Can Storing Your Beauty Sponges In The Bathroom Put You At Risk For Serious Illness?
In 2019, an article was published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology titled Microbiological Study of Used Cosmetic Products: Highlighting possible impact on consumer health.
The aim of the study was to “investigate the nature and extent of microbial contamination in five categories of used cosmetic products” (lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliners, mascaras and beauty blenders) and highlighted the potential risk posed to consumers in the UK.
A total of 467 makeup products across five cosmetic categories (lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliners, mascaras and beauty blenders) were donated in order to investigate the extent of microbial contamination.
To determine the duration the used donated makeup products were used, information was collected using a questionnaire. The cosmetics products were subsequently tested and microbial load for each cosmetic category were measured.
This well-publicized study revealed that “significant levels of microbial contamination” were found in the used cosmetics products with beauty blenders being significantly more contaminated that the other four product categories.
The study was undertaken in the UK, hence, the findings are particular to the United Kingdom. It’s worth noting the study highlighted that “unsanitary practices were observed largely in beauty blenders with 35.6% of beauty blender samples being used or stored in the bathroom and had been dropped on the floor.”
It is not uncommon for consumers of cosmetics to apply beauty products in the bathroom. Hence, one can infer that findings, similar to that of the study, would be found among users of beauty sponges globally who use and store their beauty sponges in the bathroom.
Is Toilet Plume The Culprit?
These findings raise questions as to whether there is an association between a universal phenomenon in bathrooms called “toilet plume” and microbial contamination of beauty sponges. Toilet plume is the airborne dispersal of microscopic particles created by the flush of a toilet.
The first report of “bioaerosol transmission” or toilet plume was reported in 1950. C.U. Jensen of Copenhagen “seeded” different types of toilets with Serratia marcescens and measured toilet plume (bioaerosol) after flushing. Microscopic particles created by the flush were measured by placing “settle plates” on the floor of the bathroom. Air-based microscopic particles were measured using a “bourdillion slit impactor.” As reported by Jenson, beyond collected microbes in the “settle plates”, microbes were still being captured from the air eight minutes after flush.
Returning to the Aston University study, it was revealed that “beauty blenders had been dropped on the floor.” This revelation would lead one to conclude that dropped beauty sponges came into contact with the toilet plume that settled on the floor and subsequently came into contact with airborne particles post-flush.
The mechanisms of toilets are far more advanced today than they were in 1950. Furthermore, the material beauty sponges were manufactured from in the 1950’s is very different from what is on the market today.
Modern beauty sponges are manufactured using hydrophilic polyurethane. Hydrophilic polyurethane is a foam with an open-cell structure that has an affinity to water; an ideal host for flush-induced bacterial mist.
Toilet plume and the Coronavirus
A recent study conducted in 2020 examining the physics of fluids, investigated whether “flushing-induced turbulent flow expel aerosol particles containing coronavirus particles out of the bowl.” The rationale for the study was based upon reported cases of COVID-19 accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. The aforementioned COVID-19 related symptoms indicated that the coronavirus can survive in the digestive track.
Simulation studies have confirmed the “massive upward transport of virus particles” with 40%-60% of particles reaching above the toilet seat, [subsequently] leading to large-scale virus spread.” If that is not reason to properly store your beauty sponges and any other personal-hygiene related tool stored in the bathroom, then what is?
These finding show that even if you wash your beauty sponge with an antibacterial soap and subsequently microwave it, completely dry it and store your exposed beauty sponges in the bathroom, if you don’t close the lid when you flush the toilet, it’s highly likely that your beauty sponges as well as other personal care items in your bathroom will be exposed to toilet plume.
Beauty sponge contamination prevention
What can you do to minimize the risk of your beauty sponges being exposed to toilet plume? Well for one, close the lid before your flush. Alternatively, you can store your personal care items in areas that reduce the likelihood of them coming in contact with toilet plume.
An ideal approach to storing your beauty sponges is the Beauty Sponge Sachet®. The Beauty Sponge Sachet® is the only all-in-one maintenance system for beauty sponges. The sachet, which eliminates single-use packaging, is constructed from a three-dimensional air mesh treated with the antimicrobial ionic silver. The sachet inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Furthermore, you can wash, dry and store your beauty sponges in the sachet.
To learn more about the Beauty Sponge Sachet® visit www.beautyspongesachet.eu.