Dirty Makeup Brushes & Sponges Can Trigger Wrinkles — Yes, Really

You might’ve heard by now that dirty makeup brushes can cause irritation, acne, and congested skin. It checks out: All that bacteria and grime on the unwashed brush or sponge is transferred to your face, wreaking havoc. This connection makes sense, as this is a nearly immediate reaction: Using a dirty brush or sponge can trigger a pimple or irritation nearly overnight it seems.

But that’s not all it does—using a grimy makeup tool can have long-term affects, ones you’ve likely never attributed to a brush or sponge before. Namely? Wrinkles. Yes, you read that right.

“I highly recommend cleaning your sponge or brushes daily. With daily use, any makeup tool can accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution and bacteria. Using dirty makeup tools can cause clogged pores, skin irritation, risk of staph infection, and the risk of getting more wrinkles,” says makeup artists Rea Ann Silva, founder of Beautyblender. “Yes, more wrinkles! This is due to the oxidative stress from free radicals trapped in makeup tools, which causes breakdown of collagen and elastin.” 

Essentially, when your makeup brush or sponge dirties with old makeup, dead skin cells, and other particulate matter, those can trigger free radicals when introduced back to the skin.