Can You Get An Eye Infection From Makeup? The Answer May Surprise You!

Getting an eye infection from your makeup is probably the last thing on your mind when getting ready. The truth is that bacteria can be transferred from your eyelashes and lids to applicators and brushes. Once put away, they’re left in dark, moist environments where bacteria thrives best. Fortunately, preventing an eye infection from your makeup is easy to do.Makeup in eye irritation

Bacteria grows in cosmetics, as well as on brushes and applicators, the longer you keep them. This is due to the naturally-occurring bacteria on your eyelids and eyelashes. Your best bet to avoid infection is to follow certain rules, like throwing out old makeup every three to four months. Bacterial eye infections can be identified by symptoms such as red, watery, and irritated eyes. They can be treated by our eye doctor with antibiotics.

Can makeup cause eye infections?

Eye makeup is generally safe when you first buy them. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions consumers that bacteria can form in your cosmetics over time. Your risk of infection increases as bacteria is allowed to grow. Germs can even be present in new makeup, so it’s important to pay attention to the news so you know what to avoid.

Bacteria works its way into cosmetics through frequent use. Your eyelids and eyelashes have naturally-occurring bacteria that can be transferred to products such as eyeliner and mascara. This provides the dark, damp environment bacteria loves. Once there, they grow and can be transferred back to your eyes as you apply makeup, increasing your risk of infection.

Halloween can be an especially dangerous time for makeup-related eye infections. Click here to learn how to avoid them!

How to Prevent an Eye Infection from Makeup

Preventing an eye infection from makeup is easier than it may sound. You just need to follow a few rules to prevent bacteria from spreading. This includes:

  1. Replacing your makeup every three or four months
  2. Not sharing cosmetics to prevent cross-contamination
  3. Avoid using makeup that causes irritation
  4. Clean applicators and brushes regularly
  5. Wash your hands before putting on makeup
  6. Store makeup in a cool, dry place
  7. Don’t put makeup on eyes that are already irritated
  8. Don’t use makeup with glitter or other debris that can get in your eyes
  9. Only apply eyeliner outside the lash line to avoid clogging up oil glands
  10. Remove your makeup before going to bed
  11. Throw away old, dried-up cosmetics
  12. Only use makeup around your eyes that are intended for that area

Following these rules will help keep your eyes healthy and looking fabulous.

Eye Infection Symptoms and Types

There are different symptoms that can indicate an eye infection. Be on the lookout for eyes that are:

  • Red
  • Irritated
  • Watery
  • Swollen
  • Itchy
  • Sensitive to light

You may also feel pain in your eyes or experience blurred vision if you have an eye infection.

There is no one type of infection that you can get from makeup. The bacteria growing in your eye cosmetics can produce different types of infections and require different treatments. Some of these infections, such as conjunctivitis and blepharitis, can have similar symptoms. You’ll need to talk to Dr. Travis Thompson or Dr. Catherine Abbott to learn which infection you have and how to treat it effectively!

Click here to learn more about different types of eye infections!

Treating an Eye Infection

You’ll need to come in for an eye exam if you have a bacterial infection. Unlike viral infections which usually get better on their own, bacterial infections can require prescription medication. We’ll perform an exam to determine what kind of infection you have and give you a prescription for antibiotic eye drops or ointments to get rid of the infection. 

Oral antibiotics or antiviral medications may be necessary in some cases along with other forms of treatment. Make sure to follow the directions to get the best and fastest results. Call us immediately if your symptoms worsen.

Are you suffering from an eye infection? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Cosmetics and makeup tools can cause infections due to bacteria from your eyelashes and eyelids. This naturally-occurring bacteria proliferates in dark and damp environments, making cosmetics like mascara and eyeliner the perfect habitat. You can avoid an eye infection by following steps like replacing your makeup regularly and not sharing makeup with others. Bacterial eye infections can be diagnosed by Dr. Travis Thompson or Dr. Catherine Abbott and treated with antibiotics. 

Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions, and problems and are committed to improving the quality of life in the Knoxville community through enhanced vision. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. His family has lived in the Hardin Valley area since 1998, and he graduated from Karns High School in 2004. Dr. Thompson runs Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical alongside his wife, Dr. Catherine Abbott.

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"Dr. Thompson is super professional, and has some of the best 'bedside manner' that I have ever witnessed from any doctor. His staff was very helpful in assisting me with picking out regular frames and sunglasses. I’d happily recommend Dr. Thompson to anyone looking for a eye doctor."
Cody C.