Sharing skin care products with friends will likely do more harm than good. It is only natural for skin care products to come in contact with germs and bacteria; on each square centimeter of your skin, there are about 1,500 bacteria. Individual products invite unique problems for both you and your friend.
What to Avoid Sharing
Items to particularly avoid sharing include anything in a jar, lip products, eye products and makeup, and applicators. Skin and beauty products may come into contact with bodily fluids including tears, mucus, saliva, blood, or pus.
Jars lack airtight packaging and can become an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Dipping an additional set of germs from the second pair of hands into a jar of the product can wreak havoc on both your friend’s skin and your own. Lip products are vulnerable to touching saliva and therefore vulnerable to carrying infection. Lip products such as lip gloss specifically present a risk: a contaminated wand is contained in a wet environment and when shared can contribute to the spread of the herpes simplex virus. Because mascara is held in a closed container and is applied using a wand, you should avoid sharing mascara and other eye makeup for similar reasons. Eyelids and lashes contain their own bacteria and sharing eye products may cause pink eye, herpes simplex, and keratitis – an inflammation of the cornea. Applicators such as brushes, lash curlers, sponges, and tweezers absorb and come into contact with bacteria. Oftentimes, brushes and sponges are forgotten to be cleaned, thus increasing the chances of bacteria being spread.
Products Vary with Skin Type
Every individual has a unique skin type and while a certain skin or beauty product may work for one friend, it may not be suitable for the other. Several common skin types include normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive. While it is inadvisable to share skin products because it may lead to infection and the spread of germs, your friend’s products may also not be suited for your skin type. Sharing products could lead to acne or contact dermatitis — a red, itchy rash or an allergic reaction caused by direct contact with a substance.
Each skin type requires a separate skin care approach. Those with a normal skin type typically have smaller pores and do not tend to get oily or dry skin often. They usually have an even skin tone and do not experience many blemishes or wrinkles. Still, those with a normal skin type should be cautious of drying products like chemical peels and harsh cleansers and scrubs. Individuals with a normal skin type may benefit from using retinoids, glycolic acid, and skin-calmers for fine lines, dark spots, and blotchy skin. If you have dry skin, avoid using foaming cleansers, clay or charcoal masks, and products that contain alcohol. Cream cleansers, replenishing moisturizers, and products containing lactic acid may help retain the moisture your skin needs. If you have oily skin, avoid using facial oils, oil-based creams, and abrasive scrubs. Products that are water-based and gel moisturizers will likely work better for your skin; if you struggle with acne, salicylic acid may help diminish blemishes without over-drying and increasing oil production.
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