From eyelid primer and eyeshadow to eyeliner and mascara, there are plenty of opportunities for bacteria to catch a free ride on any of the makeup products used around your eyes. That’s because eyelashes naturally have bacteria on them. Once a makeup brush is used on the eyelash or eyelid, the brush is contaminated. Eventually, the contaminated brush can cause a buildup of bacteria in the makeup container itself and increase the risk of an eye infection or allergic reaction each time the product is used. 

Although most makeup has a relatively long shelf life, they can be contaminated with bacteria after only one use. As a result, it’s a good idea to keep track of how long products such as mascara or eyeliners have been used and change them about every three to four months to reduce the risk of infection. Some other ways to safely use eye cosmetics include:

  • Avoid sharing makeup to limit exposure to infections.
  • Stop using eye products immediately if they cause irritation.
  • Washing your hands before applying eye makeup.
  • Using only clean cosmetic tools.
  • Not storing cosmetics at temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius).
  • Waiting until an eye infection has healed to use cosmetics.
  • Being especially careful about using eye makeup if you have allergies.
  • Removing eye cosmetics gently to avoid scratching the eyeball or other sensitive area around the eye.
  • Making sure eyeliner pencils are sufficiently sharpened so the wood casing doesn’t scratch the eyelid.
  • Not trying to put on eye makeup while in a moving vehicle or using a sharp object to separate mascara-clumped eyelashes. 

For more tips about preventing serious eye conditions caused by old makeup, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218


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