Mascara is a staple of every woman’s makeup routine, with most of us not even really considering it heavy makeup, choosing to wear a quick swipe on an otherwise no-makeup day. According to ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dan Reinstein, writing in The Independent, mascara was invented thousands of years ago by the ancient Egyptians. Their mixture, made of crushed charcoal and soot, crocodile stool, honey, and water, doesn’t really compare to our modern products, but the concoction is still relatively similar.
While there isn’t any crocodile poop in our modern-day tubes of mascara, the product does expire just like anything else. Likewise, we need to be aware of its long-term effects if using it on a regular basis.
Applying mascara daily can irritate or even infect eyes
As Reinstein explains, eyes are very vulnerable to infection and the more often we touch them, the more likely it is they’ll get irritated. So, if you’re applying mascara on a daily basis, particularly with a tube that’s out of date or not particularly clean, it can quickly cause problems with your eyelids, tear film, or even the eye itself.
Reinstein warns particularly about soot particles found in mascara, which can block the oil-producing pores along the length of the eyelid. These pores make the oil essential for keeping the tear film stable, so messing with it is quite risky. Blocking can even cause a chronic inflammatory reaction called posterior meibomitis, which can make our eyes dry, red, and irritated.
It's important to remove mascara thoroughly before bed
According to a report in The Sun, experts warn that wearing mascara on a regular basis could actually cause more harm than good. Research by the College of Optometrists confirmed more than half of make-up users don’t check to see when their products expire, while almost a fifth didn’t realize make-up expired in the first place.
Dr. Alexis Granite, consulting dermatologist for Kiehl’s, warned that wearing mascara all the time could even lead to eyelash loss. She advised, “Removing eye make-up before you go to sleep is crucial. Any product that isn’t taken off has the potential to not only clog your pores, but also cause irritation, inflammation and infections.”
Optometrist Ceri Smith-Jaynes confirmed Reinstein’s warnings about damaging the tear film, noting, “Generally, any cosmetic applied around the eye area can migrate in to the eye in a matter of minutes.” Likewise, “Despite the preservatives in mascara, eventually the bottle is likely to become contaminated with the bacteria that live naturally on your skin.”
If you’re concerned, cut back on your mascara usage, and even if you’re not worried, it’s vital that you make sure your tube is clean, don’t share it with anyone, and replace it every few months.
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