Beauty Trends and Eye Health

Beauty trends are ever-changing and evolving.  As far back as ancient Egypt, cosmetics have been used around the eye, lids and lashes.   As a culture, we continue spending countless dollars on ways to look our best, often overlooking the harmful side effects of some products. Whether you are at the forefront of fashion or lagging behind, this article contains some tips to avoid those not-so-beautiful side effects.

Although there have been many advances in formulations of cosmetics, the fragile skin surrounding the eye is at higher risk of irritation and infection.

Eyeliner and mascara are some of the most popular products on the market. We recommend applying mascara towards the tips of the lashes, away from the roots. Eyeliner should be applied outside the eyelash line. Always avoid applying liner over the oil glands located on the top and bottoms of the lids just inside the lash line. This will help prevent blockages of the glands which can lead to infection, inflammation, or dry eyes. Another way to avoid these blockages is to remove all makeup every night before bed. Use a makeup remover formulated for use around the eyes or a gentle lid scrub.

Never share makeup products or applicators. A friend’s new eyeliner or lash booster may look amazing. Still, a trial run of their makeup could leave you looking worse for wear if you contract an infection. Always wash your hands before applying or removing makeup or other eye products. Always look at product labels and discontinue use if the product has expired as it is risky to use a product when its quality is breaking down.

Wearing false eyelashes or eyelash extensions has become increasingly popular in recent years. The biggest concern with both these practices stems from allergic reactions to the adhesives used to glue the products to the lash line. Harsh ingredients such as formaldehyde and latex can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. False eyelash products may have other side effects such as irritation, redness, inflammation, swelling, dry eyes, loss of lashes, and infections.

Lash extensions have risks similar to those of false lashes. The glue and extensions are applied midway on each individual eyelash. Patronizing a certified or licensed lash technician who uses good hygiene during application can lessen the risk of infection. However, both lash extensions and false lashes add weight to the lash line, which can change the eye’s blink rate and lead to increased dry eye symptoms. When one blinks, the lids naturally express oils to help hydrate the eye. Decreasing the blink rate could cause an increase in evaporative dry eye.

Permanent eyeliner tattooing is increasing in popularity. Pigmented cells are inserted below the surface of the skin in a tattoo-like process along the eyelash margin. This process essentially involves inserting a foreign body into your skin. Reactions are rare, but when they do happen, it is very difficult to remove the source of the allergen. Reactions can occur months or even years after the procedure. In rare cases, this can lead to scar tissue and disfigurement. One of the most common side effects of this cosmetic enhancement is dry eyes of varying severity. The tattooing process could potentially damage and infect the oil glands located within the lids so severely that the glands no longer function.

While wanting to look and feel our best, to protect our eyes, we should always consider the risks associated with cosmetic enhancements and beauty trends. We always recommend you see your eye doctor in the event of any not- so-beautiful results.


Author:  Dr. Erin Savage


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