a morning ritual for many women: standing in front of the mirror
applying your eye makeup. But when is the last time you replenished
your supplies? You may think your eye makeup is your friend, but it
can turn into your foe without proper care. Dr. Daniel Ferguson, a
corneal specialist and partner at Eye Care Specialists, and Jhousy
Leon, owner of Blush Beauty, shared their expertise on when eye makeup
can be harmful and what you should look for the next time you are at
the makeup counter.
M: What types
of precautions should women take when it comes to using eye makeup?
makeup-related dangers can often be avoided by following simple common
sense precautions. One analogy I like to use is that you most likely
wouldn’t want to shake someone’s hand after watching them sneeze
into it, so why would you want to take their mascara wand and wipe the
same bacteria around your eye?
M: Are there
certain types of ingredients in eye makeup that people should avoid?
eye makeup products contain ingredients like dimethicone and propylene
glycol, which may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions on a
person-to-person basis. Every individual is different."
M: What types
of eye problems can arise as the result of using eye makeup, and what
are the warning signs?
most common problems arising from eye makeup include allergic
reactions, viral or bacterial conjunctivitis and corneal abrasions.
These problems can all have similar symptoms, such as pink or redness
of the whites of the eyes and an increase in tear production (in the
body’s attempt to soothe the eyes). Allergic reactions will also
often include irritation and itchiness. Viral and bacterial
conjunctivitis (commonly called "pink eye") is a swelling or
infection of the membrane lining the eyelids. Conjunctivitis may have
a yellow or green discharge and can cause the eyelids to stick
together or ooze. Infections and abrasions of the cornea are a serious
concern, often marked by pain and sensitivity to light. If you develop
any of these symptoms, contact your eye care specialist to determine a
specific course of treatment."
M: What type
of eye makeup should people purchase?
JL: "As it
goes for anything you put into your body, the more natural and the
more protective factors included, the better. Most of our brands, if
not all of them, are hypoallergenic or organic. I would look for eye
makeup that is mineral based or powder based, otherwise specifically
M: How often
should people get rid of their eye makeup and purchase new makeup?
"Experts suggest makeup should be disposed of every six months to
one year. However, I strongly disagree. I believe makeup should change
every three to four months. A warm, moist climate breeds bacteria;
therefore, our air is contributing a lot of it regardless of where
your makeup might be stored. This is especially important for mascara,
as studies show each time the wand reaches the air, it is exposed to
an abundance of material that is then stored in the container —
which is why mascara is the first to spoil. It is also vital the tools
used to apply your makeup are thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.
However, if you were to have any type of eye infection, all your eye
makeup needs to be thrown away and all new makeup purchased before
Dr. Daniel Ferguson of Eye Care Specialists offers the following
safe storage, use and replacement tips for eye makeup:
wash your hands prior to applying makeup.
• If you
do try makeup at a store or salon, insist the person applying it
uses newly opened products or disposable applicators. Consider
using disposable applicators at home, as well.
drive and put on makeup. Not only does this make driving a
danger, hitting a bump in the road and scratching your eyeball
can cause serious eye injury.
sleep in your makeup. You are creating an environment that
makeup containers closed tight when not in use.
makeup out of the sun and heat (especially hot cars). Bright hot
conditions can degrade the preservatives used to fight bacteria.
• If you
do carry makeup in a purse, consider placing it in Ziplock
storage bags that offer a clean environment that can be
add liquid to a product (to extend its use or change its
consistency), unless the label tells you to do so. This can
introduce germs that can grow out of control.
away any makeup if the color changes or it starts to smell. This
might be due to degradation of preservatives, making it unable
to fight bacteria.
using any product that causes an allergic reaction or eye
infection, such as "pink eye." Throw away any makeup
you were using when you first found the problem.
• If you
are having eye surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions for
not wearing eye makeup before and/or after your operation.
Discard partially used makeup to avoid bacterial contamination.
to use, clean pencil eyeliners and sharpeners by removing any
residue and then wiping them down or placing them in a small
paper cup filled with rubbing alcohol. Allow the pencil to dry
before using on skin. When sharpening the pencil, make sure you
have smooth edges so wood pieces do not scratch your skinor eye.
placing eye liner inside the lash line. It is best to apply
along the outer edge of your lashes, away from the mucous
share eye makeup with anyone. Another person’s bacteria can be
hazardous to you.