Eye Cosmetic Safety

Eye Cosmetic Safety

Makeup Brushes and eyexhadow compact

Wearing eye makeup is a fun and trendy way to express your style and enhance your look, but applying cosmetic products around the eyes can present risks. In this blog, we’ll discuss tips and recommendations for using and removing makeup and other cosmetics safely. 

Check Ingredients

Before using any makeup around your eyes, check the list of ingredients. All cosmetics are required to show the full ingredient list on the label. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the use of chemicals in cosmetics, although it should be noted that just 11 chemicals are banned in the US, while the European Union has banned over 1300 chemicals. In addition to chemicals not allowed in the US, color additives are regulated, and only those approved for use by the FDA can be sold. 

Watch out for allergens

Knowing the ingredients in your cosmetics can also help to minimize the risk of allergens. If you are adding new products to your routine, it is wise to do so one at a time, so any product that causes a reaction can be easily identified. Common allergens that may be found in eye cosmetics include dyes, fragrances, preservatives, latex, and nickel.

Avoid irritants

Products that contain glitter, minerals, metals, mica, or crushed gems can leave microscopic deposits in the eye. These foreign bodies can cause irritation and inflammation of the conjunctiva, and lead to dry eye. Other eye irritants commonly found in cosmetics include preservatives, such as benzalkonium chloride and parabens. 

Be wary of labels

It is common to see products labeled “all natural” or “organic.” These claims do not mean a safer product. In fact, according to the FDA, many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic. Instead, look for products that are ophthalmologist approved and hypoallergenic. 

Don’t share

Never share eye makeup or brushes with others. Eye infections spread easily, and makeup can be a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Apply externally only

Do not apply makeup to the waterline of the eye. This blocks the meibomian glands, which are responsible for releasing lipids into the eye and preventing tear evaporation. Clogged meibomian glands can lead to dry eye symptoms, inflammation of the eyelids, and infection of the eyelids. Additionally, eye makeup may touch the surface of the eye, creating an infection risk. 

Throw out old makeup and brushes

To reduce the risk of infection, throw away mascara, eyeliner, makeup brushes, and other eye cosmetics after 3 months. If you have had an eye infection, throw out all products and replace with new ones. Never add liquid such as saline or contact lens solution to old mascara as this increases risk for bacterial growth.  

Only used products designed for the eyes

When using cosmetics around the eyes, choose products intended for this use. Products labeled for other uses, such as lipsticks or blush, may have color additives not approved for use around the eyes. Additionally, avoid using the same brushes on your face and around your eyes, as they can carry bacteria from other parts of the face into the eyes.  

Keep clean

Thoroughly clean your face and eyes before applying makeup, and always use a clean brush. 

Remove makeup

It is important to thoroughly remove makeup before going to bed. Leaving makeup on the eyes overnight can increase risk of infection and lead to symptoms of dry eye and irritation. Additionally, lids and lashes that are not properly cleaned may develop an inflammatory condition called blepharitis. When selecting an eye makeup remover, opt for a product that is gentle on the eyes, such as We Love Eyes makeup remover oil or baby shampoo. Never allow makeup remover to enter the eye.  

Cosmetics can be used safely around the eyes, however it is important to buy products that are safe for the eyes, and use them correctly. Research product ingredients before you buy, and look for products that are ophthalmologist approved. If you notice irritation after using cosmetics around the eyes, discontinue use and call your eye doctor. If you are interested in learning more about eyes, read our other blog entries at www.mountainvieweyes.com To schedule an appointment, call or text (907) 328-2920.


United States Food and Drug Administration, Cosmetics Safety Q&A: Prohibited Ingredients,

Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32009R1223

US FDA, Color Additives in Specific Products, https://www.fda.gov/node/360374/#InCosmetics

Image Pixabay

Written By: Gina Stafford COA, LDO, ABOC

Posted in: Eye Doctor in Alaska, Eye Health Guide, Eyes

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