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eye makeup and eye health 5 tips to protect your vision

The application of eye makeup is a daily ritual for many. Yet, using eye makeup also makes you more prone to eye issues, which we mention in our recent post, 10 Tips for Avoiding Eye Infection

Healthy Eye Makeup Recommendations To Protect Your Eyes

If you wear eye makeup, we suggest adhering to these five important tips to reduce your risk of eye issues, some of which can compromise your vision.

Throw all eye makeup away after three to six

We know that eye makeup can last for months and months. Those who rarely use makeup may have eyeliner, mascara, or shadow for years at a time. Unfortunately, eye makeup becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. You increase the risk of infection by reintroducing old or numerous bacteria (or viruses, or fungus) into the eye. 

To keep eye makeup as fresh and sanitary as possible, mark them with your first use date and toss them 90 to 180 days afterward. Some products, such as mascara or liquid eyeliner, are riskier than others because you use the same moist brush for repeat applications. Other products, such as brown pencils or eye shadow, are usually safe for at least six months. However, we never recommend keeping any eye makeup products longer than six months to be on the safe side.

Use products designed for sensitive eyes

Sometimes, we have patients who complain about chronic eye allergies or allergy symptoms, despite their use of over-the-counter medications. If you wear eye makeup and are continuously plagued by itchy, scratchy, red, or watery eyes, it may be your makeup.

Not all products are created equal. Many are produced with harsher chemicals or fragrances, and sensitive eyes react to those chemicals. To reduce the risk of eye makeup-related allergies, make sure all of your products are specifically designed for sensitive eyes. Most will have wording to that effect on their packaging or may also include information about “hypoallergenic,” which means the ingredients are known to be safe for sensitive eyes.

To avoid allergic reactions or to make it easier to tell which product(s) you’re allergic to:

  • Buy products for sensitive eyes.
  • Only introduce one new product at a time and use it for at least two weeks or so before introducing another new product to the eyes.
  • Pay attention to any allergic reactions and compare labels. By process of elimination, you’ll start to recognize the potential culprits so you can avoid them in other makeup products (if your eyes are allergic to an ingredient, the odds are that the same ingredient is an irritant for your skin as well). 

Never put eye makeup on in the car

We get it; busy mornings and hectic schedules create scenarios where you just can’t get ready in time to leave for work. However, if you wear eye makeup, make it a priority to put it on first and at home where you are safely landed in one place. Putting eye makeup on in a moving vehicle, even if you’re not the one driving, puts you at risk for severe corneal abrasions (scratches on the surface of your eye) or puncture wounds.

Do NOT share eye makeup

Conjunctivitis (eye infection) is highly contagious. It spreads quickly from person to person. These infections move like wildfire in elementary schools because little ones are known for touching their faces and not washing their hands. However, sharing eye makeup is one of the leading causes of catching eye infections for those in the middle school, high school, and college populations. We also see plenty of cases of conjunctivitis when family members share eye makeup.

While these infections typically clear up on their own after a week or so, most people require prescription eye drops to get rid of them to go to school or work – both of which will send you home if they notice the telltale signs of “pink eye” (red, watery, goopy eyes). Make sure to have your own eye makeup on hand wherever you need it and forgo the urge to borrow someone else’s.

NOTE: If you are “sampling” eye makeup in a store, make sure to use a new applicator every time you dip the wand into the product. 

Always remove eye makeup before going to bed

Even if you have a late-night out, we highly recommend staying up the extra few minutes it takes to remove your eye makeup safely. Sleeping with eye makeup exacerbates your risk of infection or eye injury. As particles of mascara or eyeliner make their way into your eye, they bring the environmental contaminants from the day along with them. Wearing makeup overnight also elevates your risk of clogged eyelash follicles or tear ducts that lead to styes and other infections.

Also, we’re prone to rubbing our eyes unconsciously in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning. Any particulate matter left from yesterday’s makeup rubs against the surface of your eye and can irritate or damage it.

Signs Of Eye Makeup Related Issues

Some of the most common signs you’re eyes are reacting to your eye makeup include:

  • Itching or scratchy sensations
  • Red eyes
  • Watering or tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Excess goop or eye drainage
  • Blurred vision

If you’re experiencing any of the following, stop wearing eye makeup for a few days and see what happens. You should also stop wearing contact lenses and wear glasses instead to give your eyes a full break. If the symptoms go away, you’ll know eye makeup is the problem and you can use processes of elimination to get rid of the offending products. If symptoms don’t diminish within a couple of days, or they get worse, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

Suspect your eyes are reacting to eye makeup products? Start over and begin assessing which products have which ingredients. We also recommend bringing your makeup to your next eye appointment. Our optometrists know which ingredients or chemicals are the most likely to cause problems and can see whether or not a different product line may be your best bet. You can schedule an eye exam online or give Atlantic Eye Institute a call at (904) 241-7865.

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