Skin Care Column: Using Eye Cosmetics Safely

Skin Care Column: Using Eye Cosmetics Safely

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all cosmetics marketed in the United States, including mascara, eye shadows, eye liner, concealers and eyebrow pencils.

Here is some advice:

  • Keep everything clean. Dangerous bacteria or fungi can grow in some cosmetic products,as well as their containers. Cleanliness can help prevent eye infections. Always wash your hands before applying eye cosmetics, and be sure that any instrument you place near your eye is clean. Be especially careful not to contaminate cosmetics by introducing microorganisms. For example, don’t lay an eyelash wand on a countertop where it can pick up bacteria. Keep containers clean, since these may also be a source of contamination.
  • Don’t moisten cosmetic products. Don’t add saliva or water to moisten eye cosmetics. Problems can arise if you overpower a products preservative capability.
  • Don’t share or swap. People can be harmed by others’ germs when they share eye makeup. Keep this in mind when you come across “testers” at retail stores. If you do sample makeup at a store, be sure to use single-use applicators, such as clean cotton swabs.
  • Don’t apply or remove eye makeup in a moving vehicle. Any bump or sudden stop can cause injury to your eye with a mascara wand or other applicator.
  • Check ingredients, including color additives. As with any cosmetic product sold to consumers, eye cosmetics are required to have an ingredient list on the label. If they don’t, they are considered misbranded and illegal.
  • Use only cosmetics intended for the eyes on the eyes. Don’t use lip liner as eyeliner, for example. You may expose eyes either to contamination from your mouth or to color additives that are not approved for use near the eyes.
  • Don’t dye eyelashes and eyebrows. No color additives are approved by FDA for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes and eyebrows. Permanent eyelash and eyebrow tintsand dyes have been known to cause serious eye injuries.
  • Use care with false eyelashes or extension. False eyelashes and extensions, as well as their adhesives, must meet safety and labeling requirements for cosmetics. Since the eyelids are delicate, an allergic reaction, irritation, or injury in the eye area can occur. Check the ingredients to make sure you are not allergic to the adhesives.
  • Don’t use old eye cosmetics. Manufacturers usually recommend discarding mascaratwo to four months after purchase. Discard dried-up products.

June English is a licensed esthetician and owner of Professional Skin Care Choices LLC., in Los Alamos. For more information, visit or call 505.507.0124.

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