Model Anthea Page shared her experience contracting a staph infection from a dirty makeup brush, and all we can say is: yikes!

By Julia Malacoff
Updated: October 19, 2016

Cleaning your makeup brushes is one of those things you always hear you're supposed to do, but not everyone does it. And how many times have you used a tester at a cosmetics store without cleaning it first? Or grabbed a swipe of a friend's mascara? Chances are, you've probably done something similar once or twice. Well, model Anthea Page made a pretty convincing case for why you should always clean your brushes regularly when she posted an Instagram photo of a staph infection she contracted after having her makeup done for a fashion show. (Here, how to apply makeup in the most hygienic way, according to a makeup artist.)

According to The Mayo Clinic, staph infections are caused by staphylococcus, a super commonly found bacteria. Sometimes, the bacteria causes an infection of the skin, and can be treated easily with antibiotics most of the time. It is possible, however, for a staph infection to escalate and become deadly if it's left untreated or if it spreads to the lungs, bloodstream, joints, bones, or heart. So yeah, they can get pretty serious.

In a lengthy caption that she called "a letter to makeup artists and those getting their makeup done," Page explained that she observed some not-so-hygienic practices from the makeup artists while she was getting her makeup done. "I do feel my safety concerns were dismissed as if it was part of my job to put up with these unhealthy conditions," she continued. After a visit to the doctor who diagnosed her infection, Page said she wanted to share her story in order to bring more awareness to the issue of makeup hygiene and warn others about what can happen when products are shared. (And apparently, this isn't the first time this has happened to her, either.) "If you are getting your makeup done or using any testers, check everything has been cleaned to your standard even if someone scoffs at your concerns."

Generally, experts recommend cleaning your personal makeup brushes once or twice per week using a gentle cleanser of your choice, depending on the type of brush. Not only will this help you avoid infections, but it will also decrease your chances of breaking out and prolong the life of your brushes. Score! If you're heading to the makeup counter for a touch-up, make sure you use the sanitization tools available. (Stores like Sephora will either have them on the counter or will provide them if you ask.) When you're having your makeup done before a big event (lucky!), be sure that you see your artist clean the brushes they're using in between clients. Even if you feel silly asking, it's better than risking an infection!

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