowe said. .

If you do not want to try makeup samples in the store, experts say you can buy the product and try it at home; If you do not like it, many stores will allow you to return the item for a full refund.

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