Can the corona virus be transmitted through cosmetics?

Consumers are currently wondering how they can protect themselves and their families from infection with the coronavirus. Among other things, there is uncertainty about how the viruses can be transmitted. According to the current state of knowledge, the experts at IKW assume that a transmission by cosmetic products is unlikely and rely on the findings of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). In its current catalogue of questions and answers on the corona virus, the BfR assumes that, in addition to the so-called droplet infection, the pathogens can also be transmitted via smear infections. Here, pathogens that are on the hands get to the mucous membranes of the nose or eye, where they can lead to an infection. Due to the relatively low stability of corona viruses in the environment, this is only likely to occur in the limited period after contamination.

Even if it is unlikely that viruses can be transmitted via objects and surfaces, the experts at IKW and BfR recommend to follow the basic rules of everyday hygiene when handling cosmetic products and provide additional guidance:

• Regular and thorough hand washing with soap or syndet protects against smear infections.

• Decorative cosmetics such as mascara, eye shadows or lipsticks and also so-called "open" products such as cream jars should not be used jointly.

• Reach into in a cream jar only with thoroughly cleaned fingers. It is best to use a clean spatula to remove it.

• For liquid products (hand wash gels, liquid soaps or skin care lotions), prefer dispensers with pumps or bottles with a small opening. This type of packaging avoids direct contact with the product and is therefore particularly hygienic.

• Thoroughly clean all objects such as brushes or make-up sponges regularly with soap, detergent or a mild shampoo and let them dry completely.

• When purchasing decorative cosmetics, apply the corresponding product to a tissue or paper strip to test the color result. This avoids skin contact. The wipes and strips are available for testing in most drugstores.