WE’RE all guilty of it, reusing the same make-up time and time again.
And while most women know their beauty products come with an expiry date, experts are warning sticking to them could save your sight.
Bacteria and nasty germs can thrive in make-up and on grubby make-up brushes, triggering blepharitis, also known as “burning eyes”.
That’s why it is so important to adhere to the use-by date.
Despite this, the College of Optometrists revealed more than half of make-up users don’t check their cosmetics for their use-by date.
And almost a fifth had no idea the products even carry that information.
According to a study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, chances are the mascara you’re using right now is covered with infection-causing bacteria.
And that’s not where your eye care woes end.
Eye liner and eye shadow also pose a high risk, and cover-up, foundation and even eye brow products can also come in contact with the eyes.
In addition, make-up brushes are a prime breeding ground, potentially transferring bacteria all over your face.
The consequences of this laisse-faire approach can be witnessed in research by two Brazilian universities where the researchers took 40 samples of mascara from real women to find that a whopping 79 per cent were contaminated with staph bacteria.
What so many of us don’t realise is that eye-make up can be infected with bacteria after only one use.
Leading eye expert, Francesca Marchetti, a member of the WINK advisory eye-care panel, said make-up is a “breeding ground” for dangerous bugs, including Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus.
“The problem with bacteria is it spreads and can be transferred from a make-up container on to your skin, eyelids and eyelashes,” Francesca told The Sun Online.
“Mascara especially can be problematic as it has a moist environment inside the tube and is often kept in a warm environment, ideal for bacteria.
“Plus so many of us share or use mascara past its use-by-date.
Mascara especially can be problematic as it has a moist environment inside the tube and is often kept in a warm environment, ideal for bacteria
“So remember to make a note of when you purchase your eye make-up and be sure to discard it after three months.”
The eyes are at high risk of infection due to the large number of open pores.
Bugs can get in where our eyelashes come out, as well as into glands and tear ducts.
Francesca added: “It’s really no surprise eye make-up can contribute to acute blepharitis.
“Eye liner especially can be problematic.
“It can block the meibomian glands, that produce the tears, so if these are blocked it can become inflamed and lead to blepharitis or cause a sty.
“It can also cause dry eye as you cannot release the natural tears to keep your eyes lubricated.
“And so while the model style of lining the lid may look good, this is the worst way you can apply your eyeliner when it comes to your eye health.”
BLEPHARITIS is a common condition where the eyelids become inflamed.
The eyes can beomce red, swollen and itchy and sore.
Crusty or greasy patches can appear, along with a burning, gritty or sore sensation.
It is typically a long-term condition, that continues to return.
It is difficult to get rid of, but maintaining good eye hygiene is essential to lower the risk.
The three main steps are:
- using a warm cotton wool pad, or similar, on the eyes to make the oil produced by the glands around the eye more runny
- gently massage your eyelids to push the oils out of the glands
- clean your eyelids to wipe away excess oil and remove any crusts, bacteria, dust or grime that may have built up
Though rare complications can include sight loss.
But, having gammy eyes isn’t a fore gone conclusion, Francesca reassured.
By ensuring you ditch old make-up when it passes it’s use-by date, and removing your make-up each night you can avoid the painful, and potentially dangerous condition.
She said: “The first line treatment for blepharitis is using a combination of heat therapy, eye massage and good eyelid hygiene every day.
“This will manage the condition and in many cases prevent future flare-ups.”
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) agrees.
Their guidance states: “Eyelid hygiene is essential and this should be continued even when symptoms are well controlled.”
The condition will affect around one in six people, and accounts for around one in 20 GP appointments about eye problems.
Nice advises applying a warm compress to the closed eyelids for five to 10 minutes.
The first line treatment for blepharitis is using a combination of heat therapy, eye massage and good eyelid hygiene every day
Francesca explained: “This loosens debris and softens any deposits of meibum, an oily substance which protects the tear film.
“But it can become problematic if the meibomian glands are blocked, or the meibum is too waxy.”
She recommended using a product from eye specialists, Bausch and Lomb, the Therapearl Eye-ssential Mask, which can be reused and replaced every few months.
“In my opinion it is by far the best way to deliver heat therapy for blepharitis,” she added.
And she said the brand’s Biotrue Daily Eyelid Wipes are a good option to remove make-up and help prevent infection.
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