Q: I read in Prince Harry’s new memoir that Meghan Markle offended Kate by asking if she could borrow Kate’s lip gloss. Now I’m wondering: Is sharing lip products hygienic? Can you get sick from it?

In the flurry of eye-catching details pouring inside from Prince Harry’s new memoir, “Spare, ” some readers have fixed their attention on one topic: the sharing of lips gloss . According to the book, when Meghan asked Kate, the Princess of Wales, if she could borrow some lip gloss, Kate was taken aback but reluctantly agreed.

Awkward palace encounters are one thing; health risks, experts say, are usually another.

Viruses and bacteria can linger on sticky surfaces like lipsticks, balms and ointments for hours in order to days, so it’s important to not gloss over the risks. Here’s what we know.

There isn’t hard and fast data on exactly how likely it is for pathogens to spread from person to individual via lips products, said Ami Zota, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School associated with Public Health. But it is possible for illnesses to be transmitted that way.

Some pathogens spread more easily than others, plus they can last on surfaces for varying amounts of time, stated Dr . Laleh Gharahbaghian, a clinical teacher of emergency medicine at Stanford Medicine. Common cold and flu viruses can cling to objects for hours, the girl said, while the virus that causes mumps — though rarer — may last on surfaces for several days. Quite a few viruses may potentially last for weeks.

Although respiratory viruses can linger upon objects, there’s not the huge risk of transmitting the flu or Covid-19 from sharing something like lip gloss, although transmission is still possible, said Doctor Tina Bhutani, a dermatologist at the particular University associated with California, San Francisco. That’s because these viruses mainly infect people when they inhale particles that contain them. There is, however , a larger danger of spreading the herpes simplex virus, which may cause cold sores, Dr. Bhutani mentioned. People with oral herpes are most contagious whenever they have active chilly sores — so if you lend lip balm from a friend who has the telltale fluid-filled blister, a person run the risk of also contracting herpes, Doctor. Bhutani said. People can spread herpes even when they don’t have the flare-up, though the risk is lower, she added.

Staph infections are also a concern, stated Dr. A. Yasmine Kirkorian, the chief of dermatology at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D. C. Staphylococcus germs can cause swollen, painful, fluid-filled sores; the particular pus that will leaks out can be transmittable.

Of all the lips products in order to share, including lipsticks, ointments and liners, lip gloss is among the most likely to transmit infections because of its gooey, watery consistency — viruses thrive in moist environments, Dr . Bhutani mentioned. But borrowing cosmetics in general can be fraught, especially if the products come into contact with your saliva or the mucus membranes in your eyes, which are usually critical for sending viruses, Dr. Gharahbaghian said.

Many cosmetic products contain antibacterial and antifungal preservatives, Doctor Zota said, which can help combat viruses and bacterias. But the longer you hang on to a product, the less likely it will be that the chemical preservatives will work.

You probably want in order to refrain from discussing lip items. And if a person use the balm or lipstick while you are sick with the flu or another illness, consider waiting a week after you used the makeup before applying it again to reduce the risk of reinfecting yourself, Doctor. Gharahbaghian stated. Even if that risk is usually low, waiting may still be a sensible precaution.

“It’s certainly not really something where I think people need to be terrified — individuals have been going to makeup counters for 100 years, ” Dr. Kirkorian said. While ideally people should stay away from someone else’s personal care products, she mentioned, it is definitely also important to use common sense. “Yes, don’t share lipstick, ” the lady said. “But also do not live in fear. ”

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