We’re so over all of the Halloween fake-contact-lens warnings… But just because we’ve put the phantom back in the closet for another year does not mean that we will forget about painting our faces. Okay, so Morticia makeup is a little much for the upcoming holiday season, but eyelash extensions are definitely still a beauty accessory that many women covet.
Long luscious eyelashes, we all want them. There are products galore claiming they will darken, thicken and even grow lashes! But mascara and lash extensions and even dying the eyelash can be risky…. In fact, those lashes are attached to a very sensitive part, your eyes! Many don’t realize there are small oil glands at the base of the eyelashes, the meibomian glands. These glands, run along the edges of the eyelids, and when these glands become irritated or inflamed, the oil secretions thicken and do not flow properly. The meibomian secretions are an important part of a healthy tear film, and their absence can cause the tear layer to become unstable or evaporate quickly. Makeup, especially eye makeup, can block these oil glands, which is one of leading cause for any ocular discomfort- burning, watering, red, itching, even eye fatigue. Yes, and even dry eye!
When the eyelash follicles along the edge of the eyelid become inflamed, not only can you get dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes, there can be many more problems than just un-luscious lashes! Who knew that eyelid irritation and inflammation can also threaten vision?!
Here are some tips to keep your luscious lashes without causing red, irritated eyes.
When choosing mascara, avoid waterproof! Yes, you chose that specifically because of your dry eyes that water all day and you don’t want to look like a raccoon. One of the difficulties with waterproof mascara is that it is made to cling to the lashes, using chemicals like pine tar! Pine tar is a mega sticky substance that is commonly used by baseball players to give a better & slip-free grip on their bats. Pine tar is nearly impossible to remove, particularly from your delicate eyelid area! So, at the end of your day, your lashes are stuck with an unhealthy residue, which is a great place for bacteria to grow. And did you know that these bacteria can morph into bugs? Yes, eye bugs! Yuck! (but that’s a subject for another post)
So then is it better to dye or tattoo your lashes to avoid bacteria, bugs and clumpy crusty lids? Well… When considering treatments like permanent tattooing of makeup, dying the eyelashes with tint and even eyelash extensions your eyelid glands can be permanently altered. Just the heat alone associated with tattooing make-up can render these glands useless.
If you are considering using a cosmeceutical eyelash-extender, speak with your eye doctor first to determine your risks and benefits. Everybody’s eyes are different and react differently to cosmetics. Being aware of your eye health is a first step in maintaining healthy eyes, for today and tomorrow.
• Limit the amount of parabens in the ingredients (an integral ingredient in mascara, parabens are difficult to avoid, but make sure that in the list of ingredients, ‘paraben’ is at the bottom of the list)
• Replace your mascara on a timed schedule. The three-month replacement schedule is very important. Just think that if your mascara is dry and crusty, it will have a similar effect on your lids!
• Bacteria can and will grow in your make-up and you don’t want that near your eyes.
• Sharing eye make-up is a definite NO-NO.
• Wear, wipe and wash – don’t wear your mascara for extended period of time and remember to always remove the makeup before bedtime.
You can have beautiful lashes but, you must understand potential long-term risks with your eyelash enhancements and beauty routine. Your twenty-something eyes may be able to tolerate the occasional irritations and dry eye symptoms but this is a chronic condition that worsens with age. And makeup-induced dry eye is also another post for another day!
Overall, don’t forget to bat those beautiful lashes and BLINK!
TFOS Member, Leslie E. O’Dell, OD, FAAO
The May Eye Care Center and Associates
Your Vision is Our Focus