Have you ever had your eyes turn a little red after applying eyeliner? Or maybe you have felt a minor irritation that made you wonder if you are harming your eyes. The truth is that if some particles of the eyeliner are applied on the inside of the lash line, they can ‘migrate’ in to the eye and cause problems to your vision. This claim is supported by a research of the University of Waterloo in Canada that was published in the journal of Eye and Contact Lens Science and Clinical Practice.

Eyeliner was applied by the research participants behind the lash line (closer to the eye), or outside the lash line (further from the eye). When the participants applied the eyeliner behind the lash line the particles of makeup came into contact with the tear film, a fluid, transparent film that covers the external structures of the eye. In five minutes a quantity comprised of between 15 and 30% more make up particles had made their way into the eye. However, within two hours the makeup residues were removed from the tear duct and the remaining particles were practically negligible.


What effects can it have on the eyes?

Certain complications may occur, including irritation and redness. Dangerous bacteria could be introduced to the eye from the eyeliner especially if it was used by someone else recently.

Those of you who have dry eyes, sensitive eyes or other eye related conditions should take greater care.

“Even those who wear contact lenses must be careful. Some of the material may cause irritation and discomfort microderm abrasions and hassle,” warns Professor Marcello Monti, head of the Department of Dermatology at Humanitas. “The possible risks – continues Prof. Monti – stem from the glitter, which makes the eyeliner thicker and is used to give greater brilliance to the eyes. Glitter consists of minerals such as mica or aluminium lamellae”.


How to prevent irritation

  • Use a clean eyeliner
  • Clear the tip of your eyeliner of debris from previous applications
  • Don’t apply repetitively as the build up may be harmful
  • Remove all makeup before going to bed as it will rub off unto your pillow and then spread to other parts of your face as well as your eye

Remember that different make up and eye liners have different constituents and some are more harmful than other.