The Effects of Makeup on Eyes

Our daily routine influences your health more than any doctor's visit or prescription can. When you establish a makeup regimen, it's crucial that you choose products that are safe for your eyes. Cosmetics must be used and maintained properly to prevent eye irritation or infection.

Effects of Makeup on Eyes

Irritation can be just that—irritating. But irritation can be a symptom of an infection or an allergic reaction. A reaction from makeup can infect or injure the eye, and eye infections can have serious consequences.

Of course, most products for sale today are safe. If there's an issue, improper handling is often the culprit. EyeSmart recommends that you throw away eye makeup after three months. Bacteria gets transferred from your eye and skin to the makeup via a brush or applicator. The bacteria can easily live and grow in liquid eye makeup and can lead to infections such as conjunctivitis.

An allergic reaction is similarly unpleasant and can result in corneal scratches and even blepharitis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Occasionally a product will cause itching, flaky dry spots, redness, bumps, or even blisters. The Mayo Clinic also states that an allergic reaction can develop even if you've been using the same product for years.

In the Eye of the Beholder

Usually problems arise when cosmetic products make their way into the eyes. This can happen during application, especially with powders because it takes a deft hand to use pencils and wands near the eye. But it can also happen hours later when the makeup begins to detach from the skin.

All That Glitters

Cosmetics have been long known to be common eye irritants. To stay safe, there are a few things to look for when selecting eye makeup.

According to the FDA, color additives are strictly regulated, and certain additives, such as kohl, are not approved for use in the United States. Make sure your cosmetics use only approved additives. EyeSmart notes that glittery eye shadow has a tendency to flake, and particles can fall into the eyes more easily. Sack the shimmery stuff and consider replacing it with cream-based eye shadows, which tend to aid application and stay put all day long.

Know When to Hold 'em

Ali Wear, owner of Wear Hair and custom hair and makeup artist for the elite of Washington, DC, says that many people don't know the risks of hanging onto old makeup. "They are usually pretty surprised that they need to throw their old makeup away—especially eye shadow or powder-based makeup because they don't think it goes bad," she says. In an interview, Wear explains that three factors motivate consumers to keep old products well past their expiration dates: routine, time, and anxiety. It takes time to shop for colors that suit you, and the process is not always fun. Wear calls the intimidating makeup counter a black hole of pressure which most consumers would rather avoid. She says that we tend to stick to what's familiar, even ". . . keep[ing] the same palette or dried-up mascara for as long as possible." Even though it's tempting to keep shades you love and avoid the cost of replacement, take the time to regularly replace your makeup.

Eye makeup is fun and flattering, and you may be tempted to neglect warning signs of irritation or infection. It's important not to ignore the effects of makeup on eyes. If you're unsure about a product causing irritation, bring it with you to your next exam, and ask your doctor.

For questions or comments, contact Woodhams Eye Clinic.

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