Makeup lovers should be cautious when sampling lip products at any makeup store or cosmetics counter. According to reports from TMZ, a woman is currently suing sephora with claims that she contracted herpes from one of their lipstick demos. The unnamed woman had tried a "common use" lipstick at a Sephora location in Hollywood, California. She was later diagnosed with oral herpes.

The incident occurred back in October 2015, and the woman claims that she had previously never shown any signs of oral herpes. Due to her now "incurable lifelong affliction," she is suing the beauty chain for emotional distress.

Can you get herpes from lipstick?

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore and an infectious-disease specialist, it is possible to contract herpes from lipstick. However, it is not common. In an interview with Live Science, Adalja said that the possibility was much higher if the person in question already had the herpes virus before sampling the lipstick.

In the United States, Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that approximately 50 to 80 percent of adults are positive for herpes simplex virus type 1, also known as HSV-1. This form of oral herpes causes outbreaks of painful blisters and sores. There is no cure for this lifelong ailment.

Not everyone who has tested positive for HSV-1 shows physical signs of the virus. Some are "clinically silent," but are still very contagious. The herpes virus can be transferred by skin contact and saliva. Therefore, if a customer at Sephora with herpes had sampled the lipstick and another person tried the same lipstick soon after, it is possible that the second person could contract the herpes virus.

How to protect yourself

Depending on humidity, moisture levels, and other environmental conditions, it is hard to estimate how long the herpes virus can survive on a communal lipstick. Adalja estimated that it could potentially stay active for several hours. This would leave plenty of time for another person to try the infected lipstick and contract the virus.

The woman who is suing Sephora claims that the beauty chain did not take the proper precautions to ensure that their common use lipsticks were sanitary. The co-founder and CEO of StyleMeBar, Tracy Garcia, told The LookBook that she believes that makeup stores and counters do take the right precautions to keep their products sanitized. She also said that there is only so much they can do because some people can be "a bit disgusting."

It is recommended that customers use alcohol to sanitize the common use cosmetics before applying it directly to the skin. Sephora has several sanitizing stations throughout the store where customers can find alcohol, makeup remover, cotton swabs, cotton pads, and tissues. By utilizing the cleaning products provided at the sanitizing stations, customers can avoid contracting any diseases or viruses, such as herpes.