10 Tips for Using Eye Makeup Safely

If you wear eye cosmetics like mascara, eyeliner, or eye shadow, be careful. That brown mascara might make you blue. Using contaminated eye makeup could land you in the doctor’s office. Eye cosmetics can be a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria. If you wear contacts, or have sensitive skin or allergies, your risk for infection is even greater. Practice good cosmetic hygiene to keep your eyes healthy and alluring.

The rules of eye makeup safety
Most eye makeup contains preservatives. But bacteria or fungi can still grow in the makeup or on its applicators, where it can be easily transferred to your eye. Follow these tips when using eye makeup to help prevent eye infection:

1.Wash your hands before putting on your eye makeup.
2.Use disposable applicators, or wash applicators and brushes with soap and water often. Don’t use an old applicator in a new product.
3.Replace your eye makeup every 2 to 4 months – more often if you wear contact lenses. After an eye infection, buy new eye makeup products and throw away the old ones.
4.Never share eye makeup, applicators, or brushes with anyone. Don’t try eye makeup “testers” in a store. Instead, test it by applying it to the back of your hand with a clean cotton swab.
5.Don’t use water or saliva to wet your eye makeup. They are breeding grounds for bacteria.
6.Don’t use makeup labeled “natural” or “preservative-free.” These products don’t contain ingredients that prevent bacterial growth. If your eyes are sensitive to preservatives, get products labeled “hypoallergenic,” “fragrance free,” or “for sensitive skin.”
7.Always take your eye makeup off before you go to sleep.
8.Keep your eye cosmetics out of heat or cold. Extreme temperatures above 85 degrees F can cause preservatives to break down and trigger the growth of bacteria.
9.Be label savvy. Don’t use eye makeup with color additives, like kohl, that have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration for containing dangerous ingredients like lead.
10.Stop using a product if it irritates your eyes. See your doctor if irritation continues or if you have signs of an infection in your eye or eyelid. Throw out the eye makeup you’ve been using. Don’t use any eye makeup again until the infection is gone.
For contact lens wearers
If you wear contact lenses, you need to take extra precautions with your eye makeup use. Lens wearers are more prone than others to getting corneal abrasions and other eye problems that can lead to infection. If not used properly, eye makeup can lead to eye irritation, injury, and infection. Follow the general rules of eye makeup safety and the following tips to reduce your risk:

•Put your lenses in before putting on your eye makeup and take them out before you remove your eye makeup.
•Get water-soluble eye makeup or those labeled “safe for contact lenses.”
•Don’t use waterproof or lash-building mascara. These products contain particles that may get into your eyes and irritate them.
•Use an eye shadow base and pressed powder eye shadow. Stay away from those that are frosted or glittery.
•Don’t apply eye liner or mascara too closely to your inner eyelid.

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