Talk about an SAT vocabulary word worth 28 points on a Scrabble board. It’s also what could happen if your semipermanent eyelash extensions aren’t properly cleaned at the end of the night.
The glue used for false eyelashes isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, said Dr. Kim Mullinax, a dermatologist with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. The companies that manufacture the glue are not legally required to disclose the ingredients to consumers. So if the consumer gets a bacterial infection or has an allergic reaction, they have little-to-no recourse.
The American beauty industry is highly unregulated, according to the Environmental Working Group. The industry is valued at $532 billion with a big boost attributed to social media influencers and brand ambassadors in the last few years, Business Insider reported.
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It has been more than 80 years since Congress updated any federal laws designed to ensure that beauty products, also called personal care products, are safe, the EWG states.
“Under current law, cosmetic companies do not have to register with the FDA, submit cosmetic ingredient statements, adopt good manufacturing practices, provide access to safety records or report serious adverse events like hospitalization when they occur,” the EWG states. “FDA also lacks the authority to quickly suspend production or recall contaminated products when a company fails to initiate a voluntary recall.”
What makes cosmetic products different from food, drugs or medical devices — all things that go on or in human bodies? Not a thing, according to the Personal Care Products Safety Act, a bill introduced last year to “protect consumer health and strengthen the FDA’s efforts to regulate ingredients in personal care products.”
The latest bill hearing was in December by the House Subcommittee on Health. If passed, it would also require fees from manufacturers to fund the new activities.
Since there’s little federal oversight on cosmetic safety, a beauty consumer has to be vigilant. Mullinax gives the low-down on a few of the most popular beauty trends and how to best protect our face, skin and bodies while using them.
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Luxurious, long and dark eyelashes have been in fashion for decades, and false eyelashes bought at the drugstore and applied with a small glue strip are not new.
The temporary false eyelashes are meant to be worn one time and removed at the end of the night. Longer than that and you could have serious problems, Mullinax said.
“None of them are meant to be worn overnight or left on for days,” she said. “Some can be washed and reused, but not usually.”
Thanks to online makeup tutorials (and probably the Kardashians, let’s be honest), semipermanent eyelash extensions have risen in popularity. They’re typically administered by a stylist and can be made from synthetic human hair, horse hair, mink or silk.
These can be worn for two to three weeks, but they must be cleaned along with the rest of the face, Mullinax said.
Since the lashes are delicate, people may want to avoid getting them wet or washing them thoroughly. That’s a good way to get conjunctivitis AKA pink eye. Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the membrane that covers the eye; blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids.
“Since they’re glued to your lashes, it’s easy for bacteria to grab hold,” she said. “Over time, the glue either lets go and the false lashes come off or your own lash falls out. There are definitely lots of complications that can result from irritation of your eye.”
Another major concern is that eyelash glue can include formaldehyde as an ingredient, which the consumer would not know since manufacturers aren’t required to disclose that information.
In short, wash your whole face, including your eyes.
As trends change, so do necklines. Many formal dresses and other outfits do not afford the use of a traditional bra. Hence the rise of breast adhesives.
Last year, Kim Kardashian West introduced Body Tape, a breast adhesive product, on her SKIMS clothing and product line. Body Tape can be used for outfits that don’t really work with bras and has been specifically engineered for human skin.
Before using any adhesive for an extended period, know your skin’s sensitivity. Don’t ever use products that aren’t made for human skin, such as duct tape or gaffer tape.
Mullinax said people who have reactions to Band-Aids and adhesive tape should not use these products, especially on tender areas like the breast. Before using it on a sensitive area, try it out on the inside of your elbow.
Also, do not leave the tape on for too long for risk of blisters and irritation. When removing, use warm, soapy water to soften it first and pull gently.
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So, you’re being responsible and washing your face at the end of the night — go you! But those alcohol-based face wipes are not your best friend.
Preservatives abound in makeup remover wipes which are harbingers for bacteria, Mullanix said.
When removing makeup, stick to mild soap or try a micellar water cleansing water, which has an oil-based end and a water-based end and is formulated to gently remove cosmetics.
“Pick one with the shortest list of ingredients, so there’s a lower chance of you being allergic,” Mullanix said. “One that doesn’t have a lot of fragrance and is hypoallergenic.”
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