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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The powder puff syndrome (Sponge puff)

Image : Google 

Sharing is caring, as the adage goes. But not when it comes to sharing a powder puff, because in this case you are sharing bacteria. 

I would always look at my mother, relatives and generally other girls older than me with envy as they would powder their faces with either white powder or brown powder of their choice. Some of their faces would often look over powdered (My friends and I often refer to this as baked/ even embalmed), but that’s a story for next time.

I eventually went on to high school, and in the 8th grade I somehow started to use makeup, and by makeup here I mean black eyeliner and face powder (White and brown). I was convinced I would look as pretty as my mother did or those other older girls, or even as pretty as celebrities. I am certain that most of us here in Zambia have had a moment where we used a cut off section of a mattress as a powder puff. With the thought that the bigger the cut off, the better the powder puff.

I cannot remember exactly when I used that as a powder puff, but I am certain I have been there before. Now fast forward to a few years later, here I am able to read, write and comprehend.

I will not share with you my powder puff, some people may even think me rude but honestly I would rather not. Facial skin is very sensitive and most often than not, we do not realize that just by sharing a powder puff may be one of the reasons your skin is so prone to breakouts.

Boi (colloquial term for friend in Zambia) do you have a puff or May I use your puff my face is so sweaty (ni piba sana). Gone are the days I would give out my puff just like that without second thought, now for those of you who do not want to seem rude, you can simply carry an extra puff to pull out every time someone asks for it. This way you have your own puff and you are not sharing bacteria with who knows who. The other trick is to simply say I forgot my puff at home, for the brave you could say I have a sensitive skin so I do not share my puff.

Back on track, that powder puff has accumulated skin bacteria, sweat, old powder, facial oil and note that if you are one always sharing your puff this means that it probably has accumulated every other person’s skin bacteria to say the least.
Now let’s get some science involved. Some of the bacteria that can be found on you powder puff or even your powder include Streptothrix, staphylococcus albus.  


According to an article titled Have you washed your powder puff this week? By Virgina Boyer, this organism is half-way between a mold and a bacterium and is present in dust and air in great numbers.
It is not important as far as disease is concerned, but it does point to the fact, if it were there, dust must have been there too, which would stop up the pores of the face and cause blackheads and roughness.  (Department of nursing education, university of Washington, 1928)

Staphylococcus albus

According to the same article mentioned above, we meet our friend staphylococcus albus. We really expected to find it, as it is found so frequently on the skin. It is one of the main organisms causing pimples and boils. (Department of nursing education, university of Washington, 1928)

Here is a list of things that could do a lot of good for your facial skin:

  • Always wash your hands before your makeup application, especially before walking out of the house (While this may not always be possible, try to make it a priority).
  • Clean your powder puff/sponge puff, at least once a week in warm soapy water (I personally prefer baby shampoo), rub it gently with baby shampoo and lay it out somewhere so it can air dry before reuse.
  • Avoid reapplication of tons of powder onto a sweaty face, instead opt for blotting.
  • Learn to pay attention to how long you have had not only your powder but other beauty and makeup products, so that you can know what to dispose of and when. Unless you are a makeup artist try by all means to get your products in the smallest package.
  • Avoid the powder puff sharing syndrome by all means. To each their own facial bacteria, as already this might be enough to cause skin irritation and or disease.
  • Learn to replace makeup/beauty products you have had for a long time, also learn to replace your powder puffs as often as you can.
  • Last but not least, never go to bed with makeup on, and always remember if you are home and do not need makeup then avoid it, it’s vital to let you skin breath.  

Remember that when you keep your beauty tools sparkling clean, you are also keeping your face and the rest of your body extra-clean.

Are you guilty of any of the things mentioned in the article, please share in the comment box below its always nice to hear your feedback.

Stay Blessed. 

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