A woman is suing Sephora after she allegedly contracted herpes from a sample tube of lipstick.
The California resident claims she used a “common use” tube on display and contracted herpes on her lips. According to TMZ, the infection was diagnosed by professionals and the victim has never had herpes or cold sores before her October 2015 visit to the store.
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“While it is our policy to not comment on Litigation, the health and safety of our clients is our foremost priority,” Sephora said in a statement. “We take product hygiene very seriously and we are dedicated to following best practices in our stores.
We contacted dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City to figure out if it is in fact feasible to get herpes from a beauty sample. “It is possible to contract the herpes virus from sharing make up and other skin care products,” said Nazarian. “When considering a place like Sephora with thousands of customers using and sharing products, all it takes is one infected person with one cold sore to transmit the virus to somebody else.”
Dr. Nazarian urges consumers to proceed with caution when it comes to sampling beauty products, especially if your lips are vulnerable. “Chapped lips or breakage in skin make you more susceptible to infection with this virus,” Nazarian added. “Many of the makeup stores take precautions like wiping down products with alcohol or disinfectants to kill viruses between usage person to person. Unfortunately, it is not something that is 100% always done, and many times used products are sampled without proper cleaning.”
You can take matters into your own hands as well when sampling products. Make sure to remove the top of the lipstick before use as well as use rubbing alcohol to wipe the product down. Additionally, using a Q-tip or sample sponge to transfer the lipstick can prevent the spread of disease.