Annie Lunnon | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Your Old Make-Up Could Give You Meningitis

Your Old Make-Up Could Give You Meningitis

The Debrief: Your out of date lipstick could be producing gross – and dangerous – bacteria

We’ve always been told to throw away our make-up as soon as it goes out of date or starts to look a bit gross. Now, science has proved your make-up is a breeding ground for a load of horrendous and life-threating bacteria, so be 100% ruthless and throw all those old blushers out.

Scientists at the London Metropolitan University tested a variety of out of date make-up products and compared them with one that was in date. The results were totally gross and made us want to throw away our lipsticks the moment they go out of date.

Here's a definitely-not-definitive list of what bacteria you might find and what it can do:

Enterococcus faecalis

Microbiologist Paul Matewele says, ‘All the old make-up products of foundation, lip gloss and lipstick tested positive for Enterococcus faecalis under strict laboratory tests.’

This one just happens to be one of the main causes of meningitis. Gulp.


Causes urinary and respiratory tract infections and in some cases pneumonia.

Pseudomas Aeruginosa

This one normally lives on mascara wands, and can harm soft eye tissues. It can cause inflammation, rashes and occasionally sepsis. 

Staphylococcus Epidermidis

Even though this is found naturally on human skin, it is resistant to antibiotics and causes problems for those with immune system issues. It can affect the intestines, as well as causing infections.


This can cause bacterial vaginosis and aeromonas which leads to gastroenteritis and wound infections.

Online beauty retailer commissioned the study, with their CEO Rakesh Aggarwal saying, ‘If you think about it, you wouldn’t keep food for months after the use by date so why should this be acceptable for cosmetics.’

Basically, keeping your old make-up is disgusting and can actually be harmful. Just chuck it out. 

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Tags: Beauty Chat, Health