Makeup in the eyes

Most of us don't consider the potentially harmful effects of our favorite beauty products when applying mascara, eyeliner,  or other makeup near the eye.
 From irritation to eye infections, it is easy for harsh chemicals, bacteria and fungi to hide within your makeup.

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Makeup in the eyes Optometrist

How can makeup irritate your eyes?

Small flakes, glitter or pieces of makeup in the eye

A makeup product that can flake into your eyes, such as mascara,glitter based makeups and powdered shadow, is the most potentially irritating. Women who wear cakey, flaky mascara have particles of it on the surface of their eye lids. These pieces can cause irritation, infection, corneal scratches, and discomfort. 

Eye Allergies caused by makeup

Our eyes are sensitive, and for some people makeup that gets into or too close to the eyes can lead to an allergic reaction. If you notice irritation, itchiness, redness, or other allergic reactions stop using that makeup and if it continues then seek professional help. 

Eye Infections caused by makeup

Old or expired makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus that can lead to an eye infection. Another common cause of eye infections is when two people share makeup, and the first person has an eye infection. If you suspect an eye infection, schedule an emergency eye exam today.


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Makeup got in my eyes, what should I do?

Do not panic if you accidentally get makeup in your eyes. Follow these instructions:

  • Rinse your eyes thoroughly with clean tap water or eye-wash solution until all mascara, eyeliner, and makeup flakes are removed. If you wear contact lenses, take them out before flushing your eyes.
  • Once you've rinsed off your makeup, apply moisturizing eye drops to the affected eye.
  • Clean your contact lenses carefully using your cleaning solution if you wear contact lenses.
  • While your eye is still irritated, avoid re-inserting your contact lenses.
Why shouldn’t you apply makeup inside your eyelids?

Why shouldn’t you apply makeup inside your eyelids?

Those who love this technique, which is sometimes called waterlining, should know that it blocks the oil glands responsible for protecting your cornea. Additionally, it can transmit bacteria directly into the eye.

Pilot studies have shown that particles from eyeliner can contaminate the eye if they are applied inside the lids. Researchers concluded that even though particles were cleared away by the eye in a few hours, contact lens wearers and people with sensitive eyes or dry eyes may experience problems due to this. It is important to maintain the health of these oil glands (called meibomian glands), as blocking the glands for extended periods of time can lead to the glands atrophying an no longer being able to produce the necessary oil layer for your tear film. 

What safety tips should you follow when using eye cosmetics?

What safety tips should you follow when using eye cosmetics?

  • Eyeliner should be applied outside the lash line, away from the eyes, to avoid direct contact of the product with them. Additionally, the liner will be less likely to flake off into the eyes.
  • Make sure the wood casing on eyeliner pencils is sharpened so the eye or eyelid won't be scratched. With time, the tip of the pencil becomes rigid, requiring more pressure to apply. You should replace the pencil once this occurs.
  • It's a good idea to replace your makeup products every six months (more often if you wear contact lenses) to prevent excessive contamination with skin bacteria.
  • Using an old applicator with a fresh cosmetic product is not recommended. The old applicator will transfer bacteria to the new cosmetic.
  • Purchase new eye makeup after any type of eye infection, such as conjunctivitis.
  • Eye makeup removers may irritate the eyes, even though they were designed to be used around the eye. Apply them with care to the eyelid and avoid getting the product in your eyes.


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  • Never apply makeup to your eyes while driving. You may accidentally poke your eye with the applicator if you crash or make a sudden stop.
  • You should never use saliva to thin old or clumped makeup or to wet a mascara wand. The saliva in your mouth contains bacteria.
  • You should not share your eye cosmetics with others. The skin of each individual is different. You may become infected if you contaminate your cosmetics with another person's bacteria.
  • Make sure the cosmetics demonstrator uses fresh applicators and not to let a used sample come into direct contact with you at the counter.
  • If you suspect that you have cosmetic-related eye problems, contact your eye doctor.



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