Doctors issue warning that this common practice can cause a herpes infection

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With Christmas around the corner, that means holiday gatherings are approaching fast, so you may be looking for that perfect shade of red lipstick.

There’s a new warning going around however – sampling makeup at the store can lead to contracting herpes.

The herpes simplex virus is categorized as HSV-1 and HSV-2. According to the World Health Organization, HSV-1 typically spreads orally. Approximately 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 have the highly contagious, lifelong HSV-1 infection.

Dr. Tanya Bulj, a dermatologist with Advocate Medical Group, says “Oral herpes presents as itching, burning and tingling followed by a blistering rash that resolves over a couple of weeks.”

Painful sores in or around the mouth frequently appear. Those appearing on the face are commonly known as cold sores. But even when no symptoms are present, HSV-1 can be transmitted.

And herpes isn’t the only thing to worry about when sampling makeup – countless other infectious organisms are spread through saliva and open mouth sores, including influenza, strep and the common cold, to name a few.

So what’s the best way to avoid getting sick from makeup samples?

“Avoid sampling makeup altogether,” says Dr. Bulj.

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