Highlight the shape of the eye, lengthen the lashes or give them more volume. Simple tricks that make mascara one of the basics in the kit for anyone who loves makeup . Furthermore, data from the National Association of Perfumery and Cosmetics (Stanpa) say, since it became fashionable to share ‘selfies’ on social networks . The problem with this cosmetic is that we use it for too long and this can end up damaging the health of our eyes .
Styes, eyelash loss and even ulcers
Different types of bacteria live on the skin of our face, including the eyelid area – Staphylococcus aureus , Streptococcus pneumoniae , and Pseudomonas aeruginosa – that adhere to the mascara brush each time we use it. Once stored in the tube, they accumulate and mix with makeup. The air that enters and leaves when using the product again is the final ingredient to create a “new life” that can affect our eye health, explains the Professor of Ophthalmology at the Complutense University and member of the Spanish Society of Ophthalmology (SEO ), José María Benítez del Castillo.
Among the problems it can cause , adds the ophthalmologist, are “dry eye disease, blepharitis – which is an inflammation of the eyelids -, loss of eyelashes, styes, conjunctivitis and even corneal ulcers”. In case of suffering any discomfort, it is best to “go to the specialist immediately”. But we can also prevent it and it can be as simple as periodically changing the product . Unlike what we usually do, which is to keep it in the bag until the paint dries or runs out. But when exactly should it be changed?
If you can’t remember when you bought it, throw it away
“It does not depend on the frequency of use, but on the time that has passed since it was used for the first time,” says the pharmacist and expert in cosmetic microbiology Carmen Torres Vila. The recommendation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology is not to use masks for more than three months and if we have forgotten when we started using it, adds the expert, “the healthiest thing is to replace it.”
It also influences the way we use it. “If you put on one eye first and apply the mask to the second, put the brush back into the tube, it dries faster and you have to change it sooner”, clarifies Torres Vila and adds that the best “is to try to deposit on the brush enough mask to paint both eyes. ” Nor should we share our mask with other people , according to the ophthalmologist, because it increases the risk of contamination and the spread of infections and diseases.
As for differences between the different varieties on the market, we must “take extreme care with waterproof products ,” says Benítez del Castillo. Its formulas include waxes and tars that repel water from the eyelashes and prevent paint from smearing. By applying them on the tear ducts we can obstruct them and “increase the chances of suffering dry eyes or inflammation of the eyelids.”
To avoid disappointment, the expert advises “to opt for a dermatologically safe product” and to “respect eye health,” adds the ophthalmologist. Both recommend looking at its composition and opt for those without perfumes or parabens and with a pH similar to that of tears , which can vary between 6.4 and 7.6 .
THINGS WE SHOULD NOT DO WITH THE MASK
Beyond renewing the product on time, Torres Vila and Benítez del Castillo advise avoiding certain actions to reduce the risks when using our mascara:
– Try to recover it when it is dry using water or oil. The correct thing is to replace it with a new one
– Exchange the brush of one mask with another
– Remove excess mask from the brush with a tissue or a washcloth
– Use the mask brush to comb the eyebrows
– Rubbing eyes with mask on
– Go to sleep without removing makeup