We’re very happy that modern makeup is free of ingredients like lead, arsenic, and mercury. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s all perfectly safe to have around the eyes. The old saying might be “beauty is pain,” but as eye health professionals, we have to draw the line at beauty regimens that risk eye infection and injury.
Even with makeup that is completely free of toxins, there will always be some risk if you’re applying it very close to your eyes. That’s what makes waterline eyeliner, false eyelashes or eyelash extensions, and color contacts the riskiest types of cosmetics. They all increase the chances of eye infection because bacteria can build up on them and then get into the eyes.
This can also be a problem with mascara, because all it takes is a single use to contaminate a mascara wand. Eye shadow and eye liner meant for the outside of the eyelid rather than the waterline are much safer.
Aside from the risk of bacterial contamination, another potential hazard is scratching. A jab in the eye from a mascara wand or eyeliner pencil can scratch the cornea, and any dry, flaky, and powdery makeup that gets in the eye can cause redness, irritation, and swelling.
We aren’t suggesting that you should swear off all eye makeup. We’re simply asking for a reasonable level of caution, because our eyes are very vulnerable. Follow these tips to minimize any safety concerns with your eye makeup:
If you have any concerns about the makeup products you’re using around your eyes, just bring them with you to your next eye exam so that we can take a look at them. If you’ve been experiencing any irritation, swelling, redness, or other problems with your eyes, don’t wait for your next regular appointment to stop by!