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 risk damaging our eyes. It's important to keep eyes clean and healthy to prevent:
• Irritation as a result of the chemicals in makeup, which can lead to dry, itchy, watery or puffy eyes
• Infections, as makeup is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that can easily be transferred into the eyes if you aren't careful; this can lead to conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis and keratitis, which cause a whole host of unpleasant symptoms
• An allergic reaction to the chemicals in makeup, which can cause allergic conjunctivitis, as well as irritated, itchy or watery eyes
• Clogged pores, follicles and glands, which can cause issues such as styes or blepharitis
Here are my 10 top tips for maintaining good makeup hygiene for eye health
- Remove makeup before going to bed. 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 interfere with this process.
- Pick your makeup remover carefully. Choose one made specifically for the eyes and 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 or explore the many recipes online for making your own. Make sure to wash your face with clean water after using cleansers to remove any leftover irritants.
- Check "use by" dates: This comes as a surprise to many but, like many products, makeup has a use-by date after which it's no longer safe to use; throw out any makeup that has expired.
- Don't share! This is one case where you should ignore the lessons you learned about sharing in kindergarten! 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 you'll very likely develop it too.
- Don't use makeup while you have an infection. This is important for two reasons. First, it will slow down the healing process by irritating the eye or introducing new infections into an already vulnerable eye. Second, any makeup you do use will become contaminated and you'll have to throw it away anyway... unless you want the infection to come back!
- Avoid glitter. These tiny particles can easily get into your eyes and cause damage to the delicate tissues that protect them.
- Avoid kohl eyeliner, which may contain harmful levels of lead. In fact, many makeup brands knowingly put harmful chemicals into their products. Check out the EWG website, which details the risk levels of the ingredients used in a huge range of products from low-cost to luxury brands.
- Don't apply makeup on moving trains, buses or cars, especially if you're the one driving! The jolting motion of moving vehicles makes it easy to scratch the surface of your cornea, which can easily become infected, leading to serious problems like keratitis.
- Regularly wash makeup brushes and applicators to remove any bacteria that may have started growing there. You'll also find them easier to use when they aren't gunked up with old makeup.
- Use eye drops to keep your 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, which contain the herb Euphrasia to soothe your dry, tired and irritated eyes. These eye drops are especially useful for contact lens wearers, as they can be used while wearing your lenses.
Follow these simple steps to improve your makeup hygiene and reduce your risk of damaging your eyes. If you think there may something wrong with your eyes, consult your ophthalmologist or GP and always follow their advice. You only have one pair of eyes, so it's important to look after them!