The answer is yes and no. It may sound weird, but the same eye makeup that you’ve been using for ages without a problem can suddenly give you a nasty red eye, swollen lids, or a nasty infection! This is commonly known as contact dermatitis.
Calm down, we don’t wish to scare you. In this article, we will share with you some of the most common dangers associated with using the same eye makeup for a long time. We will also discuss some guidelines on the use of eye makeup as suggested by experts.
Repeated use of the same makeup products can cause serious eye infections!
According to FDA, each year, several women contract eye infections from the cosmetics they use. In rare cases, these cosmetics have been responsible for either temporary or permanent blindness!
Normally, eyelashes have bacteria on them. Most common of these are Propionibacterium, Corynebacterium, Streptophyta, Enhydrobacter, and Staphylococcus. Hence, as soon as your makeup brushes or eye pencils come in contact with this bacteria, they get contaminated, according to experts.
When you repeatedly use these products and keep dipping the brush back into the jar, it leads to bacteria buildup in the container of the cosmetics/makeup. As time passes, this increases your chances of getting an eye infection or allergic reaction.
But my product has a long shelf life!
Most eye makeup products do not expire for 2-3 years or more. But they can get infected with bacteria from the second use itself. Hence, it is a good idea to be mindful of how many times you use them. Even though there are no official guidelines on this subject, it is a good idea to discard kajals, eyeliners, and mascaras every 3-4 months, according to experts.
Most importantly, remember to NEVER share the above-mentioned products with anybody! Cross contamination is a very dangerous thing! Infections such as conjunctivitis get passed on very easily through eye makeup brushes, mascara wands, and eyeliners/kajal pencils used on the waterline. Even very minor exposure can lead to an extremely painful infection.
You must report to a doctor immediately if you experience even minor discharge, swollen eyelids, inflammation or any discomfort in your eyes or any signs of eye infection following the usage of an eye product.
The FDA has given the following guidelines to ensure the proper usage of eye makeup/cosmetics:
1) If you notice any irritation or redness on your eyes and eyelids, immediately stop using the products and see a doctor.
2) Apply and remove eye makeup with great care. Be careful to not scratch the eyeball or hurt any of the sensitive areas of the eye.
3) Wash your hands before you handle your eye makeup and apply it. Even seemingly harmless bacteria on your hands can cause infection or irritation.
4) Don’t use old containers of eye cosmetics. If you haven’t used the product for several months, it’s better to throw it out and buy a new one.
5) Keep your cosmetic containers clean and free from dirt or dust. In case they are dirty, wipe them clean with a damp cloth before opening them.
6) Clean your tools/brushes regularly, especially those that you use around your eyes.
7) Don’t share your eye makeup and tools with anyone else even if that person appears to be free from infection. The other person’s bacteria can harm you too.
8) Don’t use your saliva to dampen brushes or generally tidy up any makeup blotches, as the bacteria on your mouth can get into your eyes.
9) Don’t apply eye makeup in case you are suffering from an eye infection or any irritation on the skin surrounding your eyes. Wait till it is completely healed.
10) Avoid storing all cosmetics under temperatures exceeding 85°F (29°C). For instance, the preservative of cosmetics left in hot cars for long periods is likely to be weakened. This will reduce its shelf life without you realizing.
11) Those having allergies must be extra careful while choosing and using eye makeup/cosmetics. As far as possible, opt for eye makeup/cosmetics that have natural & mild ingredients, and those that are hypo-allergic. For instance, a 100% natural kajal.
Make eye care a habit
In addition to the points discussed above, we must make eye care a priority just like skin care & hair care. During these times of working from home, our eyes are under a lot of stress due to overexposure to devices.
Here are a few ways in which we can care for our eyes:
1) Apply a hot compress to your eyelids every day
The Meibomian glands in your eyelids help create a healthy film on the eyes because they pump oil onto the eye surface. As you get older, these glands slow down, due to which you are likely to develop conditions such as dry eye or inflammation.
The application of a warm compress helps dislodge oil that is clogged up in the Meibomian glands, thus keeping your eyes moist. Applying a hot compress is simple – dip a soft towel in warm water, wring it, and apply it to closed eyelids. Leave it on them for some time. They help relax tired eyes and keep irritation at bay.
2) Wear sunglasses while stepping out
Irrespective of whether the day is cloudy or sunny, you must wear sunglasses. Even if the sun is mild or hiding behind clouds, there can be sun damage to the skin and eyes. Just like we use sunscreen diligently, we must also wear sunglasses while stepping out to protect our eyes.
The sun’s harmful UVA and UVB radiation are responsible for conditions such as pinguecula and pterygia, which are growth on the clear tissue covering the white portion of the eyes. They also cause damage to the cornea, which is also known as keratitis.
3) Visit an eye doctor for an eye checkup every 2 years or more often if needed
It is recommended for adults aged 18 to 60 years to visit an ophthalmologist at lease every 2 years to get an eye examination. Regular eye checkups help detect eye diseases that don’t show any symptoms in their earlier stages. Take for instance glaucoma, which can cause blindness if left untreated. Early detection & treatment in this case is very crucial. This is especially important in case of people having a family history of eye disease.
4) Always wear safety gases while doing any repairs at home, however small they may be
Wearing safety glasses can prevent 90% of eye injuries that result from repairs conducted by professionals as well as non-professionals. Even a simple task like hammering a nail in a wall, if gone wrong, can lead to eye damage if a component flies and enters the eye. Hence, it is important to wear safety glasses while doing any drilling, repair, or any other home improvement work that is likely to result in even the smallest of particles flying around. All it takes is a small grain or splinter to spike a major eye infection or injury.
We hope this article has helped you understand how to care for your eyes as well as the beauty or makeup products you use around them. Do let us know how you find this article and if you have any suggestions. We love hearing from you 🙂