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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

Can You Wear Makeup If You Have an Eye Infection?

Eye infections are not only uncomfortable and painful, but also aesthetically unpleasant. Whether it's conjunctivitis, styes, or another ocular infection, one of your initial instincts might be how to cover it up. But then we get to the question - is it safe to wear makeup with an eye infection?

Hiding redness, bumps and visually undesirable traits will not improve your condition but may worsen it. Read on to learn why you should not wear makeup or apply skincare if you have an eye infection.

Risks of Wearing Makeup with an Eye Infection

Eye infections such as conjunctivitis, styes, keratitis, and blepharitis create an environment where pathogens thrive. Introduction of makeup products near infected eyes seriously delays healing, here's how:

Introduction of Bacteria and Pathogens

Eye infections create an environment conducive to bacterial growth and proliferation.

When applying makeup near infected eyes, you introduce pathogens into the oversensitive eye area, which could worsen your condition. Especially old or contaminated makeup tends to harbor countless bacteria, fungi, and microorganisms.

These pathogens may exacerbate the existing inflammation or trigger secondary infections. Thus, it prolongs the duration of symptoms, delays healing, and forces you to put up with the unsightly characteristics of eye infections longer.

Compromised Hygiene Practices

During an eye infection, individuals may inadvertently compromise their usual hygiene practices, including those related to makeup application.

Touching the eyes, rubbing or itching, and careless handling of makeup products can spread the infection.

If you don't clean your makeup brushes or applicators daily or share them with other people, they will serve as vectors for transmitting infectious agents. That's further increasing the risk of complications and infection spread.

Increased Irritation and Inflammation

The ingredients in some beauty products are bound to irritate already inflamed or sensitive eyes.

Makeup often contains preservatives, fragrances, dyes, emollients, and pigments. Which may further aggravate and worsen symptoms such as itching, burning, and redness, after application.

Certain makeup products, like those with harsh chemicals or allergens, can trigger allergic reactions or hypersensitivity reactions, intensifying the severity of the existing eye infection.

Delayed Healing

Makeup application near infected eyes can interfere with the efficacy of the treatments - topical ointments, eye drops, or oral medications.

Using makeup during an eye infection may interfere with the body's natural healing process by clogging pores and trapping bacteria.

Residues from makeup create a barrier preventing some meds from reaching the affected tissues. Makeup residues may also interfere with medication absorption, vastly reducing their effectiveness.

Additionally, certain makeup and skincare can contain substances that counteract or neutralize the effects of prescribed treatments. That's hindering the healing process and prolonging recovery time.

Potential for Recurrence and Chronicity

By wearing makeup during an eye infection, you may inadvertently prolong the duration of the infection or increase the likelihood of recurrence.

Failure to address the cause of eye infection, along with recurring exposure to the irritants and allergens in makeup, can contribute to chronic and recurrent episodes.

Last but not least, discard the cosmetics, makeup, and skincare you used around your eyes before you got the eye infection. Chances are, your products are already contaminated and will continue to spread the infection again, even after you heal.

If you experience persistent or worsening symptoms, consult an eye doctor for advice and alternative treatment recommendations.

woman wearing makeup during eye infection

Guidelines for Makeup Use During and After Eye Infections

  • Avoid makeup altogether

  • Discard contaminated makeup

  • Practice good hygiene

It's best to refrain from using any eye makeup, including mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and concealer, until the eye infection has fully cleared. This minimizes the risk of contamination and promotes faster healing.

If you've used makeup while struggling with eye infection symptoms, discard the products that may have come into contact with the infected area. Not only makeup, discard any disposable applicators and brushes you used around the eyes, too.

Once your infection is under control and you start using cosmetics again, wash your hands thoroughly before and after applying makeup. Avoid sharing makeup products with others to prevent further the spread of infection.

In summary...

While makeup can hide some signs of swollen eyes, stye lumps, and eyelid inflammation, you should put your eye health first. The only way to prevent complications and promote faster healing is to avoid makeup and practice good hygiene during the eye infection.


Checked by Atanas Bogoev, MD.


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