By Dr. Mark Siegel
I was thinking about eyeliner the other day while I was examining a patient. I noticed that the patient’s eyelids were fairly red, especially where the lashes emerge from the eyelids, and that her oil glands looked quite obstructed. She mentioned that she has noticed more ocular irritation and foreign-body sensation. These findings are very common, especially in women who frequently wear eyelid makeup (eyeliner, mascara). While not a huge public health hazard, a few recommendations about eyelid makeup are worth mentioning.
Follow these tips to keep your eyes healthy as well as beautiful:
• Throw away eye makeup after three months. Infection-causing bacteria grow easily in creamy or liquid eye makeup. If you develop an eye infection, immediately toss all of your eye makeup.
• Never share eye makeup, and when sampling makeup in stores, use only fresh applicators and samples that have not been contaminated by multiple users.
• If you tend to be allergic, introduce only one new eye makeup or care product at a time. If there is no reaction, add another new product, and so on. If you notice an allergic reaction, find out the ingredients are and let your doctor know.
• Before applying makeup, be sure your face and eyelids are very clean. Always apply makeup outside the lash line, away from the eye, to avoid blocking the oil glands of the upper or lower eyelid. These glands secrete oil that protects the eye’s surface.
• If you tend to have dry eyes, avoid metallic/glitter, powder or other makeup that flakes. Flakes can get into the tear film and increase your eyes’ irritation. Glitter eye makeup is a common cause of corneal irritation or infection.