Eye makeup is designed to make your eyes look more beautiful, and is safe when used properly. However, it’s important to remember that when you apply anything to your eyes there is a risk of infection or even eye injury. There are steps you can take to minimise the risk.
Safe application is important
Always start with a clean face and hands. This helps to prevent the introduction of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms to your eyes, minimising your risk of eye infections. Never apply eyeliners or eyeshadows on the rim of the eyelid; rather you should apply them to the base of, or just outside, the eyelashes. Not only will this help your eyes look more wide open, it will prevent damage to or blockage of the oil glands. The oils secreted by these glands help to protect your eye and stop it from drying out. Mascara wands are surprisingly sharp so it’s easy to scratch your cornea which can result in infection or scarring, potentially causing a temporary or permanent loss of your vision. Avoid putting eye makeup on in moving vehicles for the same reason.
Replace eye makeup regularly
Bacteria and fungi love makeup products, so it’s important to regularly change your eye makeup. Mascara and eyeliners are used directly on the eyelashes and eye margins, so it’s easy to introduce microorganisms to the eye. This can cause an infection if you are using old, contaminated products. We recommend replacing your mascara and eyeliners every 3 months. However, if you develop an eye infection you should avoid using eye makeup and dispose of any used eye makeup to prevent re-infection.
Don’t try to replenish old mascara
It’s tempting to add water to mascara when it dries out, but this can increase contamination both by introducing microorganisms and diluting the preservative that inhibits bacterial growth. Keeping your mascara in a hot car can also stop the preservative from functioning properly.
Never share eye makeup
Shared eye makeup is often contaminated with bacteria from other people’s eyes which can give you an eye infection. This includes the tester products in stores as well as from your friends and family. If you must try eye makeup in store, make sure to use a clean single-use applicator every time.
Make sure to wear contact lens friendly eye makeup
If you wear contact lenses it’s best to stick to products labelled as suitable for use with contact lenses. Contact lenses can become contaminated with the oils, residues and bacteria in eye makeup. Lash-extending mascara and metallic eye shadows in particular can cause corneal abrasions if flakes get under your contact lenses. Corneal abrasions greatly increase the chance of a contact lens wearer getting a serious eye infection or corneal ulcer. It’s best to put your contact lenses in before you apply eye makeup, and take them out before removing eye makeup. Remember to wash your hands first.
Eyelash extensions and tinting
Permanent eyelash tinting has caused eye injuries. False eyelashes and eyelash extensions need adhesives to secure them. Remember your eyes and eyelids are very sensitive and these products can cause allergic reactions and eye injuries, even blindness.
Finish the day as you start
Always remove all eye makeup at the end of the day, especially mascara which can be difficult to remove. Be careful not to get any eye makeup remover in your eyes, it can cause irritation.
Eye makeup after eye surgery
Depending on the surgery you’ve had, it may be safe to resume eye makeup use a few days afterwards. The eye is more fragile than normal after surgery though, so it’s best to use water-based eye makeup which is much easier to remove gently.
Eye makeup is safe when used properly and can enhance your already beautiful eyes. Be sure to contact us to book an examination if you think you have an eye infection or if you have any questions.