Tuesday, 24 June 2008 09:36

Acne Safeguards: Preventing Cross-Contamination

Written by   Maurice Stein

The exact cause of acne is not known. It is one of the most common skin disorders and can affect teenagers and adults. Acne occurs when the skin's pores are blocked. Certain factors can worsen the condition, such as cosmetic and skin care products that contain oils and petroleum jelly or using make-up tools (brushes, sponges, spatulas and palettes) that have not been properly cleaned and sterilized, subsequently transferring bacteria onto the skin and into the pores.

Having worked in the film and TV industry for 40 years and on some of Hollywood's most expensive faces, keeping the skin bacteria-free starts with eliminating any cross-contamination of product to skin via the tools being used. When working with someone with acne, whether moderate or severe, keeping the skin free of bacteria is extremely important, especially if the skin is inflamed or has any lesions. One vital rule is not to use the hands when applying make-up, as contamination begins when bacteria from the fingers is transferred to facial areas. It's a similar contamination when a brush is placed into a container, then used on the skin and placed back into the container. Even if only one person is using the container, there is still bacteria contamination and growth. The problem is magnified when the same container of blush, eye shadow, foundation, lipstick and mascara is used by several people.

Some of the tools I recommend to cosmetology students taking my courses and those with skin conditions, such as acne, is how to effectively remove make-up from its container. A stainless steel spatula is highly recommended, as make-up can be easily washed off the spatula and the spatula sterilized for reuse. A metal palette is the best, as it has the least chance of bacteria build-up. Glass and plastic tend to be porous and a breeding ground for bacteria. When applying foundation, a professional pre-cut non-latex cosmetic sponge is recommended. You can cover a wider area faster and the make-up will look smoother and more natural. Sponges are easy to wash, but because they are inexpensive I suggest throwing them away after each use. This is very important when applying make-up to someone with acne, whether there's skin lesions or not, as you want to be absolutely certain that there is no risk of bacteria transfer. Brushes are another matter. They are often expensive, so I recommend dipping them in a professional brush cleaner that will sterilize and condition and remove all make-up residues from the hairs. Allow to air dry 3-5 minutes before reusing. This should be done after each use, whether applying blush, eye shadow, or lipstick. When applying eye shadow, I prefer brushes over sponge applicators, as the bacteria count on a sponge wand that's been used over and over again is tremendous and has a greater potential of infecting or irritating the eyes. The eyes are one of the most vulnerable areas for infections and a brush applicator will safeguard and reduce the transfer of bacteria and old make-up to the eye region. When applying mascara, I use a mascara fan brush rather than a disposable. This particular brush does not allow for any clumping and will do a much better job of coating and separating the lashes. This brush can also be dipped into a professional brush cleaner after each use. People with acne are more prone to bacteria, even from lashes. If the mascara wand has not been properly sterilized, bacteria can migrate from the wand, to the lashes, to other areas of the face. Bacteria do not stay in one localized area. Bacteria moves around and to a person with acne, this can be an open invitation for bacteria build-up in the pores, causing eruptions.
To properly clean and sterilize your brushes after each use, first remove all excess make-up with a clean cloth or disposable tissue. It's important not to dip the brush into the main supply of your cleaner, as this will contaminate your cleaner and cross-contaminate your brush. This will also loosen and release remaining residue of make-up into the container. I recommend pouring some cleaner into a separate (and clean) container. Dip the tip of the brush into the solution, remove it quickly and wipe on a clean towel or tissue. This forces the liquid up the center of the brush to the outside and will properly remove any excess make-up. Let air dry for 3-5 minutes.
When purchasing cosmetics in a salon, spa or department store, or before having any make-up applied by a make-up artist, ask if the product has been properly protected against cross-contamination. You can usually tell by looking. Finger marks in a container is not a good sign. Make-up on display for the consumer should be kept covered with a clean non-porous top and any tools used in transferring make-up from a container to skin should either be discarded after use or thoroughly cleaned before reusing. Eye products should be in clean pots with protective see-through covers so that color can be seen and not exposed to the environment. This will add additional safeguard measures against contamination. These are extremely important steps and especially for those with acne and other skin-related problems where the skin needs protection against harmful bacteria.

Old make-up is another threat. People should be aware that make-up does not last forever. Twelve months is long enough to keep any cosmetic. Oxidation causes changes, body oils cause changes. Even if paying a high dollar amount for a blush, 12 months is long enough to use it. One trip to the dermatologist is going to cost you a far greater amount.

Maurice Stein is a leading educator in all areas of cross-contamination. He's a 40 year veteran of the film and television industry and considered one of Hollywood's premier elite make-up artists. In 1985 he launched Cinema Secrets in Burbank, CA for industry make-up artists, cosmetologists and the general public. As an entrepreneur, Maurice launched the Cinema Secrets Product Line and continues to travel the world with his educational seminars and workshops for Cosmetology Associations and within the medical community. Please feel free to contact Maurice Stein at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.cinemasecrets.com or call (818) 846-0579

Want to read more?

Subscribe to one of our monthly plans to continue reading this article.

Related items

  • Successful Upselling Foreward Successful Upselling Foreward

    Upselling and add-ons – a challenging subject to talk about even in the best of times. But here we are in the middle of an economic crisis, so you must be asking yourself how we could possibly consider this a reasonable topic when you are just happy you are able to sustain your clientele. Many of you are probably thinking there is no way you would jeopardize that relationship by asking the client to spend more money. All of which are perfectly reasonable thoughts and questions. However, I will ask you to put them in a box briefly, clear your mind, and be open to consideration for just a moment.

    Let me give you an example of an effective suggestion that happens millions of times, everyday, all around the world. You go to your favorite restaurant; you sit down, and look over the menu. Your server comes to the table and takes your order, you tell him what you would like and he confirms your order then says, “Would you like a salad with that tonight, or can I interest you in a glass of wine?” A perfectly harmless question, that was neither painful nor offensive. At worst you say “No, thank you.” At best, he just enhanced your dining experience, increased your bill, and ultimately his tip. Job well done!

  • Creating the Ideal Retail Mix - December 2008 Creating the Ideal Retail Mix - December 2008
    by Melinda Minton

    Selling retail is an essential part of a well run spa. This is true not only because the additional revenue is so crucial to a spa's bottom line, but also because prescriptive home care is the necessary second step to the professional care given to a client in the spa. While mastering the retail sale can be difficult from a team or individual perspective, there are methods for making your spa’s retail routine hum.



    Your Spa's Style

    Oftentimes spas try to sell a bit of everything in an attempt to accommodate everyone. This can be a fatal error. The more fragmented your retail mix the more clients and staff will be confused. There must be a driving force behind your spa philosophy. Are you primarily a spa focused in on medical skin care, contouring services, water therapies, or all organic non-ablative therapies? Before you can determine the best retail mix for your spa, you really need to dig deep and understand your theme, focus, and primary therapeutic offerings. Moreover, remember that if you can’t get the product on them in the treatment room—there is a much smaller chance that the client will be taking the product home with them for further use when not at the spa. Integrating the treatment experience with the retail experience is crucial. When determining your retail mix, be cognizant of your client. Do you primarily offer clinical services or is your treatment mix somewhat more “fluffy” or gift-oriented?

  • Deal or No Deal Deal or No Deal

    When Sarah Hughes skated off with the gold medal, she pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history. Her surprisingly simple secret? “I didn’t skate for a gold medal. I went out and had a great time.”

    Athletes say it all the time: “I just went out there and had fun.” And, admittedly, they do look like they’re having a great time.

    Fortunately, fun isn’t the sole province of superstar athletes. It can work for the rest of us in the skin care industry, too. The link between having fun and business success has been proven in countless studies. When we’re having fun on the job, we are more creative and more productive.


  • Sugar... Not Just for Coffee Anymore Sugar... Not Just for Coffee Anymore

    by Lina Kennedy

    A couple of decades ago, offering cream and sugar for anything other than coffee or tea would have sounded quite ridiculous! But in today’s realm of aesthetics and cosmetics promoting coffee and chocolate to soothe even the jitteriest skin, or offering sugar as a real hair removal solution to an age-old problem is very realistic. And as post treatment, applying a good trans-dermal cream to hydrate and moisturize the skin is simply a great, soothing and natural way to complete your sugaring service.

  • Jan Marini - August 2010: A Legend in Aesthetics
    Jan Marini - August 2010: A Legend in Aesthetics
    Jan Marinin


    Those who know Jan Marini refer to her as a visionary. While Jan might agree in principle, she sees this characterization as both a strength and a weakness. She envies those who are able to savor the moment. Where others view life in snapshots that capture real time, Jan sees broad borderless landscapes and endless possibilities. She does not see a product, she sees a business and in that same instance her mind is flooded with the business plan and all the accompanying details. Even when she is not envisioning empires, she is never satisfied with the status quo.
    Given her background, perhaps this is an understandable if not necessary survival tool. Jan’s mother, Florence, was a single mom of three boys in an era when divorce carried a major stigma. Florence remarried and unexpectedly gave birth to Jan late in life. The family struggled to live a very meager existence. Her father died when she was eight years old and the family was thrust into poverty. Florence worked only menial jobs and food was often scarce. It was no wonder that Jan viewed her world not as it was, but as it might be, and that she softened the bleak reality by envisioning a larger and more optimistic scenario brimming with potential. Because of her early circumstances, Jan is adamant that in order to succeed you must be tenacious, doggedly determined, and completely focused on the ultimate goal.
    Jan describes herself as a product researcher. “Back in the early days I was considered a product ingredient expert. I lectured to medical professionals, skin care professionals, and consumers about how ingredients really performed and what they could realistically expect to provide.” She also did talk radio and T.V., because as she puts it, “consumers love to hear about ingredients and whether their products really work. It is a popular topic that lends itself to talk shows.”

1 comment

  • Comment Link website Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:26 posted by website

    If you wish to increase your knowledge, keep visiting
    this web page and be up to date with the newest gossip posted here.

Login to post comments

April 2024

Skin Care Blogs

Brands of the Month

  • RapidLash Rocasuba, Inc.
  • Epionce
  • Skin Script
body { overflow-y: auto; } html, body { min-width: unset; }