Protect Your Eyes While Sampling Cosmetics

Even as cosmetics attract greater scrutiny by the FDA, women may have developed an eye infection, once upon a time, merely by sampling them at their neighborhood department store or salon, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).

Even a spokeswoman for the AOA developed a sty, the small lump that develops on an eyelid near the lash line, after a local TV station artist did her makeup prior to an interview. The likely culprit: The bacteria present in the makeup used by many people or the artist's hands.

You may not be interviewed on TV anytime soon, but the chances are pretty good you've likely exposed your body to germs while sampling cosmetics or, perhaps, while having a makeover done at a salon. And, pinkeye can be particularly contagious, especially during the winter season.

If you buy your cosmetics at the mall or any other specialty store, here's some simple safety measures your salesperson should take to protect your eyes and health:

  • Ensuring their hands are clean before letting them assist you, and nothing works better than plain soap and water.
  • Using disposable brushes and wands to apply makeup.
  • When sampling eyeliners, pencils should be disinfected and sharpened before they are used.

USA Today January 3, 2007