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August 10, 2015
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How To Protect Your Eyes from Cosmetics

For many women, applying and removing makeup is fairly routine. However, many women may be unaware how improper use of makeup can cause infections, allergic reactions, and even eye injury. Eye problems might range from watery eyes, to corneal abrasions and even vision loss.

The following tips should help protect your eyes from makeup.

  • Use Clean Makeup. Keep lids and caps tight to keep bacteria from breeding. Once bacteria gets in the eyes, it can cause pink eye and other infections. Also, avoid using saliva to dilute makeup since this also increases the risk of infection. Mascaras are most prone to contamination because bacteria can eventually grow in the tube.
  • Don’t Share Makeup. Everyone has different skin bacteria which is why sharing cosmetics can easily cause an infection. You should also avoid using sharing sample sticks for testers.
  • Apply Makeup Carefully. When applying makeup, it’s easy to scratch the cornea with fingernails or a mascara wand. If infected, even small scratches can be problematic. Also, if you still apply makeup while driving, note that a sudden stop increases the likelihood of mascara or an eye pencil creating a corneal abrasion. If you do scratch your eye when applying makeup, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
  • Throw Out Old Products. The best way to avoid the spread of bacteria it to discard expired product. Most makeup products last between 6 months to a year.
  • Avoid the Inside of the Eye. Be careful not to apply too much makeup near the eyes. The more it accumulates, the more likely it will get in the eyes, damaging the cornea and causing infection. Be sure never to apply eyeliner to the inner eyelid; and if using powder eyeshadow, brush off excess with your eyes closed.

If you wear contacts, you’re more likely to suffer from eye irritation from makeup use. Consider the following:

  • Insert contacts before applying makeup. Because cosmetics can harbor bacteria, you should insert your contacts before applying makeup such as eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow. Similarly, remove your contacts before removing the makeup, to avoid contamination of the lenses.
  • Wash and dry hands prior to touching your eyes and contact lenses.
  • If eyes get irritated from cosmetics, stop wearing the lenses to avoid further irritation.
  • Use products that are ophthalmologist-tested for contact lenses.

For questions about what cosmetics are safe for the eyes, particularly contact lens wearers, contact our Los Angeles eye doctors at 877-871-1684.