The Unattractive Side of Cosmetic Samples

A biological sciences professor at Jefferson Medical College in Pennsylvania performed an experiment on sample make-up products found at the counters in department stores.  What she discovered may just serve as another reason to avoid those places altogether, as if you shouldn’t want to already with all that perfume and cologne being sprayed around you.  I swear, every time I walk into those stores there is a smiling teenager who wants nothing more than to blind me or ruin my taste buds for hours by spraying something in my face.  But I digress.

Her study revealed that not some, but all of the samples at every counter she tested contained the bacteria E. coli.  Not only that, others contained strep and staph bacteria strains which can cause herpes and conjunctivitis.  The highest levels of these bacteria were found during the weekend.

“Wherever you can see E. coli, you should just think ‘E. coli equals feces’,” Dr Brooks said.  “That means someone went to the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands and then stuck their fingers in that moisturizer.”

Experts recommend that anyone who does go to these counters use only the squeezable lotion dispensers or disposable applicators in order to avoid using anything that someone had previously used to sample the products.  Even if the employees behind the counter are rubbing things down with alcohol pads and doing everything that they can to prevent bacterial contamination, there is no fool proof way to eliminate everything when so many people are handling the products. 

So not only should you watch out for clouds of haphazardly sprayed perfume samples, you should absolutely make sure that you’re using an individual sample, or one that has only been used with disposable applicators.

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