Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Keeping Personal Items Personal

We love to share great times, secrets, and thoughts with our loved ones. But when it comes to our personal makeup and beauty items, they need to be kept personal. These seemingly harmless items can become a vector for passing germs—Staph infections, herpes simplex virus, fungus, hepatitis, the seasonal flu—from one person to the next. Sharing is caring, except when it comes to germs!

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Keeping Personal Items Personal:

• Many of us can recall the famous argument on Seinfeld where George Castanza was confronted for double-dipping. He was at a funeral, dipped a chip in a bowl of dip, took a bite off the chip, and then dipped it back in the bowl. Germs—bacteria and even fungus–can be transferred from our hands into these jars on the first “dip.” And the thick consistency of these items are similar to that of a Petri dish. Some solutions to allow our loved ones to moisturize include transferring the product into a pump dispenser, spooning a small portion into a travel jar and washing it regularly, or using a spatula or spoon to share.

• This is an absolute NO-NO! Our mouths are dirtier than a toilet in terms of the number of bacteria per square inch as well as the types of bacteria. It is estimated that our mouths contain 600-some different species of bacteria! Herpes simplex virus—the organism responsible for those pesky cold sores can also be transmitted through lip gloss. Additionally with flu season in full swing and the common cold always a clear and present danger, we want to stay away from lip gloss, lip balms (including chapsticks), drinking after someone, or sharing utensils. The solution: just say no!

• Our lashes were meant for more than batting our eyes. They were designed to keep debris and germs out of them. Sharing mascara can lead to the transfer of a number of germs, including those that cause pink eye and keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea. It can even cause herpes simplex virus. Although it usually clears without any permanent problems, in some instances it can cause scarring to the transparent front part of they eye (the cornea) which can lead to permanent loss of vision. Solution: DON’T DO IT. No one ever got hurt from not having killer lashes.

• This may surprise some: when we pluck a hair, bleeding may occur. As we know blood contains bad bacteria such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, to name a few. We should never share personal items such as tweezers, razors, or nailcutters. The solution is to pick up some disposable razors the next time you are at the store. If you are at a salon, make sure that they observe proper disinfecting technique.

• This reminds me of a quote by Denis Waitley: “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” Let’s share a smile often, but when it comes to sharing toothbrushes: “fuggedaboutit.” A reminder, our mouths are dirtier than a toilet. So if you think you want to clean your mouth, do it, but not with someone else’s toothbrush. The solution: pick up a few extra toothbrushes the next time you are at the store. And in general, make sure to get a new toothbrush every 2-3 months so we can keep our pearly whites shining.

Ann Landers stated: “Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, SHARING and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” Let’s choose to smile, forgive, love, and share….while keeping our personal items, personal.

Click here to watch Dr. Nina discuss the 5 Things You Should Never Share in Your Makeup Kit.

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Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.