5 min


What's in your makeup?

Makeup today contains preservatives, antioxidants, humectants, fragrances, ultra-violet absorbers, emollients, emulsifiers, acrylates, and dyes – all of which can cause reactions or trigger longer-term health risks with your eyes.

Our eyes and the area around the eyes (known as the periorbital region) are more susceptible to these issues because of their anatomy and complex physiology.

Long-term or excessive use of eye makeup can inflame your eyes, affecting the quality of your tears and leading to or making dry eyes worse.

Dark Circles Under Eyes - Causes & Treatment

“Your old makeup is a petri dish for bacteria - make sure you change it every few months”

Can makeup damage your eyes

Your Risk Increases With Age

Three types of damage and injury could be caused by eye makeup.

  1. Physical
  2. Pathogenic (infections)
  3. Chemical

Perimenopause and Menopause make women more susceptible, as they are more likely to suffer from dry eyes and poor-quality tear production. The risk of these increases with age. Read on to understand the risks and, most importantly, how to protect your eyes.

Menopause & Dry Eyes
Eye makeup around the eye - annotated picture

“Good quality tears and a healthy tear film provide a natural barrier against infections”

How Drops, Sprays & Vitamins help

Our Drops, Spray and Vitamins strengthen your tears and maintain a healthy tear film.

  1. Physical injury. Good quality tears and a healthy tear film can help your eyes recover after physical trauma or injury.

  2. Infections. Good quality tears and a healthy tear film provide a natural barrier against infections (pathogenic damage).

  3. Chemical Damage. Our Eye Drops and Spray are preservative-free, provide relief and help wash out your eyes when exposed to hazardous chemicals.

Drops + Spray + Vitamins

“Be careful when you fix your makeup in a car or train… there've been some nasty accidents”

Physical injury from eye makeup

And how to protect your eyes

Physical injuries are caused by a direct impact to the eye - ranging from mild to severe. Some common examples:
• Removing makeup with excessive force can damage your lashes. (Commonly seen with waterproof makeup.)
• Eyeliner can block your meibomian glands (which run along the edge of your eyelids next to your eyelashes).
• Scratching your eyes with a sharp pencil eyeliner.
• Poking your eye while applying mascara.
• Spilling eyeshadow over your eyes affects your tears and disrupts your tear film.
• Artificial lashes affect your lashes' natural ability to repel dust and maintain tear film stability.
• Eyelash extensions can cause your eyelashes to fall off.

Pathogenic damage (infections) from eye makeup

And how to protect your eyes

Eye makeup increases the risk of infections (especially if you suffer from dry eyes). What to watch out for:
• Poor personal hygiene. Make sure you’ve got clean hands, surfaces, and applicators.
• Don’t share makeup.
• Old makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure you update your makeup every few months.
• Don’t modify your makeup. Not even adding water to your mascara.
• As we age, we all get Demodex mites on our eyes. (Demodex is a parasite that blocks ducts in your eyelashes – making them itchy and producing dandruff.) Oil-based eye makeup and people with dry eyes show higher rates of Demodex mites.
• Applying makeup to open wounds is an infection risk.

Chemical damage from eye makeup

And how to protect your eyes

Some chemicals in your makeup can cause inflammation. Some chemicals (including parabens, phenoxyethanol, and chlorphenesin) can damage your meibomian glands - which lie along the edge of the eyelids next to your eyelashes. This can lead to dry eyes and dry eye disease.

Like the skin across the body, your eyelids can develop contact allergies when exposed to allergens (preservatives, fragrances, additives, and colour pigments). Over time this leads to rashes, blisters, and itchy, burning skin.

Preservatives in eye makeup can cause inflammation.

Bags Under Eyes - Causes & Treatment

“Can eyeliner damage your eyes? The short answer is yes. Eyeliner can block your meibomian glands – which run along the edge of your eyelids next to your eyelashes. And, of course, when using a sharp eyeliner pencil - be careful not to scratch your eyes.”

different types of eye makeup

  • Mascara makes the eyes appear bigger and form an intense look by darkening, stretching, and thickening the eyelashes. Mascara has been produced in various forms, including cakes (or blocks), creams, gels, and low-viscosity liquids.

  • Eyelash dye and tint involve the application of permanent and semi-permanent colourants onto the lashes to make them appear darker and thicker. The colour can last several weeks (tinting) or longer (dyeing).

  • Eyelid makeup enhances your eyes - making them look big, bold, and attractive. The most popular products in this category are eyeliner and eyeshadow. Eye makeup remover products may be applied to make them more easily wiped off.

  • Eyeliner is used to make the eyes bolder with illusive shapes and sizes. Based on fashion trends, it is applied outside the lash line, on the inner lid area closer to the eye, or along the waterline. Eyeliner can be found in a cake, liquid, cream/ gel, or pencil with different formulations.

  • Eyeshadow is applied to eyelids and below the eyebrows to create depth and dimension to the eyes, making them and their colour stand out and become more attractive. Compared to other facial make-up products, the formulation of eyeshadows requires special care to prevent scratches, infections, irritation, and toxic effects due to soft-thin skin type and proximity to the eyes.

  • Eye makeup remover helps eye makeup to be more easily wiped off. The remover comes in different forms, including oils, creams, balms, and foams. Chemically, such removers follow the general principle of solubility referred to as “like dissolves like”, in which substances with similar chemical characteristics are dissolved in each other. Therefore, water alone cannot effectively remove cosmetics containing lipophilic compounds, requiring surfactants/ emulsifiers in oil-based or oil-free formulations.

  • Also referred to as blepharopigmentation, it has recently gained increasing attention. It removes the need for the daily application of eyeliner makeup and provides wearers with an enhanced dull eye.

  • Artificial eyelash, adhesive, and remover. Eyelash extensions and false eyelashes create bold and attractive looks by modifying natural lashes’ length, volume, curl, and thickness. Lash extensions are individually ‘stuck to’ the base of each natural lash using a special glue. False (strip) lashes are glued on top of your natural eyelashes. Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent and last for several weeks. False lashes are one-time use with the possibility of being reused 2–3 times.


    Get rid of bags under your eyes
    5 min

    Get rid of bags under your eyes

    6 min


    2 min


    MTHK Eye Spray & Drops
    711 reviews


    1. Brody, J. E. (2001). Personal Health; Eye Makeup: Tricks of the Trade, and a Warning. The New York Times.
    2. Brănișteanu, D. E., Pintilie, A., Dimitriu, A., Cerbu, A., Ciobanu, D., & Oanţă, A. (2016). Allergic Contact Dermatitis Due to Cosmetic Products. Revista de Chimie, 67(12), 2516-2519.
    3. Vohra, R., & Baccetto, R. (2015). A comprehensive review of mascara-induced ocular injury. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, 50(5), 356-362. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjo.2015.07.007
    4. Geerling, G., & Hartwig, D. (2004). Ocular surface changes in thyroid eye disease. Orbit, 23(4), 239-246. doi: 10.1080/01676830490893812
    5. Szél, Á., Rohonczy, G., Sebestyén, M., Szabó, E., & Németh, J. (2016). Cosmetic preservatives as therapeutic corneal and scleral tissue cross-linking agents. Acta Ophthalmologica, 94(2), 110-119. doi: 10.1111/aos.12960
    6. Leong, J., & Reddy, M. A. (2011). Demodex mites in acne rosacea: A population study. The British Journal of Ophthalmology, 95(4), 475-476. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2010.182477
    7. Bunya, V. Y., Fuerst, N. M., Pistilli, M., McCabe, B. E., Salvo, R., Macchi, I., & Massaro-Giordano, M. (2016). Variability of tear osmolarity in patients with dry eye. JAMA Ophthalmology, 134(6), 662-667. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.0539
    8. Bruix, A., Adán, A., Casaroli-Marano, R. P., & Conjunctivitis Allergic Task Force. (2008). Allergic conjunctivitis and H1 antihistamines. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 18(5), 335-342. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18928107/
    9. Hamid, S., & Mirza, T. (2013). Phenoxyethanol-induced nonimmune hydrops fetalis. AJP Reports, 3(1), 17-19. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1333649
    10. Slominski, A. T., Zmijewski, M. A., & Semak, I. (2017). The role of melanin pigment in melanoma. Experimental Dermatology, 26(7), 611-615. doi: 10.1111/exd.13320
    11. Vyas, A., & Saha, M. (2013). A review on demodex: The hidden enemy. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2(6), 5587-5599.
    12. Syed, H., Wells, R., Torkildsen, G. L., & Christensen, M. T. (2013). Assessment of Eyelid Hygiene Product Formulations. Poster presented at: ARVO Annual Meeting, May 5-9, 2013, Seattle, WA, USA. Retrieved from https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2147176
    13. Zimmerer, R. E., Lawson, K. D., & Calvert, C. J. (1986). The effects of wearing mascara on the ocular tear film. The International Contact Lens Clinic, 13(3), 85-92. doi: 10.1016/0892-8967(86)90036-1
    14. Ledermann, J., Gros-Otero, J. J., Palomino-Bautista, C., Moreno-Ramos, M. J., & Sabater, A. L. (2015). Cosmetics: A cause of blepharitis. Archivos de la Sociedad Española de Oftalmología, 90(3), 125-131. doi: 10.1016/j.oftale.2014.02.008
    15. Al-Rabiah, H. A., & Al-Sheikh, O. A. (2012). Blepharitis due to Demodex: Case report and review. Annals of Saudi Medicine, 32(3), 315-316. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22626630/
    16. Katircioglu, Y. A., Ciftci, F., & Ozkan Akinci, S. (2018). Contact dermatitis from eyelash adhesive. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 17(3), 343-346. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12454
    17. Sagili, S., & Heydon, P. (2007). Cosmetic and toiletry induced ocular problems: A brief review. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, 30(4), 223-230. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2007.05.002
    18. Jivraj, I., & Ng, M. (2014). Infections and inflammations from cosmetic procedures: 2. Complications and sequelae of permanent makeup. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, 18(6), 375-382. doi: 10.2310/7750.2014.14034
    19. Gavini, E., Hegge, A. B., & Rassu, G. (2012). Ocular drug delivery: A special focus on the thermosensitive approach. Nanomedicine, 7(4), 435-449. doi: 10.2217/nnm.12.6
    20. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2019). Eye Make-up and Eye Hygiene. Eye Smart. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eye-makeup
    21. Erickson, B. K., & Apostolopoulos, Y. (2015). Allergic contact dermatitis caused by eyelash glue. Cutis, 96(3), E15-E16.
    22. Nelson, J. D., & Craig, J. P. (2017). Diagnosing the Severity of Dry Eye: A Clear and Practical Algorithm. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 101(12), 1627-1631. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2016-309767
    23. Sabti, S., & Torky, A. A. (2018). Tear film break-up time in normal eyes and different clinical settings. Clinical Ophthalmology, 12, 2535-2542. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S183064
    24. Ayaki, M., Iwasawa, A., & Niwano, Y. (2014). Cytotoxicity of lid hygiene products and eye cosmetics in human meibomian gland epithelial cells. The British Journal of Ophthalmology, 98(3), 372-377. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2013-303905
    25. Jaeschke, R., O'Byrne, P. M., & Mejza, F. (2008). The safety of long-acting beta-agonists among patients with asthma using inhaled corticosteroids: Systematic review and metaanalysis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 178(10), 1009-1016. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200805-672OC
    26. Callejo, A. I., & Baudouin, C. (2007). Management of contact dermatitis due to nickel allergy: An update. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 10, 11-24. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S108302
    27. Yam, J. C. S., & Kwok, A. K. H. (2014). Ultraviolet light and ocular diseases. International Ophthalmology, 34(2), 383-400. doi: 10.1007/s10792-013-9826-x
    28. Chan, C. C., & Borchman, D. (2013). Waterproof mascara changes human meibum, eyelid margin, and tear film properties. Optometry and Vision Science, 90(10), 1146-1156. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000003
    29. Yildiz, A. H., Kocer, E., Alagoz, G., & Taner, P. (2015). Evaluation of the tear film instability in children using ocular surface disease index questionnaire after the application of anesthetic eye drops. Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, 52(4), 245-249. doi: 10.3928/01913913-20150609-01
    30. Amster, E., & Zalkinder, I. (2010). Contact dermatitis due to cosmetics. Harefuah, 149(7), 439-444, 478, 477. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20812501/
    31. Jie, Y., Xu, L., & Wu, Y. Y. (2009). Prevalence of dry eye among adult Chinese in the Beijing Eye Study. Eye, 23(3), 688-693. doi: 10.1038/eye.2008.101
    32. Andreatta, W., & Nightingale, K. (2016). Blepharitis: Always remember to look under the eyelids. Australian Journal of General Practice, 45(8), 539-542.
    33. Freitas, J. V. P., & Alves, M. R. (2013). Eyelid dermatitis: Contact allergy to para-phenylenediamine in a patient using an eyelash and eyebrow tint. Contact Dermatitis, 68(5), 315-316. doi: 10.1111/cod.12054
    34. Gomes, J. A. P., Azar, D. T., & Baudouin, C. (2017). Dry eye disease: Mechanisms, diagnosis, and treatment. Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 255(3), 447-448. doi: 10.1007/s00417-017-3621-0
    35. Ramasubramanian, A., & McClellan, A. J. (2013). Demodex blepharitis: Clinical perspectives. Clinical Optometry, 5, 29-36. doi: 10.2147/OPTO.S38111
    36. Suhalim, J. L., & Laihia, J. K. (2016). Effects of makeup on ocular surface and meibomian gland function. Current Eye Research, 41(11), 1391-1396. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2015.1131850
    37. Tighe, S., Gao, Y. Y., & Tseng, S. C. G. (2013). Terpinen-4-ol is the most active ingredient of tea tree oil to kill Demodex mites. Translational Vision Science & Technology, 2(7), 2. doi: 10.1167/tvst.2.7.2
    38. Khaier, A., & Christen, W. G. (2014). Mascara use is a potential cause of dry eye symptoms. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, 37(1), 84-85. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2013.05.001
    39. Yolton, R. L., Yolton, D. P., & Lopez, R. (2010). The Effects of 3 Eyelid Cleansers on Lid Wiper Epitheliopathy. Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice, 36(5), 276-279. doi: 10.1097/ICL.0b013e3181ea20e1
    40. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2019). Eye Make-up and Eye Hygiene. Eye Smart. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eye-makeup
    41. Korb, D. R., & Blackie, C. A. (2015). Meibomian Gland Diagnostic Expressibility: Correlation with Dry Eye Symptoms and Gland Location. Cornea, 34(12), 1539-1543. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000598