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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

Using Skincare Around Your Eyes: Safe Application Guide

Ready to learn how to use skincare around your eyes safely? Whether you love skincare or want to keep your eyes healthy, you should know how to apply cosmetics to avoid eye infections.

In this guide, we share skincare safety tips on choosing the right products, along with simple tricks for applying cosmetics around the eyes.

Causes of Eye Infections Related to Skincare Use

The signs of potential eye infections from cosmetic use include:

  • Redness

  • Swelling around the eyes

  • Itching or burning sensation

  • Eye discharge

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Blurred vision

If you experience any of these symptoms, you might be dealing with styes, conjunctivitis, keratitis, or allergies. Discontinue using your skin care products around the eyes immediately and consult an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

As for the causes of the infection, the common ones are bacterial contamination, allergic reactions, poor hygiene, and sharing tools and cosmetic products.

Bacterial Contamination

Skincare products that come into contact with the eyes can introduce bacteria. That's a common trigger to eye infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or styes.

You are probably thinking, "But skincare is supposed to help the skin, how can it contain harmful bacteria?". But in reality, it is quite easy to contaminate a skincare product and wonder why it causes problems instead of helping you fix them. We will talk more about bacterial contamination later in this article.

Allergic Reactions

Skincare ingredients, preservatives, and fragrances may trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. And this could happen without the product getting into the eye, by just applying it around the sensitive eye area. So you may end up with symptoms like redness, itching, and swelling around the eyes.

This is also why people with reactive skin and allergies should read the ingredient list before applying cosmetics around the eyes.

Poor Hygiene Practices

Touching the eyes with unwashed hands or using expired or contaminated skincare products can increase the risk of infections. The same is valid for re-using dirty tools like cosmetic applicators, without cleaning and desinfecting them first.

Sharing Cosmetics

Sharing eye makeup or skincare products with others is a big "NO". As a start, it can transfer bacteria and cause you serious skin and eye issues. It also increases the likelihood of eye infection transmission.

So if the person you share cosmetics with has styes or pink eye, you may also get it. But the scariest part is, that certain eye infections are asymptomatic (at least at the beginning) but are still highly contagious.

Applying Skincare Around the Eyes

1. Cleansing Before Application

Before applying skincare products around your eyes, start with a clean canvas. Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser to remove dirt, oil, or makeup residue from your face and eyelids. If you like to double-cleanse with balms, cleansing oils, micellar water, or gels, feel free to do so, but try not to get these products into your eyes.

Don't worry, facial cleansers are not likely to make you go blind or severely damage your eyes if a tiny amount accidentally gets into your eye. But they will surely cause irritation, discomfort, and stinging. Chances are, your eye will tear up immediately and flush most of it out. And for the rest - you have to rinse your eye gently with clean, lukewarm water.

2. Choosing the Right Products for the Eye Area

When selecting skincare for application around the eyes, choose a lightweight, non-comedogenic product formulated to address your concerns - hydration, dark circles, or puffiness. Avoid products containing harsh chemicals or fragrances, which could cause severe irritation or allergic reactions.

Look for labels indicating suitability for the area - eye cream, eye serum, eye makeup remover, eye patches, eyelash serum, etc.

To apply safely, gently pat the product around the orbital bone using your ring finger to avoid pulling or tugging. Eye cosmetics are safe for the skin around the eyes but don't belong IN the eye, so be extra careful during application.

If you use skincare for the eye area and the product gets into your eye - immediately start flushing it under a stream of clean lukewarm water. Especially if the eye creme or serum contains acids, retinol/retinoids, or other strong active ingredients. Once you flush out the product, you may experience short-term redness and irritation. If the irritation does not go away, please visit an ophthalmologist for a checkup.

3. Sun Protection

The skin around the eyes is particularly vulnerable to sun damage, which can accelerate the aging process and heighten the risk of skin cancer.

To protect yourself, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to the face, neck, and eye area (including the eyelids) every morning as a part of your skincare routine. Whether you prefer chemical or mineral sunscreen is up to your preferences, both types of sun protection are effective, as long as the SPF is high.

Consider wearing UV400 sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats for extra protection against UV rays.

safely apply skincare around your eyes

Summary of Best Practices for Safe Skincare Application

Knowing the dos and don'ts when you apply cosmetics in your eye area can save you a lot of dermatological and ophthalmic problems. These tips can enhance your skincare routine while protecting the fragile skin around the eyes.

Here are seven rules to follow:

  1. Choose hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products 

  2. Do a patch test of new skincare cosmetics

  3. Wash hands thoroughly

  4. Use applicators

  5. Clean applicators regularly

  6. Avoid applying products too close to the eyes

  7. Never share skincare products

Opt for gentle skincare products for sensitive skin and free from potentially irritating ingredients or ingredients you are intolerant to. 

Before applying any new skincare product around the eyes, perform a patch test on a small skin area (like on your wrist) to check for any adverse reactions or allergies.

Wash your hands with soap and water before applying skincare products to prevent transferring bacteria.

It’s better to avoid using your fingers to apply skincare products around the eyes. Instead, use sanitized skincare applicators to lower contamination risk. Regularly clean your spatulas, rollers, Gua Sha, and other applicators you use to prevent bacterial buildup and contamination.

Sharing cosmetics or skincare products with others is the first step towards eye infection transmission. Always use your own products and don’t share them with friends or family members.

We hope these tips on using cosmetics safely around your eyes are helpful!


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