Is Your Eye Makeup Damaging Your Eyes?

While most makeup products are safe for use near the eyes, they do pose a threat if you don’t use them properly. Improper use of makeup, as well as lax eye care, can lead to eye irritation and infection. Even worse, it sometimes causes permanent eye damage, including blindness.

Problems Linked to Eye Makeup

Eye problems are easier to prevent if you familiarize yourself with the problems eye makeup can cause. Here are just a few:

  • Conjunctivitis. Often referred to as pinkeye, conjunctivitis might be the most common problem linked to eye makeup. Most makeup products contain preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, but bacteria can still find its way into makeup containers. Always seal your makeup products and keep them away from harsh chemicals.
  • Damaged cornea. Working in such close proximity to the eye heightens your risk of corneal damage. You might scratch your cornea with a mascara wand, or you might press too hard when applying eye shadow. Cornea damage sometimes leads to corneal abrasion, which then causes serious eye infections. Be gentle when applying eye makeup, and only use applicators that are made specifically for eye makeup.
  • Lead poisoning. Always read makeup labels, and avoid products that contain kohl. Kohl is a dark colour additive that can cause lead poisoning.
  • Blindness. As mentioned above, most makeup products are safe for use around the eye. But you should keep other products far from your eye. Hair dye is just one thing you should keep away from your eyes. Never use hair dye to colour your eyebrows or eyelashes, as it can cause blindness.


The Dos and Don’ts of Eye Makeup Application
Luckily, you don’t have to stop using eye makeup to prevent the problems above. Keep the following tips in mind to reduce your risk of developing eye problems.


  • Keep things clean. Wash your hands before applying makeup. Make sure your eyelids and lashes are clean before applying makeup. Don’t lay eyeshadow applicators or mascara wands on counter tops where they can pick up bacteria. Keep your makeup containers clean and free from external dust or liquid. Never use saliva or water to moisten liquid eyeliner or mascara.
  • Never share makeup. Whether you’re getting ready for a night out with the girls or just share a bathroom with a roommate, it’s often tempting to use someone else’s makeup. However, each person’s eyes contain a different level of normal bacterial flora. When you share makeup, your friend’s bacteria get into your makeup, which then travel to your eyes. The new bacteria can cause a number of eye issues, including irritation and infection.
  • Replace makeup on a regular basis. The longer you keep your makeup, the longer it has to grow bacteria. This bacteria can get into your eye, causing infections and corneal abrasions. Throw mascara and eyeliner away after three months. Eye shadow tends to last longer, but never keep it more than a year.
  • Store makeup properly. Proper storage is essential to maintaining your eye makeup. The preservatives in makeup that fight bacteria become less effective in hot or dirty places. Always store makeup at temperatures below 29? (85?). This means you shouldn’t store makeup in your car or backpack.
  • Stop using products that cause irritation. Both old and new makeup can cause irritation, and you should stop using a product any time it does so. Irritation often indicates a larger, more serious problem with the product.
  • Don’t apply makeup inside your eyes. Try keeping all makeup on the outside of your lash lines. This prevents you from scratching your eye and also prevents eyeliner from running into your eye if it melts during the day.
  • Say no to glitter. Shimmery or glittery products often contain small particles that irritate the eye. In addition to itching and redness, glitter particles can scratch the cornea.
  • Always remove makeup before bed. Although you might be in a rush to get to bed after a long day, don’t neglect makeup removal. Tiny specks of eyeliner or mascara can slip into the corner of your eye during the night, potentially causing an infection.
  • Be smart. Your eyes are more than your face’s focal point. They are living organs that require care. Be smart when you use eye makeup. Never apply it in a moving vehicle, as you can easily scratch your cornea doing so. Never use sharp objects around your eyes, including pins to separate lashes. Skip makeup when you have an eye infection to prevent further irritation.

Eye makeup doesn’t have to pose a threat to your eye health. Keep these tips in mind to avoid eye damage. Take a look at our other blogs for more information on keeping your eyes in good shape.

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