Mascara – what are the potential perils

Maintaining good make-up hygiene is essential in preventing skin irritations and serious eye infections

Applying make-up is an everyday routine for millions of people worldwide. Even if a person only applies make-up once or twice a week, maintaining good make-up hygiene is essential in preventing skin irritations and serious eye infections.

How to practice good make-up hygiene

There are a number of simple but important steps that can help to prevent eye irritation and eye infections.

       Renew your make-up every three months to reduce the risk of developing infections.

       Avoid applying make-up at the meeting of the eye and the eyelid to avoid blocking the important Meibomian oil glands, and causing dry eye.

       Storing make-up products properly is also important. If cosmetics are stored in particularly hot conditions, for instance above 29°C, the preservatives in the products are at a higher risk of deteriorating.

The story of fifty-year-old Theresa Lynch from Australia was widely reported in the press after it was published in the Journal of Ophthalmology.

For more than twenty-five years, she applied mascara almost daily but failed to properly remove it or clean her lashes efficiently over the course of those years. Mascara can form particles that can become dislodged from the eyelashes and end up underneath the lids. The end result can be seen in the pictures on the right.
The lumps were embedded so deep that particles were building up on top of each other. Each time Lynch blinked, the bumps would rub the surface of her eye and pose a serious risk to her vision. Dr. Dana Robaei, who published the study on Theresa’s injuries, said she had never seen anything like it, and if a scratch on Lynch’s eye were to get infected, the infection could have resulted in blindness. Lynch underwent an operation to have the hard lumps removed from inside her eyelid.

While this case is uncommon, it does demonstrate the serious implications of not having an effective cleaning regimen.