10 tips for good eye makeup hygiene

Health Advisor
Ask Felicity

28 August 2016

Why is makeup a problem?

Most women (and some men!) wear makeup on a regular, if not daily basis. However, many of us have picked up bad makeup hygiene habits along the way and are risking damaging our eyes. It’s important to keep your eyes clean and healthy to prevent:

  • Irritation as a result of the chemicals in makeup, which can lead to dry eyes, itchy eyes, watery eyes and puffy eyes
  • Infections, as makeup provides a breeding ground for bacteria which is easily transferred into the eyes if you aren’t careful. This can lead to conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis and keratitis, which give rise to a whole host of other unpleasant symptoms
  • An allergic reaction to the chemicals in makeup, which can cause allergic conjunctivitis, as well as irritated, itchy or watery eyes
  • Clogged up pores, follicles and glands which can cause problems such as styes or blepharitis.

So here’s my 10 top tips for maintaining good makeup hygiene for eye health

  1. Remove makeup before sleep. This is important as it removes a potential irritant and prevents bacteria from building up. Your eyes need sleep to rest, recover, and clean themselves and makeup can interrupt this process.
  2. Pick your makeup remover carefully. Choose one that is specifically for the eyes, and for sensitive skin if you can. Avoid removers that contain alcohol or sodium lauryl sulphate, as these will irritate your eyes. Even better, try a natural cleanser – Pai have a great natural skincare range, or there are loads of recipes online for making your own. Make sure you wash your face with clean water after using cleansers to remove any leftover irritants
  3. Check use-by dates – this comes as a surprise to many but, like many products, makeup has a use-by date! After this point it is not safe to use, so be sure to throw out any make up that has expired
  4. Don’t share – time to ignore the lessons we learnt about sharing in nursery! Sharing makeup is an easy way to transfer infection from one person to another. If you share makeup with someone suffering from infective conjunctivitis, even if they don’t know they have it, then it is highly likely you will develop it too
  5. Don’t use makeup while you have an infection. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it will slow down the healing process by irritating the eye or introducing new infections into an already vulnerable eye. Secondly, any make up you do use will become infected and you will have to throw it away anyway – unless you want the infection to come back!
  6. Avoid glitter – these tiny particles can easily get into your eyes and cause damage to the delicate skin that protects them
  7. Avoid kohl eyeliner – there is a risk that these contain harmful levels of lead. In fact, there are many makeup brands that put harmful chemicals into their products. Check out this website, which details the risk levels of the ingredients of a huge range of products from high street to luxury brands
  8. Don’t apply makeup on moving trains, buses or cars (especially if you’re the one driving!). The jolting motion of moving transport makes it easy to scratch the surface of your cornea which can easily become infected and cause serious problems like keratitis
  9. Regularly wash make up brushes and applicators as this will remove any bacteria that has started growing there. Plus they’re easier to use when they aren’t all clogged up with old makeup
  10. Use eye drops to keep eyes healthy. After a long day of wearing makeup your eyes may be dry and irritated. After cleaning off your makeup, we recommend using A.Vogel’s Eye Drops, containing the herb Euphrasia, to soothe your dry, tired and irritated eyes. These eye drops are extra useful for contact lens wearers, as they can be used whilst wearing your lenses.

Follow these simple steps to improve your makeup hygiene and reduce your risk of damaging your eyes. If you think there is something wrong with your eyes, it is important you consult your optician or GP, and always follow their advice. We only have one pair of eyes, so it’s important to look after them!

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