Lipstick samples can potentially transmit the Herpes Virus – Sephora sued

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Taylor Swift is seen at LAX on November 13, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Many women flock to Sephora and similar superstores for makeup because they are more like a cosmetics playground offering a plethora of samples for makeup enthusiasts.

But, one woman has found out that it is equally a playground for the herpes virus too. According to a report by Jezebel, a Californian woman is suing Sephora, the cosmetics chain for causing emotional distress after she allegedly contracted herpes from a lipstick sample at one of Sephora’s stores.

Dr.Janellen Smith, a professor in dermatology at UC Irvine School of Medicine stated that the possibility of contract herpes through lipstick does exist though it is very unlikely. Explaining to HuffPost, Smith stated that the herpes virus has two variants HSV1 and HSV2. HSV1 is the virus that sheds at more frequent intervals from your oral cavity and both variants cannot live for long when it is off the human body. She added that technically speaking if an individual suffering from a cold sore uses a lipstick tube and then another person uses that immediately afterwards, there is a distant chance of the second person contracting the virus. When asked how distant that possibility is, she added that most people are HSV1 positive which means that they are already exposed to the virus and therefore cannot get it again. Further most people do not exhibit any symptoms.

Therefore, except when an individual was HSV1 negative at the point of coming into contact with the tube of lipstick, they cannot contract Herpes virus. Further, the time lag between applications by different individuals should be very small for the virus to cause an infection.  Further that individual must also have a cracked skin on the lip though that may not be an absolute necessity.

Another doctor from Mount Sinai also stated that herpes virus can be contracted from lipstick and that the better option would be to avoid those lipsticks. Echoing that sentiment, Dr. Smith stated that she would advocate not sharing anything unless the other person is one with whom you share kisses.

Meantime, Sephora has confirmed that a lawsuit does exist but did not offer further information. Sephora only stated that while it is the company’s policy not to offer comments on litigation, the safety and health of its clients was its foremost priority.  The company added that it takes product hygiene very seriously and are dedicated to follow the best practice in their stores.

May be, it is a safer bet to follow the advice of Dr. Smith on sharing