For many women, eye makeup is an essential part of being properly dressed, as important as a stylish outfit or nice shoes.
But 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. And over time, the preservative’s effectiveness declines. As a result, 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:
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.
Christine Sindt, OD, Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, recommends wiping the eyes daily with a new antibacterial eyelid cleanser, such as Avenova from NovaBay Pharmaceuticals. “One recent study showed that Avenova dramatically reduces the amount of Staphylococcus and other bacteria around the eye — by more than 99 percent,” says Sindt. “Avenova contains a solution of pure hypochlorous acid, a substance used by the body as a natural defense against pathogens, but is completely harmless to skin.”
“I encourage women to talk to their doctors about daily eye hygiene using safe and effective products, such as Avenova, which can be the best defense against infections and other common eye problems, like dry eye and Blepharitis,” adds Columbus, Ohio, ophthalmologist Alice T. Epitropoulos, MD. “Take these steps, and women can have both beauty and healthy eyes.”