If you experience chronic Dry Eye Disease (DED), examining all the impacts to your eyes’ health will help create an effective treatment plan. In particular, if you use makeup regularly, think carefully about what types of cosmetics you use, and how you apply it.
Makeup and dry eye are not always a winning combination! And this holds true for a variety of cosmetics and causes of Dry Eye Disease. You don’t want to stop applying makeup, of course, if it is an important part of your lifestyle. But you necessarily need to stop using cosmetics near the eyes when symptoms flare, and switch to different cosmetic materials that treat your eyes better. Below we offer a few easy tips to help to keep your eyes in optimal shape.
Eye Makeup and Dry Eye
When you suffer from the symptoms of DED, you know how sensitive your eyes can get. Redness, itchiness, burning, and watering all signal that you may have chronic dry eye disease. And in over 85% of cases, you could suffer from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). When battling the painful symptoms of DED, the last thing your eyes need is a foreign substance adding its own extra irritations.
For further information about how to wear makeup and manage your Dry Eye symptoms, Dr. Laura Periman and Dr. Leslie O’Dell share their expertise here. (Dr’s O’Dell and Periman serve on EyeGiene’s Scientific Advisory Board.)
Applying eyeliner to the lids is a popular makeup technique, but this practice can actually make MGD worse by clogging your eyelid oil glands. This inhibits the flow of meibum, an important oily secretion that protects your tears from rapid evaporation. Sufficient flow of meibum keeps your eyes healthier. Eyeliner can also make its way onto the eye surface. As you might expect, this will irritate your eye.
Products that can clog the eyelid oil glands also include mascara, eye shadow, and eye cream.
In addition, cosmetic products that contain toxic compounds, such as parabens, can easily irritate the eyes.
Fashionable eye accessories may also be problematic. When you apply false eyelashes or eyelash extensions, they can interfere with the primary function of the eyelashes, which is to provide protection to the eyes from foreign particles. Plus, the material used to attach them can also clog oil gland ducts.
How to Minimize the Effects of Cosmetics on Dry Eye
When you are experiencing DED symptoms, you should avoid using eye makeup or cosmetic products near the eyes. However, if eliminating eye makeup and related cosmetic products entirely is not a realistic strategy for you, we can suggest some steps you should take to help keep your eyes healthy:
- Replace old products – Most eye makeup products should be replaced within a three-to-six-month period.
- Apply hypoallergenic products – Avoid using eye products that contain toxic ingredients, such as benzalkonium chloride, formaldehyde, and parabens.
- Choose fragrance-free eye makeup – Fragrance can be another irritant, so buy cosmetics and eye makeup that contain no fragrance.
- Clean makeup tools – Be sure to clean your makeup equipment regularly and use hypoallergenic cleansing agents that come free of fragrance.
- Take a supplement – Certain supplements support eye health, including those with omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use a warm compress/mask – A warm compress is one of the best home treatments for dry eye symptoms. Apply a portable, self-heating mask for the utmost convenience.
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