Woman's horrific skin infection is motivation to keep makeup brushes clean

You don’t have to know what cellulitis is to guess that you most definitely do not want it.

“Within an hour my entire face swelled up.” (Photo: Katie Wright via Facebook)

And now a woman named Katie Wright, of Austin, Tex., has proven just how easy it is to get the infection — simply by not washing your makeup brushes enough.

When Wright discovered a painful pimple above her eyebrow, she did what so many of us (wisely or unwisely) do in that situation: She popped it.

But instead of being a little sore afterwards, her “entire face swelled up” within the hour and she felt like “something was going to burst out of my skin.” Sensibly, she took herself straight to a hospital.


The doctors said she had a very serious case of cellulitis, a type of staph infection that can spread to other parts of the body, such as the blood, muscle, and bone, and can become life-threatening if not treated quickly.

“Since it was on my face, there was a huge risk of it spreading to my brain or to my eyes causing me to go blind,” Wright wrote.

Now that it’s finally healing and her face is going “back to normal,” she has shared her story online to urge other people to clean their makeup brushes regularly — all of them.


“This most likely happened from bacteria getting on my eyebrow pencil brush,” she said. “I’m super strict on washing my face/beauty blender/brushes, but I never ever thought to disinfect my eyebrow spooly [sic]. If you wear makeup PLEASE make that a step in your cleaning routine! It’s a small thing to do to avoid a painful, expensive and traumatizing infection on your face.”

She shared the message along with photos of herself taken 48 hours apart — before and after the infection took its hold.


The after image should be graphic enough to persuade anyone to make brush cleaning part of their routine, but what should that routine look like exactly?

Because of how they’re used, it’s impossible to keep your brushes from ever getting dirty. So if that’s not motivation enough to spend some quality time with your beauty tools, know that the bacteria production on your brushes is contaminating your makeup and promoting acne and breakouts on your skin.

It’s easy to wash brushes: Just fill a bowl with warm, soapy water, submerge the brush, gently massage the bristles, rinse, rest on a clean towel, and repeat. There are soaps dedicated specifically to cleansing brushes and beauty blenders, but often gentle soap — like baby shampoo — will do the trick just fine.

While there’s a general rule to cleanse your brushes every month, timelines can actually vary according to what you use the brush for — so dig in to these guidelines and make a commitment to clean.

Oh, and a final bit of motivation: Wright’s ordeal was not only emotionally trying but also financially costly, and she just launched a GoFundMe campaign to try and recoup some of her losses. “Unfortunately, this was not a cheap lesson to learn. I was left with thousands of dollars in hospital bills that I haven’t been able to pay yet,” she wrote. “The doctors of St. David’s saved my life and it would mean the world to be able to pay them back for their services. Any help you may be able to offer would be greatly appreciated and every little bit helps!”

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