Pink Eye Infection and Your
Eye Makeup

Pink eye infection, medically termed Conjunctivitis, is a common eye condition, especially for women who wear eye makeup frequently. It is caused by inflammation or irritation of the conjunctiva; a clear mucous membrane that covers the sclera (white part of the eye) and lines the inside of the eyelids.

In normal situations, the conjunctiva helps to prevent the entrance of microbes into the eye.

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Many women complain about getting eye infections from cosmetics. In rare cases, women have been temporarily or permanently blinded by an eye cosmetic, according to the FDA. Over time, your makeup can build up bacteria in its container, which increases the chance for an eye infection or having an allergic reaction with each use of the product.

Recently, a pink eye infection caught me off guard. I had used an older mascara but really didn’t think twice about it. Two days after I used it, I woke up with the worst case I’ve ever. Although I am not 100 percent sure that it was my mascara that caused it, I really didn’t want to take any chances. If you’ve used older makeup and wake up with the classic red eye, throw away the makeup you used that might have caused it. It is possible to get the infection again, if you use it again and it happened to be the culprit! Its always better safe than sorry!

Before we get into precautions to take with your eye makeup, you need to know a few more facts about pink eye infection!

Cause of Pink Eye Infection

Pink eye infection usually happens when your eye becomes exposed to bacteria, viruses, or allergens. Although it’s not usually a serious condition, it can be highly contagious and may need to be treated with prescribed antibiotic eye drops. Conjunctivitis typically looks really scary upon onset. Your eye(s) can look very red and puffy. It also itches and may have a clear discharge.

Viral Conjunctivitis is induced by viruses that spread from various ailments like colds, sore throats, and respiratory infections. Bacterial Conjunctivitis is caused by certain bacteria that have made their way to the eye, including old makeup. Allergic Conjunctivitis is caused by allergic reactions to distinctive substances such as fumes, old cosmetics, drugs, dust mites, air born chemicals, and others. Conjunctivitis is usually more prone to people who also suffer from allergies.

Symptoms of Pink Eye Infection

The various forms of pink eye infection have similar symptoms, but each case can vary in degree of severity. Pink or redness of the white of your eye(s) is a common symptom of all three types. Irritation and itchiness are two other symptoms that are often characteristic of conjunctivitis. Tearing is another prevalent symptom as the eyes develop increased tears in order to sooth your eyes. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis may have a yellow or green discharge and can cause the eyelids to stick together or ooze.

Viral Conjunctivitis

  • Watery eyes and discharge are usual.
  • Discomfort in your eye.
  • Itchiness.
  • The infection usually affects one eye but can move to both.

    Bacterial Conjunctivitis

  • Watery eyes followed with yellow or green discharge.
  • Irritation and discomfort.
  • Puffiness.
  • Itchiness.
  • The infection usually starts with one eye but can spread to the other.

    Allergic Conjunctivitis

  • Heavy tearing.
  • Discomfort.
  • Puffiness.
  • Itchiness affecting both eyes are likely.

    Is Pink Eye Contagious?

    Allergic pink eye infection is the only type that's not contagious. It can be hard to tell which type you have but allergic pink eye usually goes away after a shorter period of time or when the irritating allergen is removed and eyes are rinsed out.

    Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are HIGHLY contagious. People can contract pink eye infection just by touching or using another article that has been infected by a person who has the infection. That’s why it’s imperative to wash your hands frequently and keep things like eye drops and makeup, away from your infected eye(s). You also want to keep your fingers and hands away from the infected eye. In fact, try to not touch your face much at all.

    Most cosmetics have long shelf lives, but since they can be contaminated with bacteria after only one use, it is a good idea to keep track of how long you've had products, such as mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadows. Although there are no guidelines for cosmetics use, risk of infection can be reduced if you change them out every three to four months. At least that's what experts suggest.

    Its also a good idea to avoid sharing cosmetics, no matter how much you want to share with your BFF. Cross contamination can occur when two or more people use the same mascara brushes or eyeliners. The primary danger with sharing makeup is passing on a pink eye infection. Exposure to even a small amount of a virus or bacteria can lead to a very uncomfortable infection.

    Pink Eye Treatment and Medication

    Pink eye medication can be a mix of prescribed and over the counter medicines. For bacterial infections, a doctor must prescribe antibiotic drops and/or ointments that kill the bacteria. They may also prescribe oral antibiotics if swelling under the eye occurs.

    Pink eye caused by allergies can be solved with allergy eye drops. Patanol is one solution that has been proven to be effective in preventing pink eye caused by allergies with just 2 drops a day. It is safe according to the manufacturer for kids over the age of three. Antihistamines may also be recommended. Cool compress or cool, damp tea bags placed on the eyes can ease the discomfort of allergic conjunctivitis. Another pink eye OTC medication is Similasan Allergy Eye Relief Drops and Similasan Pink Eye Relief Eye Drops for viral conjunctivitis.

    These over the counter medications are all that's required for most cases of viral pink eye infection. In most cases, the virus just needs to run its course and pink eye medication is only used to alleviate symptoms. Warm compresses are great for removing the sticky residue and crustiness that forms around the eyes. Warm compresses applied to the eyes for five to 10 minutes three times a day can help relieve the discomfort of bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. A boric acid eyewash or washing your eyes with baby shampoo is also recommended to clean and soothe your eyes.

    For persistent problems it is best to consult your eye care professional.

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    Tips to Keep You and Your Eye Makeup Safe

    The FDA offers the following tips for the proper use of makeup for your eyes.

  • Immediately stop using eye products that causes irritation. If irritation persists, see a doctor.

  • Wash your hands before applying eye cosmetics. If you don't, the bacteria on your hands could cause an infection.

  • Make sure that any cosmetic tool you place near the eye is clean.

  • Don't allow cosmetics to become covered with dust or contaminated with dirt or soil. Wipe off the container with a damp cloth if visible dust or dirt is present.

  • Don't use old containers of eye cosmetics. If you haven't used the product for several months, it's better to discard it and buy a new one.

  • Don't spit into eye cosmetics. (Who does this?) The bacteria in your mouth may grow in the cosmetic and subsequent application to the eye may cause infection.

  • Don't share your cosmetics. Another person's bacteria in your cosmetic can be hazardous to you.

  • 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.

  • Avoid using eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection or the skin around the eye is inflamed. Wait until the area is healed.

  • Take particular care in using eye cosmetics if you have any allergies.

  • When applying or removing eye cosmetics, be careful not to scratch the eyeball or some other sensitive area of the eye.

    When you have a pink eye infection, you should remember to wash your hands a lot, above all. Don't try wearing makeup again until your eye is completely healed, and throw away any contaminated or old makeup you think is questionable. Its much better to be safe than sorry and suffer through one of these!

    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.

    Related Pages on This Site

    Makeup Colors for Brown Eyes

    Makeup Colors for Blue Eyes

    Makeup Colors for Green Eyes

    Makeup Colors for Hazel Eyes

    Beautiful Eyes - Makeup Tips for the Best Looks

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