Be beautiful. Be safe.
One’s eye can tell a beautiful story. They can hold a mystery. They can relay what’s on one’s mind. There is something very wonderful about decorating them with makeup, but it’s important to ensure that one uses eye makeup in a safe and cautious manner. When used properly, eye makeup can be an excellent complement to one’s face. When used improperly, it can lead to infections, severe irritation, or worse. The 3 major concerns with eye makeup are inhibiting bacterial growth, avoiding toxic ingredients, and removing it safely.
Most people are aware that food and things like handrails or doorknobs are susceptible to bacterial colonization. Makeup is just as susceptible. It regularly contacts the human body; often gets stored in dark, warm, moist areas; and has certain chemical properties that make it a favorite playground for many types of bacteria. Manufactures add preservatives and other chemicals with antibacterial properties to help stem this risk. However, there are things that women may do at home to dramatically reduce their chance of developing an infection:
–Never share makeup. Using another woman’s eye makeup is a great way to pass pathogens back and forth. At the very least, trading eye germs is gross. At the very worst, said germs could transmit serious eye infections.
-Store makeup properly. The bathroom drawer is one of the worst places in the home for one’s eye makeup. The warm humid air from the shower and darkness of the drawer are prime breeding conditions for bacterial colonies. Similar conditions often occur in the car. It should be stored in a dry room with temperatures no higher than 85 degrees.
–Be aware of contamination: Makeup used during an eye infection can be a reservoir for the infectious organism. Using it during or after an infection may cause a need for prolonged treatment and/or a secondary reinfection. Using the same liner pencil on your lips and eyes may lead to greater sensitivity to normal body flora. Using saliva or water to reconstitute dried mascara is far from sterile and is a quick way to introduce new pathogens to the eye.
Makeup for the eye contains many ingredients that help make them the products that women know. There are chemicals used for pigmentation, retarding bacterial growth, creating a given consistency, and many other features that one may or may not consider. The challenge for manufactures is to balance the desired effect with price and safety. Unfortunately, safety is often compromised in the name of making the product cheaper or more desirable. For example, lead, kohl, and neurotoxins are frequently found in many cosmetics. To help detract attention from this, companies may use language like “natural” or “from the Earth” or incorporate packaging that encourages consumer trust. It’s very wise to research all cosmetic products (eye and otherwise) before using them.
Sleeping with eye makeup on opens the door to some complications that can otherwise be avoided. It’s possible for it to enter the tear film which can lead to mild to very severe irritation. I’ve even seen patients with compromised corneas have glittery eye shadow become embedded in the problem area. In other cases, eyeliner and mascara left on overnight commonly leads to clogged eyelid glands. It’s very important for women to effectively remove all their eye makeup before bed. Yet, eye makeup remover can pose similar concerns as the actual makeup does. Be sure to thoroughly research your remover as well.
The eyes and surrounding skin contain intricate networks of blood vessels and nerves. Additionally the eye contains unique structures like the cornea that must be well protected and preserved. With proper usage and a bit of research, makeup can safely beautify a woman’s eyes and pose little threat to long term health.