University of Iowa Health Science Relations and
Hilary Beaver, MD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Science
First Published: 2000
Last Revised: September 2004
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
If you use eye makeup, such as mascara, eye liner and eye shadow, remember to remove it before going to sleep, cautions an eye specialist in the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology.
This caution might seem unnecessary or inconvenient, but when you are tired, removing your makeup may be forgotten or postponed until morning, says Dr. Hilary Beaver, assistant professor of comprehensive services in the Department of Ophthalmology.
Removing eye makeup before sleeping is important. If eye makeup is not removed daily there is an increased possibility of an allergic reaction or contact irritation. Repeated application over irritated skin will increase the subsequent skin reaction.
An allergic reaction to eye makeup usually occurs on the thin, delicate skin around the eye, she explains. Should makeup particles fall into the eye, that, too, could lead to an allergic reaction.
Redness in the eye is one symptom of such allergic reactions, especially if the redness is accompanied by itching and pain, Beaver says.
"It's more difficult to locate the cause of the allergic reaction if a person uses different brands of mascara, eye liner and eye shadow."
If more than one brand of eye makeup is used, you might try the same one for several days in a row and keep a diary of symptoms. This may help narrow down the likely form and brand of eye makeup that is causing the allergic reaction, Beaver suggests.
Another possible solution is to try a hypoallergenic brand of eye makeup. The UI clinician notes that hypoallergenic makeup has ingredients that have been found to cause fewer allergic reactions in people.
If changing brands does not eliminate the allergy symptoms, you might wish to consult a physician, Beaver says.