Keeping Eyes Healthy While Using Makeup

Posted August 14, 2019


Makeup is a great tool that can help to enhance facial features; however, if not applied and taken off properly, it can jeopardize your eye health. Instead of swearing off makeup entirely, follow these tips in order to ensure your eyes stay healthy. 

Selecting the Right Brand

There is no magical formula for selecting the right brand and right type of makeup for your skin. Sometimes it is a matter of trial-and-error to determine which brands irritate and which don’t. Overall, if a brand of mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, or other makeup irritates your eyes, remove it thoroughly and immediately. If you already know a particular material or chemical causes irritation, check the ingredients before you buy. 

What about “natural” makeup? Isn’t that supposed to be safer because it’s, well, natural? Not necessarily! The FDA doesn’t have a definition for what is “natural” as opposed to “synthetic”. That term doesn’t mean much, and doesn’t necessarily mean every ingredient in the product is safe. Uranium, for example, is “natural”, but we certainly don’t want any of that in our makeup! “Natural” makeup, therefore, may contain harsh chemicals that, when left near your eyes, can create a breeding ground for bacteria.


Eye makeup should be applied very carefully, always while standing still and with a steady hand. If the applicator misses the eyelid or eyelashes and strikes the eye, it could cause a corneal abrasion: also known as a scratched cornea. The cornea is a clear tissue surrounding the outside of the eye, which protects the inner eye from particles and infections. When an abrasion occurs, the cornea becomes susceptible to infection, in addition to being incredibly uncomfortable. 

Another important health tip to remember is to never share makeup products with another person. Bacteria thrives in makeup tubes and on makeup applicators. When you share makeup with someone else, bacteria from their eyes and skin is transferred to you, and vice versa. Even if they aren’t showing obvious signs of any infections or disease, you could still contract any number of ailments from sharing applicators and makeup products. 

Lastly, always follow the directions and warnings on the makeup product. If it says that this product is not safe to wear around or near your eyes, follow those instructions! Some products can cause damage or serious irritation if improperly used. 


At the end of a long night, removing your makeup is sometimes the last thing you want to do. But it is best for your eyes and your skin to remove the makeup right away, and especially make sure it’s removed before going to sleep. 

If not removed, particles from the makeup can break off and get into your eyes. These can cause, at best, mild irritation, and at worse, mild to severe abrasions. Further, the chemicals in makeup products create a bacteria-friendly environment, which can easily spread from eyelashes or eyelid to your eyes. A common infection as a result of this is conjunctivitis or Pink Eye. 

Not only does leaving make-up on cause the infection, but the next time makeup is applied, the bacteria will be transferred to the applicator brush and into the tube. This not only prolongs the symptoms of the infection, but also makes the infection easily transferable to someone else. 

What Now?

When it comes to makeup, it’s important to remember the eye is an incredibly sensitive organ that is not made to resist foreign substances such as makeup. By taking extra precautions when applying and removing makeup, you can keep your eyes healthy and safe from bacteria and abrasions. 

If you suspect you have a corneal abrasion or an infection, it’s crucial to speak with your doctor within 24 hours to ensure proper healing and reduce chances of vision loss. Schedule an eye exam or appointment at Invision today, at either our Christiansburg or Salem locations, to learn more about complete eye health and care!

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