If eyes are the window to the soul, it is also true that they are one of our most sensitive organs. And women of all ages can be an unwitting victim of common beauty errors, from makeup mistakes to poor infection control.
Eyes are particularly vulnerable to infection and some beauty procedures can even put your vision at risk.
Optometry Australia’s resident optometrist, Luke Arundel, says that optometrists often see the results of mistakes that women make with common beauty treatments – all of which can be easily avoided.
Check expiry dates
One of the simplest mistakes you can make is to use makeup beyond its expiry date. Yes – makeup can go off! A common culprit is mascara and it can even cause eye infections if products are not replaced regularly.
Using old eye products can cause serious eye irritations
Generally, the use-by-date for liquid or gel eyeliner and mascara is three months. Pencil eyeliner lasts about two years.
Arundel advises: “We have bacteria along the eyelid margin and basically when we are fluffing away with your mascara stick you are re-colonising your bacteria.”
“They have expiry dates for a reason,” he says, stressing that this is particularly important for contact lens wearers. “The last thing they want is for them to be getting serious infections – and it is another source of infection at the end of the day.”
Check a product’s official expiry date by running the batch code through an app such as Check Your Cosmetics.
There’s even an app that will send you reminders of the expiration dates on your beauty products.
Lashings of trouble
Eyelash extensions are a new fad and, according to Arundel, have caused no end of dramas and serious eye problems.
“The problem I guess with some of these things – such as eyelash extensions – unlike the medical industry, there is no informed consent, there is no discussion of what could go wrong,” he says.
“It’s such a very delicate thing to do, to glue a fake lash onto a real lash. There is a huge variety of different products out there and all we are trying to flag is to ask a few questions – do they have training, is there some formaldehyde in the glue and some basic stuff.”
He suggested having a close look at the setup of any salon and make sure they have good cleanliness and well-trained staff before using their services
Regularly clean your brushes to save your eyes from unnecessary infections
Makeup tips for contact lens wearers
Arundel says that contact lens wearers need to be extra careful when applying makeup – but most of it is simply common sense, such as washing hands first.
Insert contact lenses before applying makeup. Stay away from the edge of the lid (to avoid blocking the oil glands which assist with tear production and reduce particles getting into the eye).
He also suggests asking your optometrist about daily disposable lenses – a fresh pair each day and free of makeup contamination (or be diligent with cleaning).
Go for creams over powders to avoid foreign bodies but be careful with oil based products around the eyes.
Remove eye makeup before washing your face. Optometrists don’t recommend using generic face wash for eye makeup removal. Use hypoallergenic makeup removal products and be gentle – no harsh rubbing or pressure and wipe downwards.
There are many moisturising eye makeup removal wipes that are prepackaged or use clean soft cotton pads with your preferred product.
Get your eyes tested
Arundel stresses that it is important to get your eyes tested regularly and see a specialist if you have itchy and/or sore eyes. Untreated infections or problems can become serious if left untreated.
Have you had difficulties with makeup and your eyes? Share your story below.