Why makeup and contacts don’t mix

Posted on 2014/12/11 at 5:04 pm by Galit G

No matter how much of a hassle getting ready in the morning may be, some people just don’t look or feel their best until they’ve put on a little makeup. You probably already know that to avoid blemishes, you should wash your face clean of makeup every night, but there are other ways that makeup could affect not only your skin, but your vision, too. Custom LASIK surgery may get an undeserved bad rap, but improper contact lens care is by far more dangerous for your eyes.

Makeup before contacts
Most people have a routine they go through when they wake up. Maybe you get breakfast going before hopping in the shower, or you dress before you take one step outside of your bedroom. If you wear makeup, you might be so wrapped up in your routine that you might not even notice that you’ve applied your foundation, mascara and blush before putting your contact lenses in.

Andrea Thau, O.D., associate clinical professor at the State University of New York College of Optometry, explained to The Huffington Post that this could create a dangerous situation for your vision. Even if there’s no visible traces of makeup on your hands, picking up a contact lens after handling various lotions and creams can leave microscopic residue on the surface. If this surface faces outward as you insert the lens, you may have blurry vision for the rest of your day.

Be warned: If makeup becomes trapped between the lens and the eye, you may be creating the perfect conditions for an eye infection, Thau said.

“Your hands should be clean; put your lenses in first before you handle any products,” Thau told the news source.

Waterproof makeup
Like most people, you probably live an active lifestyle. Between managing your family and taking care of yourself, there’s hardly enough time to worry about your makeup. This is where waterproof mascaras and other cosmetics got their popularity – their long-lasting hold has saved countless women from reapplying throughout the day.

However, with new chemical compositions in makeup come new dangers with contact lenses. The American Optometric Association explained that waterproof mascara isn’t recommended for people who wear contacts because the solution can actually bind itself to the surface of your lenses. Not only does this ruin your vision and the lens itself, but a chunk of makeup moving around the eye can be very painful.

The AOA also recommended against lash-extending mascaras, as the fibers used in these products can irritate an eye covered by a contact lens.

Too much makeup
Unless you’re a movie star, less is more when it comes to applying makeup. This is doubly true if you wear contact lenses — too much makeup could lead to dirty lenses.

Allure magazine explained that an excess of makeup around the lid ledge, the part of the eye where the lid touches the surface of the eyeball, could potentially block oil glands that are key to the proper hydration and maintenance of your eyes.

“If you block those glands with makeup, it can lead to dry eyes, dirty lenses, and even sties,” Susan Resnick, O.D., a New York-based optometrist, told Allure.

Irregular cleaning
After a long day at the office, out for dinner and home for some last-minute chores, that last thing you feel like doing is scrubbing your face free of makeup and rinsing your lenses properly. However, as Resnick explained, anybody with contacts other than daily-use ones needs to be strict on his or herself when it comes to cleaning lenses. This goes beyond the contact itself, though, as makeup residue from your hands may get into the case you store your lenses in.

“You’d be surprised that cases are the most common cause of eye infections,” Resnick said. “And it’s usually the top of the case, because no one ever thinks about that part.”

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