Failure to remove your eye makeup on a regular basis can eventually cause serious problems, like inflammation and irritation, according to a local ophthalmologist.
Dr. Stephen Verity of Parkland Hospital and UT Southwestern Medical Center says anything that comes close to the surface of the eye that’s foreign to the normal skin should be removed on a regular basis. If it’s left in place, a number of complications can occur.
Materials in eye makeup can be focally irritating to tissues. Some people actually develop hypersensitivity reactions to the materials in makeups.
“If they’re left in place on the skin for a long period of time, the buildup can attract things like dirt and bacteria, which can cause significant inflammatory reactions,” Verity said.
Interview Highlights: Dr. Stephen Verity
Potential problems with makeup: This material is made up of things not normally found on the skin. Pigments and things, carbon black that make up the pigments of eye makeup can be focally irritating to tissues. Some people actually develop hypersensitivity reactions to the materials in makeups. If they’re left in place on the skin for a long period of time, the buildup can attract things like dirt and bacteria, which can cause significant inflammatory reactions.
Less harmful alternatives: A number of makeups have been developed that tend to be more hypoallergenic. And I think those are the kind of products that people who tend to have hypersensitivities should seek out if you have problems with hypersensitivity reactions; checking with your eye care professional about particular formulations might not be a bad idea.
For contact lens wearers: Contact lenses represent a foreign body on the ocular surface. And the combination of makeup wear in concert with contact lens wear can sometimes be a problem. Typically, this occurs with more than generous application of makeup, which tends to accumulate in the preocular tear film. It flows around on the preocular tear film, and because of its affinity for contact lenses, they come together and can create problems for folks.
Contact lens wearers: In general, make sure you don’t over apply makeup. Apply any kind of eye makeup away from the lash lines so that you reduce the amount of material that winds up in the preocular tear film. Nevertheless, anything that’s put around the eye often winds up in the eye. And that’s something to be aware of.
Dry eye: For the same reason, individuals who have dry eye or borderline dry eye can sometimes develop irritation or problems associated with mascara because it’s going to wind up in a precorneal tear film that is slightly lower than it should be, and that deposition on the ocular surface can cause irritation.
Tips for avoiding eye irritation or injury from makeup:
- Apply makeup sparingly.
- Keep the material away from the lash lines.
- Avoid plugging up the meibomian glands, which are the gland openings in the eyelids.
- Replace makeup materials after about three months.
For removing eye makeup:
Use commercial products that are hypoallergenic, non-toxic and free of germs, making sure the products aren’t contaminated.