Makeup brushes and other beauty tools have a pretty busy life. While women get ready for work in the mornings, they apply their foundation with that trusty brush in their cosmetics bag, apply eye shadow with another cosmetic brush, and tap a little blush on their cheeks with, yet, another brush.

Yes, cosmetic brushes are hard workers, but have you ever thought about how much makeup residue is in one of those tools? Not to mention the bacteria left in there.

Dr. Ayyaz M. Shah is a Cosmetic Dermatologist in Florida. He said women should wash their makeup tools more often to improve their health.

“When using brushes, pigments from different makeup products and bacteria from the face can get caught in the brush,” Dr. Shah said. “We sweat, produce oil and dirt, and the bacteria in the skin can be prone to infection. At least once a week, you should wash makeup tools.”

While trapped bacteria in the pores has been linked to increased breakouts, more severe cases can occur.

“Try not to share brushes,” Dr. Shah said. “This can be a potential hazard. When people share tools like these, you risk spreading Staph Infection, Pink Eye and other viruses.”

Dr. Shah also said to be cautious of the eye and lip areas.

“These are the most sensitive areas, where you use eye shadow and eyeliner,” Dr. Shah said. “There are cases where on movie sets or on TV shows, makeup artists are working on different actors’ faces. If they don’t make sure the brushes are clean, they can transfer bacteria or viruses.”

There are many options for makeup brush and tool cleaners on the market. Brush cleaners from Sonia Kashuk, Makeup Forever, and Mac have received positive reviews from several beauty websites.

Dr. Shah, however, recommends using a mixture of Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo with baking soda to clean brushes.

“Baking soda has sodium bicarbonate, which disinfects and helps with odor,” Dr. Shah said.

Another technique he recommends for at-home brush cleaning is to lay the brushes flat when air-drying. Hanging the brushes upright could allow liquid to settle into the brush barrel and not dry properly.

With an effective skincare regimen of washing and moisturizing the face, washing makeup brushes could dramatically improve the health and cleanliness of the skin.

“If you follow these measures by cleaning makeup brushes once a week and deep cleaning them every month,” Dr. Shah said. “You can avoid the unwanted side effects.”