Q. Does sharing lip gloss spread oral herpes virus?

Answered by
Dr. Purohit Manish
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 11, 2016 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hi doctor,

If I buy used lip gloss with an applicator that dips into the bottle, could there be any worrisome that bacteria or virus from the previous user's lips withstand the cosmetic preservatives? I am worried, especially about the oral herpes virus. I keep reading the conflicting information about the hardiness of this virus. Please explain.



Welcome to

  • Infection can be transferred from one individual to another if we use a lip gloss used by a person suffering from any kind of infection.
  • Usually, the lips do not act as a carrier site for any microorganism.
  • An organism which causes infection is usually manifest clinically. But, the commensal flora from oral cavity and saliva if come in contact can transfer through lip gloss.
  • Also, some company added antibacterial substances and some preservatives to lip gloss, which prevent the growth of bacteria in that product.
  • Regarding your query about herpes virus, this virus present in silent state in nerve ganglion and when it causes infection manifest clinically as vesicle and eruption on the oral mucosa and surrounding lips also.
  • So, if the person whose lip gloss you wanted to use is suffering or suffered from herpes can transfer virus to you.
  • If you are having the complete health information (infection) of a person, then you can share a lip gloss. Otherwise, please avoid it.

For further information consult a microbiologist online -->

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