Patient Handouts : Eyelid Dermatitis & Cosmetic Use

Eyelid Dermatitis & Cosmetic Use

Determining the exact ingredient in a cosmetic that causes skin irritation or allergy can be frustratingly difficult! Sometimes patch testing can determine this, but often the results are uncertain. Avoiding all facial cosmetics is an obvious solution, but not reasonable to many people. Here, then, are some general guidelines on selecting facial cosmetics if you are thought to be sensitive to them:

  • "Use test" all new cosmetics before general use. The best way to do this is to apply the cosmetic to the skin at the side of the eye overnight for 5 consecutive nights, and evaluate for irritation. If there is no irritation, it is probably safe to use.
  • Avoid all waterproof eye cosmetics.
  • Avoid all cosmetics with light-reflective particles (frosted, iridescent or metallic hues); use only those with a matte finish.
  • Do NOT apply any cosmetics inside the eyelash line (between the eyelash and eyeball).
  • Discard eye cosmetics that have been used more than 3 months.
  • Remove all eyelid cosmetics each evening before sleep.
  • Eye shadow:
    • Light-colored creams and tans are preferable.
    • Powders are safer.
    • Avoid applying with a foam applicator. The preferred applicator would be a soft bristle brush.
  • Eyeliner & mascara:
    • Black is safer.
    • Avoid liquid eyeliners.
  • Makeup brushes: wash weekly or every other week with soap and water. Avoid the foam pads, which can be a source of allergy.