They say "sharing is caring," but sometimes you're better off just not— at least when it comes to things like beauty products and other personal belongings. Because even though it might seem nice or easy to lend or borrow something as seemingly harmless as a pair of tweezers or a pillow, there are actually quite a few things you should never share with your friends or even significant other if you want to prevent breakouts or other skin problems. To find out what these things are, and what harm they could potentially cause, I emailed with a couple of experts.
Jordana Mattioli, NYC-based esthetician, and Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, both revealed just how many belongings you're better off keeping to yourself. And if you're ever in doubt about something, Mattioli reminds that it's best to just play it safe: "Viruses, germs, bacteria, fungi, and yeast are easily transferable. Some of us carry certain bacteria or germs that are harmless on one person but can get someone else sick." So if you're not willing to gamble your health or your skin, here are 10 things you just simply shouldn't share:
1. Makeup & Makeup Brushes
Basically anything that comes in direct contact with your face like most makeup products and makeup brushes should be kept to yourself to prevent spreading bacteria, says Mattioli. Dr. Tanzi warns especially against sharing lipstick, gloss, and mascara as these carry the risk of spreading cold sores and pink eye.
According to Dr. Tanzi, sharing razors could result in transmitting bacteria like staph. Mattioli adds that they could also transmit fungal infections like ringworm and even blood-borne diseases if the skin is nicked while shaving.
3. Jar Products
Jar products that require you to dip your fingers in them can contain bacteria, which can cause acne and folliculitis, says Mattioli. If you plan on sharing these types of products, she recommends that each person uses a cotton swab instead of fingers to extract the product.
4. Skincare Tools
Sharing tools like tweezers and cleansing brushes is sharing bacteria. If you must though, prevent transferring acne-causing bacteria by sterilizing tools and using your own brush head.
Hair products, dead skin, bacteria, and germs can all wind up on a pillowcase, says Mattioli. And while sleeping on your own debris is OK for a few days, sleeping on someone else's could cause breakouts galore. So if you need to share a pillow, just switch out the case first.
"Most antiperspirants don't have the same antibacterial properties as deodorants to kill certain oder-causing bacteria, so you can transfer infections through nicks from shaving or ingrown hairs," Mattioli explains. So rather than risk an infection, if you need deodorant in a pinch, try one of these hacks instead of borrowing someone else's.
7. Nail Clippers & Files
Both Dr. Tanzi and Mattioli warn against sharing nail clippers and files because of how easy it is to transmit fungi. Mattioli explains that fungi and warts hide out on fingers and toes, so if you accidentally clip the skin, you could easily spread a fungus, the type of HPV that causes plantar warts, or even blood-borne infections. If you must share tools, be sure to sterilize them before and after use.
According to Mattioli, earbuds trap moisture and make the inner area of your ear warmer, which is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. To prevent transferring infections including staph and strep, she warns not to share headphones and earbuds— especially ones used during exercise.
"Since the act of brushing already increases the levels of bacteria, you make these levels higher if you use someone else's toothbrush," says Mattioli. She warns that sharing could increase your risk of transmitting the common cold, strep, and in rare cases, blood-borne diseases if your gums bleed while you brush. Yeah, no thanks.
Turns out bath and face towels are a breeding ground for nasties like bacteria and germs, especially if they are left in damp bathrooms. Mattioli says that sharing towels can transfer acne-causing bacteria, infections, pink eye, and even gonorrhea. Yikes.
Because when it comes to personal belongings, sometimes not sharing is caring.