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There's WHAT in Expired Cosmetics?

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A recent examination of beauty products that were near or past their use-by dates detected the presence of several harmful, or even lethal, bacteria.*

The study, conducted at London Metropolitan University at the request of retailer Escentual.com, was led by Dr. Paul Matewele, senior lecturer in biomedical science.

Over three weeks, Matewele studied a range of mass market ("high street") and designer foundations, lip glosses and lipsticks. Under strict laboratory tests, all tested positive for Enterococcus faecalis, which can cause ailments such as meningitis, endocarditis and bacteremia, and urinary tract infections.

The other bacteria detected were:

  • Eubacterium, which causes bacterial vaginosis
  • Aeromonas, which can be a cause of gastroenteritis and wound infections
  • Staphlyoccocus epidermidis, which is resistant to antibiotics and can infect patients with catheters or surgical implants
  • Propionibacterium, which can cause acne and other skin conditions
  • Enterobacter, which can cause urinary and respiratory tract infections

*It should be noted that the reported work revealed the presence of the bacteria but did not specify whether they were in fact present at harmful levels. This is a potentially significant caveat.

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