There is no denying that our community has an obsession with beauty and good looks. In fact, according to World Watch, the amount of money spent on cosmetics in the United States is an astonishing $8 billion. And although there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, you may fail to realize that some beauty products can do you more harm than good. Specifically, some eye makeup products such as mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow may lead to severe eye problems that could be prevented by being proactive about taking protective measures.
Eye Problems Associated with Eye Makeup
Before discussing the many ways to avoid ocular problems associated with eye makeup, let us first understand the issues that come with wearing it:
- Dry eyes. Most men and women have an extensive eye makeup application routine. Some enthusiasts layer product over product, which includes adding concealer, primer, eyeshadows, eyeliner, and setting spray over the eyes. In most cases, these products may seep into the eyes, causing aggravated and dry pupils. Although many beauty products today are considered cruelty free and are FDA regulated, excessive exposure to specific ingredients may still cause dryness in and around the eyes.
- Scratched cornea. The cornea is a transparent layer forming the front of your eyes. One of the most serious inflictions that makeup can cause is damaging this protective layer, especially since its primary function is to serve as a barrier against dirt, dust, germs, and other foreign objects that can cause damage. How it becomes possible to scratch your cornea while applying makeup is by using pencil eyeliners and mascara, which require you to get very close to the eye for perfect application. A single mistake may lead to corneal abrasion, which symptoms include redness, tearing, light sensitivity, blurry or decreased vision, eye twitching, headache, and nausea.
- Pink eye. Perhaps the most common eye problem associated with eye makeup is pink eye or conjunctivitis. As the cosmetic industry booms, more and more makeup brands are infusing their products with preservatives to prevents bacteria from forming. However, it is still possible for bacteria to thrive on your makeup, particularly when you fail to sanitize the tools that you continually dip into the product, or when the item has expired.
- Allergic reactions. Whether your favorite makeup brand is all natural or chemically infused, there is a possibility to develop an allergic reaction to one of its ingredients. In most cases, an allergic reaction to eye makeup could cause irritations such as redness and eye swelling. Thus, it is crucial to do your research before making a purchase. If you come across an allergic reaction, stop using the product immediately.
How to Prevent Makeup Related Eye Problems
Most optometrists agree that your eyes will be perfectly fine for as long as you apply makeup cautiously. To protect your vision from potential eye problems, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when applying makeup around your eyes:
- Never share
Your entire makeup collection, especially when used, should be yours and yours alone. Even if it’s your mom, sister, or best friend, it’s important to avoid sharing your eye makeup to prevent spreading bacteria. Every person’s face contains a different level of normal bacterial flora. If you share your makeup, their normal flora will be introduced to your makeup. Then, the bacteria will travel to your eyes whenever you apply your makeup next, which could cause eye problems.
- Wear your contact lenses before applying eye makeup
Even the smallest makeup particle can accidentally contaminate your contact lenses and cause irritation. Thus, it is better to insert your contacts before applying makeup or opt to wear your prescription glasses instead. Additionally, try to avoid glitter and heavy eye makeup to reduce any risk of minuscule particles falling into your eyes.
- Sharpen your eyeliner pencil
A sharp eyeliner pencil may seem intimidating, but it is more precise and can help prevent you from making mistakes such as touching the cornea. Although applying eyeliner on the lash line is a popular trend, it is best to apply it on the outside of the lash line to prevent scratching the eye and eyelids.
- Remove eye makeup at the end of the day
Even if it took you 30 minutes to perfect that smokey eye, it is incredibly important to remove every trace of makeup on your face. Your eyes, in particular, are extremely sensitive. Even the smallest speck of eyeliner, mascara, or eyeshadow can seep into the corner of your eye and cause itching, redness, and possibly an infection.
- Give your eyes a break
If all you will be doing this weekend is stay home and watch your favorite TV show, give your eyes a break by skipping the makeup. If you must wear makeup to run quick errands, make sure to keep it light, simple, and avoid piling product over and around your eyes.
- Replace eye makeup after experiencing an infection
If you experience an eye infection out of the blue, it may be because of bacteria contamination. On the other hand, in cases when you recently purchased a new product and developed an infection, you may be allergic to one or more of its ingredients. Regardless, make sure to replace these products as soon as possible to avoid more serious eye problems.
- Throw out expired products
Over time, makeup can become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Thus, you must throw out any makeup that is over a year old. Refusing to get rid of age-old makeup will introduce bacteria to your eyes and cause infections, abrasions, and even vision damage if the problem persists.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy wearing makeup while avoiding unwanted eye problems.
Keep Your Eyes Healthy and Beautiful
At Arizona Retinal Specialists, we make it our priority to provide excellent patient care and treatment. If you are experiencing vision problems, we can conduct a comprehensive dilated eye exam, provide treatment recommendations, and perform any ocular work you need done. To schedule an appointment, call us today at 623-474-3937 (EYES). Our world-renowned retinal specialists look forward to addressing your needs.