6 min

YOUR EYE MAKEUP- WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

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.

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

PROFESSOR DAWN SIM, CONSULTANT OPHTHALMIC SURGEON AT MOORFIELDS EYE HOSPITAL, CO-FOUNDER AT MTHK.

what could go wrong

Your Risk Increases With Age

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

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

The risk of these increases with age. Perimenopause and menopause make women more susceptible, as they are more likely to suffer from dry eyes and poor-quality tear production.

Menopause & Dry Eyes
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Annotated image of an eye with makeup Annotated image of an eye with makeup placeholder

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”

PROFESSOR DAWN SIM, CONSULTANT OPHTHALMIC SURGEON AT MOORFIELDS EYE HOSPITAL, CO-FOUNDER AT MTHK.

Physical injury

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 affects your lashes' natural ability to repel dust and maintain tear film stability.
• Eyelash extensions can cause your eyelashes to fall off.

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Pathogenic damage (infections)

Eye makeup increases the risk of infections (especially if you suffer from dry eyes). Good quality tear production and a healthy tear film provide a natural barrier against infections.

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 grounds 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.

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Chemical damage

Some chemicals used in makeup can be hazardous for your eyes. These chemicals can cause inflammation (that can lead to 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.

Parabens, phenoxyethanol, and chlorphenesin can affect your meibomian glands (along the edge of the eyelids next to your eyelashes). This can lead to dry eyes and dry eye disease.

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

ALEX IONIDES, CONSULTANT OPHTHALMIC SURGEON AT MOORFIELDS EYE HOSPITAL, CO-FOUNDER AT MTHK.

different types of eye makeup
  • Mascara is used to make the eyes appear bigger and form an intense look by darkening, stretching, and thickening the eyelashes. Mascara has been produced in a variety of 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, and to enable them to be more easily wiped off; eye makeup remover products may be applied.
  • 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 the form of 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. 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 is insufficient to remove cosmetics containing lipophilic compounds effectively, requiring surfactants/ emulsifiers in oil-based or oil-free formulations. The remover comes in different forms, including oils, creams, balms, and foams.
  • 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 are used to 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.
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