Many women love to wear make-up. It is a ritual that includes many steps and different types of instruments. Make-up does not harm the eyes, though it is important to buy cosmetics that do not contain allergenic substances such as nickel, which is a major cause of irritability and dermatitis from eye contact. We spoke with dott. Maria Grazia Quaranta, an Ophthalmology specialist in Humanitas.

Beautiful brunette woman removing makeup from her face

What precautions should be taken before purchasing makeup?

“Makeup tools that are typically used include a pencil, eye shadow and mascara. The pencil contains fatty substances and is water repellent. Therefore, it must have a good seal and able to be removed well. When applying mascara, it is necessary to pay attention to the inside of the eye; as the edge of the lower eyelid can be home to abrasions or irritations of the conjunctiva and cornea. Eye shadow can be in the form of powder or cream; the powder contains microparticles that can penetrate the eye, resulting in irritation and causing nuisance. Often as a result of these leaks, we tend to rub our eyes with possible eye tissue abrasion. The powder eye shadow is not recommended for patients with ocular hypersensitivity or those who have undergone eye operations. Mascara that is applied to the eyelashes should be done so carefully, trying to avoid eye contact. It must then be sealed properly to avert deterioration and be replaced every three to four months.”


What  advice is recommended for individuals who decide to remove make-up?

“First it’s important to wash your hands carefully, rubbing them for 10-15 seconds and maybe even taking off any rings from the fingers. It is then preferable to use specific products for eye makeup removal; often it is suggested to buy disposable eye wipes from a pharmacy, which contain natural substances (calendula, aloe) that help cleanse the eyes and avoid hypersensitivity and allergy reactions. Even if they come into contact with the eyes, they do not burn and do not create problems.”


And for individuals who wear contact lenses?

“Only the eyelid is affected when we first put on contact lenses and then make-up. On the contrary, when one removes make-up, it is preferable to first remove the lenses and then proceed to the remove the make-up, even with the aid of artificial tears that lubricate the eyes.”


What can happen if one removes makeup in a hasty or inappropriate manner?

“The main damage may be irritation of the conjunctiva and cornea and erosions. If left untreated, this can sometimes lead to inflammation and bacterial infections of the eyelashes or conjunctival area.”


What suggestions can be given for sustaining proper eye hygiene?

“Whether makeup tools are used or facial soap and water, it is advisable to cleanse the eyes in the morning with a tonic or saline solution. Avoid using irritating or aggressive soaps and detergents. The same procedure can be done in the evening before going to sleep. This helps cleanse the eyes that we forget are exposed all day to dust and harmful particles.”