Beauty & Fashion

Prevent Eye Makeup Infections

Eye products are supposed to contain preservatives to keep bacteria from growing but over time, the preservative’s effectiveness declines.
December 2017

For a lot of women, eye makeup is an essential part of being properly dressed — just as important as a stylish outfit or nice shoes.

While mascara and eyeliner can create different looks, from subtle to striking, they can also make you sick.

The problem: Eye makeup can be a breeding ground for bacteria. We all have a few microbes, like staphylococcus and streptococcus, living around our eyes. When eyeliner or mascara is applied, some of those bugs stick to the applicator and are carried back to the makeup container.

Eye products are supposed to contain preservatives to keep bacteria from growing but some products don’t have enough. Over time, the preservative’s effectiveness declines and the bacteria on an eyeliner pencil or mascara applicator grow and multiply. Each time you apply makeup, you get bigger and bigger doses of bacteria — enough to cause serious infections.

“Every year, many women end up with eye infections from cosmetics,” warns the University of Rochester Medical Center. “In rare cases, women have been temporarily or permanently blinded by an eye cosmetic, according to the FDA.”

You can, however, prevent these problems and others with these simple tips from the University of Rochester Medical Center:

• Don’t share makeup to avoid spreading bacteria.

• Replace your eye makeup regularly, at least every three to four months.

• Remove eye makeup at the end of every day.

• Practice good eyelid hygiene.

• Keep updated on the latest eyelid-eyelash hygiene clinical safety reports.


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