Beauty Products & Routines Potentially Harming Your Eyes

Risking it all for the Lashes

Having long, thick, and beautiful lashes is very important to most people who wear makeup. Many apply mascara without even looking in the mirror or while in a moving vehicle, and this can cause horrible accidents – such as getting a corneal abrasion! One of the most common eye injuries is getting poked in the eye by a mascara wand. This takes some time to heal and can be painful. Aside from a possible corneal abrasion, you may run a risk of a serious infection from bacteria getting into your eye, especially if your mascara is not replaced every three months. And if you are sharing your mascara with others (which is not recommended), it should be replaced more frequently.

False eyelashes and eyelash extensions look beautiful and definitely make your eyes pop, but sometimes the glue used to apply the false eyelashes can enter your tear film which can increase symptoms of dry eye, inflammation, blockage of the lacrimal drainage system, cause corneal or conjunctival abrasions, and/or a bacterial infection. When getting eyelash extensions, it is advised to research the available places in your area and be aware of any ingredients used. Also, make sure your eyelashes are clean and blepharitis-free prior to applying extensions.

Cosmetic Tattooing

Micropigmentation, permanent makeup, or cosmetic tattooing. These are all different names for the same type of procedure, which may seem great for people who suffer from dry eye because they don’t have to apply it every day, but that may not be the case. Eyeliner tattooing is associated with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Also, mechanical microtrauma from the tattoo gun may lead to acute blepharitis and keratitis.


Just like makeup, many lotions and skincare products contain chemicals that can be harmful to the lid, cornea, and conjunctiva if they come in contact with the area surrounding the eye. The topical cream Argireline, which you may know as “Botox in a jar” is marketed as a less expensive, less invasive alternative to Neurotoxin injections; however, this product can interfere with MGD treatment as it relaxes the muscle releasing the oil from the meibomian glands, and also contains preservatives.

Application & Removal

I’m sorry, this will not be a tutorial on how to achieve that perfect contour or winged eyeliner. However, this information is just as important as you want to make sure your eyes and eyelids stay healthy while you are showing off your makeup skills!

When applying makeup such as eyeliner and eyeshadow it is recommended to stay outside of the lash line to avoid blocking to meibomian glands. As we know, blocked meibomian glands can lead to styes/chalazia appearing or serious infections. Also, try to apply your mascara to the tip of your lashes only instead of starting from the roots.

Proper makeup removal is an essential step to your beauty routine. If you are a contact lens wearer, it is best to remove your contact lenses before removing your makeup to avoid any particles getting into the tear film and cause contact lens discomfort. Everyone should absolutely remove their makeup at the end of the day before going to bed to, again, prevent clogging your meibomian glands and prevent infection. Avoid makeup removal products that contain oil, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, and diazolidinyl urea. It is always recommended to use a gel-based makeup removal. After that step, using a gentle eyelid scrub can help remove excess makeup.

Tips & Tricks

• Many people forget this important step: wash your brushes properly and frequently! You must keep your makeup applicators clean and use a brush cover when not in use. Also, replace your brushes every 6-12 months or immediately if you have developed an eye infection.
• Always use a new applicator at the store when shopping for new products and avoid sharing with others.
• “Hypoallergenic,” “all natural,” “organic,” or “ophthalmologist-tested” does not automatically mean it’s good for your eyes. Read all ingredients.
• Lastly, don’t pump your mascara wand in and out of the container as this action introduces air and bacteria in the bottle. Simply, twirl it around.

What to Avoid

• Ingredients such as the following tend to cause allergies or irritation: arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, carmine, lead, nickel, selenium, and thallium.
• Two-step mascaras consisting of a nylon base coat and a colored top coat.
• Makeup with a higher water content, such as liquid makeup as they are more prone to bacteria and fundus buildup.
• Glitter and powder-based shadows have particles that can get into the eye and cause irritation and/or infections. Cream shadows are a better alternative.

Should I just give up makeup altogether?

Absolutely not (unless you want to). At Boutique Eye Orlando, we are not against makeup. We would just like everyone to be aware of all the possible side effects and harsh chemicals to try to avoid. Makeup is an awesome way to express yourself and show off your style, but eye health should always come first!



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