Most eye cosmetics are safe when used properly. However, it’s important to be careful about the risk of infection, injury from the applicator, and use of unapproved color additives.
If you use eye cosmetics, FDA urges you to follow these safety tips:
- Avoid using eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection or the skin around the eye is inflamed. Wait until the area is healed. Discard any eye cosmetics you were using when you got the infection.
- Be aware that there are bacteria on your hands that, if placed in the eye, could cause infections. Wash your hands before applying eye cosmetics.
- Make sure that any instrument you place in the eye area is clean.
- Don’t share your cosmetics. Another person’s bacteria may be hazardous to you.
- Don’t allow cosmetics to become covered with dust or contaminated with dirt or soil. Keep containers clean.
- Don’t use old containers of eye cosmetics. Manufacturers usually recommend discarding mascara two to four months after purchase.
- Discard dried-up mascara. Don’t add saliva or water to moisten it. The bacteria from your mouth may grow in the mascara and cause infection. Adding water may introduce bacteria and will dilute the preservative that is intended to protect against microbial growth.
- Don’t store cosmetics at temperatures above 85 degrees F. Cosmetics held for long periods in hot cars, for example, are more susceptible to deterioration of the preservative.
- When applying or removing eye cosmetics, be careful not to scratch the eyeball or other sensitive area. Never apply or remove eye cosmetics in a moving vehicle.
- Don’t use any cosmetics near your eyes unless they are intended specifically for that use. For instance, don’t use a lip liner as an eye liner. You may be exposing your eyes to contamination from your mouth, or to color additives that are not approved for use in the area of the eye.
- Avoid color additives that are not approved for use in the area of the eye, such as “permanent” eyelash tints and kohl. Be especially careful to keep kohl away from children, since reports have linked it to lead poisoning.
- If any eye cosmetic causes irritation, stop using it immediately. If irritation persists, see a doctor.