Have you ever experienced irritation, redness or increased discomfort on days when you wear make-up?
You’re not the only one. Make-up application and removal processes form a crucial part of your daily routine, and can cause or aggravate dry eyes if not done properly.
How does make-up cause dry eyes?
The types of make-up you apply to your eyes are varied: mascara, pencil, eyeliner or eye shadow. When applying this make-up during the day, and if it is not carefully removed, particles can slip into the tear film that covers the cornea (that is, the tears that moisturise the surface of your eye), causing irritation.
Applying make-up to the free edge of your eyelid (inside the lash line) can also block your Meibomian gland ducts. These glands secrete the oily layer of the tear film, which has a lubricating function and limits the evaporation of tears. When the Meibomian glands do not function normally, it is referred to as Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
In addition, make-up can cause allergies and irritation to the eyelids. The skin of the eyelids is the thinnest on the entire body, making it easier for allergens to penetrate. An irritated eyelid will therefore be an aggravating factor in dry eye.
How should you adjust your make-up routine?
- Choice of make-up
Even before applying make-up to the eye, the choice of make-up, and especially its composition, is important because it may end up on the surface of your eye. Don’t hesitate to go to a pharmacy or health retailer where you will find products suited to sensitive eyes.
In general, avoid using makeup that contains preservatives and perfume, or waterproof and shiny, glittery or pearly makeup that may contain ingredients that are harsh to your eyelids and eye. Using cream instead of powder eyeshadow will prevent particles from falling into your tears, which can irritate the surface of the eye. Make sure you also pay attention to the expiry dates of your products.
- Applying make-up
Always wash your hands thoroughly before applying make-up, and especially after looking for your products in your toiletry bag! When applying your pencil or eyeliner, make sure you don’t apply anything inside the lash line, so as not to block the meibomian gland canal. For the same reason, apply your mascara from the middle of your lashes. Before applying eye shadow, make sure the brush is clean before using it.
- Make-up removal
The make-up removal stage is also important, and it is necessary to remove your make-up every night, with no exceptions. Sleeping with make-up on your eyes can also cause blockage of the Meibomius glands and trigger dry eyes.
Make sure you wash your eyes in the morning before applying make-up again. Like the make-up itself, the choice of make-up remover is an important one. Opt for make-up removers without preservatives or perfumes, such as a micellar water suitable for sensitive eyes, rather than a cleansing milk.
- Semi-permanent make-up
Lastly, various types of permanent make-up such as false eyelashes, eyelash extensions or colourings should be avoided, as they contain ingredients that are harmful to sensitive eyes.
IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM DRY-EYE ISSUES, PLEASE SEE AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST.