How Can Makeup Affect Eye Health?

eye makeup

The concept of cosmetic enhancement has been around for centuries and even millennia - ancient Egyptians were known to use pigment, charcoal, and honey amongst other things as makeup! Today, makeup is extremely common and the number of people using it is always increasing. However, many of these people are not aware of the consequences of using or removing makeup properly and carefully. This results in damage to the eyes. These dangers include things such as infections, eye abrasions, damage to the cornea and problems with eyelashes. Read on to understand how these dangers might happen and how you can prevent them.

 1) Expiry Dates on Makeup

According to the College of Optometrists, nearly a fifth of makeup users don’t know that makeup has expiry dates. When a product is expired, there is a very high chance of bacterial growth. Especially if this product has been opened and used before. If you use an expired product this can result in an eye infection such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), or a more serious infection that can affect your eye health.

Mascara is a particularly bad culprit for causing infections. Your eyelids and eyelashes help to prevent bacteria and any other nasties from getting into your eye. Every time you use the mascara wand and dip it back into the tube, you are collecting those particles and contaminants from your eyelashes and placing them into the product, then applying them to your eyes the next time. Additionally, if you accidentally touch your eyeball with the wand this will make the issue worse! The particles in mascara can also block the pores on your eyelid margin which produces oil for a stable tear film. If those pores get blocked, you can get an inflammatory reaction in the eyelid called posterior meibomitis which is a common cause of dry and irritated eyes (which can be relieved with eye sprays or eye drops).

As a rule of thumb, it is recommended that you change your mascara and eyeliners every 3 months. For eyeshadows, you should change these roughly every 6-8 months but at least once a year. Your makeup will always tell you when the expiry date is, so make sure to check. This might be on the outer packaging or on the product itself. Though if you have had an eye infection, change your makeup immediately and do not use the old ones again.

If you’d like to take extra measures to prevent eye infection, we’d recommend using the following products: Ocusoft to clean your eyelids and Blephaclean wipes to remove any makeup or pollen. To relieve symptoms of infection we would also recommend using eye sprays or eye drops for tired or dry eyes, or a therapearl mask which can help relieve aches and pains whilst helping to fight dry eyes.

 2) NEVER Share and Always Allergy Test!

These two are rolled into one because they’re quite short and simple. Continuing from the prior point about bacteria, you should never ever share someone else’s makeup. It is incredibly unhygienic as that will be full of any bacteria or fungi that they might have had around their eyes, which you do not want on yours. Think, you wouldn’t share someone else’s used tissues, so you shouldn’t share makeup either.

On the other hand, if you are wanting to introduce new cosmetic products into your routine. Introduce them one by one, so that you can pinpoint if any of these products are causing problems or allergies. This is particularly important for people with sensitive skin.

3) Eye Injuries

Applying makeup whilst moving is a no-go as you’re more prone to accidentally catching your eye and giving yourself an injury. You can get an abrasion on your cornea which is known to be painful and cause a lot of discomfort, you might also get an infection in the cornea itself which may affect your vision.

If you have recently had eye surgery, then it is best not to wear makeup at all until you are fully healed. You will also need to replace all your old makeup with new products to minimise the risk of infection and further damage.

 4) False Eyelashes

These are a staple for many, yet they can be very dangerous. Glue near the ocular surface can cause abrasions and infections which may lead to scarring and permanent visual damage. Some of which may be restored only by laser eye surgery. The additional problem here is that very long lashes act as a wind tunnel forcing particles and air into the eye itself, making them drier and more irritated.

 5) Removing Makeup

It goes without saying that removing makeup needs to be done thoroughly. Leaving makeup on for too long, or overnight, increases the risk of infection, inflammation, and cysts. You will need to thoroughly but gently clean your eyes with appropriate products. Don’t rub your eyes aggressively or use harsh materials such as a towel as this will aggravate eye problems. We would recommend using products such as Blephaclean to ensure the effective removal of eye makeup and bacteria and prevent any problems, particularly if you suffer from eye conditions such as blepharitis or are a heavy makeup wearer. Blephaclean wipes are effective at removing dust, pollen, and makeup and are suitable for sensitive skin. Furthermore, you should fold the wipe or cotton pad with each swipe to avoid redepositing bacteria and product onto your eye.

 6) Wash Your Brushes

The final tip here is to always clean your brushes. Don’t forget that whatever you are using to apply eyeshadows, eyeliner or eyebrow products will also be full of bacteria from the last time you used them. So, it is important to keep those brushes clean. Make sure you wash them regularly, at least once a month to keep on top of your eye hygiene.


When used correctly, makeup can be safe and a great addition to your daily routine. Keep on top of these hygiene tips and you should be able to wear makeup without causing damage to your eyes. If you would further like to take care of your eye health, we would recommend taking supplements alongside your diet, you can read more about how nutrients can help your eye health in this blog.