Recently, we attended the American Academy of Optometry meeting and were priviledged to attend the lecture of Dr. Tracy Doll speaking all about eye makeup and the facts you need to know. It was an enlightening lecture and one that we believe is super important to share with everyone, especially those who suffer from dry eyes and ocular surface disease.
As women, we feel great when we wear makeup. It gives us confidence and helps us shine in a world that is so focused on outward appearance (sad, but true). But if you suffer from bleparitis, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), demodex, or dry eyes of any kind, makeup can be difficult for you to wear. There are so many irritants in today's cosmetics, and we have to be careful to minimize this when we have dry, irritated eyes, because conventional makeup will only exacerbate the issue.
Below, we're going to cover some of the main ingredients to watch out for in your eye makeup, and we'll give you some great alternatives! We're also going to talk a little bit about the importance of removing your makeup and how you can do this safely and effectively.
Best Eyeshadow for Sensitive Eyes
Let's start with eyeshadow. This cosmetic comes in powder form, creams, or sticks and can contain quite a few irritants. A few examples to watch out for are mica or talc, pigments such as iron oxides, chrome oxide, iron blue, manganese violet, and others, and emollients like lanolin and cocoa butter.
Your every day drugstore eyeshadow is likely to contain many of these ingredients, so you may want to check out some of the following. Omiana matte loose powder as well as 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented eyeshadows both have products that meet the needs of many dry eye sufferers, and they're less likely to cause allergic reactions as well. Keep in mind, anyone at any time can have an allergic reaction to anything, but these suggestions are less likely to be problematic!
Best Mascara for Sensitive Eyes
Ohh mascara...how I love you (says Dr. Jenna). Mascara falls into a few basic categories including classic water-based and waterproof. Waterproof mascara is definitely worse for you in terms of dry eyes, ocular surface disease, and the potential for complications. Fiber lashes are also an option now, but these are even worse than waterproof because the small fibers can easily fall into the eyes and cause irritation. Dr. Doll notes that problematic mascara ingredients may include isoparafins, polyvinylpyrrolidone resins, pigments, and stearic acid.
Another thing to note is that liquid makeups, such as mascara, should be discarded at least every 3 months to prevent bacterial build-up. The longer you wait to discard your liquid makeup, the more at risk you'll be for eye infections, blepharitis, loss of eyelashes, and other irritations.
Eyeliner is something that helps define our eyes and give us a more "awake" look, yet it can be especially problematic in certain cases. Whatever you do, NEVER tight-line your eyelids (placing eyeliner on the inner rim of your eyelids, directly over your meibomian glands...yikes!) Eyeliners come in many forms including liquid, pencil, and gels. Those which you can sharpen away (such as pencils) or wipe away the outer layer before applying (such as twist-up pencils) tend to be safer because you're able to remove some of the bacteria that may be present. Ingredients that may be probematic for dry eye sufferers include silicone resins such as trimethylsiloxysilicate and polymethylsilsesquioxane, pigments, and preservatives.
If you can't give it up and you'd like to try a better eyeliner, check out 100% Pure'sbrand of fruit-pigmented eyeliners, Alima Pure Natural Definition Eye Pencil, and Red Apple Lipstick Eyeliner. And for those of you who think, "I'll just get it tattooed on!"...not so fast. Tattoo eyeliner is not without risks, and it still cause swelling, allergic reactions, scarring, and infections. It also doesn't last forever, and the pigment has the potential to fade or migrate.
Best Eye Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes
Yes, makeup removers can even be harsh for your eyes! Although oil based removers can sometimes be worse for MGD, depending on the brand, they are exceptional at removing even waterproof makeup (and this is super important!) No matter what eye makeup you choose, you need to be sure you're completely removing it at the end of the day.
If you prefer a water-based makeup remover, micellar waters are going to be your go-to. Try the one fromTrader Joe's. However, if you prefer an oil-based remover, you can simply use fractionated coconut oil or an argan oil.If you want to go a step further and ensure that you're also keeping demodex under control, choose an oil-based remover that contains tea tree oil, like Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Makeup Remover, which contains organic grapeseed oil, organic jojoba oil, vitamin E, and organic tea tree oil.
Throughout our time at the Academy meeting, we learned a ton about the ocular surface. But the one thing that kept coming up over and over was the necessity of an eyelid cleansing routine. We talked about this a bit earlier in this blog, and I want to highlight the fact that it's extremely important for everyone to be cleansing their eyelids and lashes twice per day. This is as simple as using a hypochlorous acid solution after effectively removing your makeup, such as with Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser.
We all want to look beautiful, and makeup does help enhance our features...but at what cost? If you're going to wear makeup, make sure you're using brands that avoid harsh chemicals where possible, and absolutely ensure that you're taking it off at the end of the day.