Women urged to have a “make-up bag makeover” for National Eye Health Week

80 per cent are wearing make-up that’s out of date

A leading eye hospital group is encouraging women to give their make-up bag a makeover this National Eye Health Week.

Ophthalmic surgeons are concerned about the possible risk of eye infection as latest research , by specialist eye hospital group Optegra, shows that a shocking 8 in 10 (80 per cent) of women in Britain are wearing eye make-up much older than the recommended use by date.

The research further reveals that:
  • 70% of British women use mascara which is over a year old while the use-by date is just four months!
  • Over half (52 per cent) of women who buy premium brands admit they would wear it for longer than the use-by date
  • One in five Brits (19.2 per cent) do not even realise there is a recommended use-by date on make-up!

Out of date eye shadow, eye liner and especially mascara which is a dark, wet product, can be breeding grounds for bacteria and, as we apply them so close to the surface of the eye, they may cause painful infections.

Anna Maino, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Optegra, says: “We are urging women to check their make-up bags this week – out with the old and in with the new! Do your eyes a favour – get rid of anything out of date and especially if it has developed a strange smell.

“Women rely on make-up day in day out and it is worrying that so many of us are using old eye products, well past the use-by date, sometimes even 10 years out of date! Look out for the small open jar symbol with a number next to it which signifies how many months it should be used for once opened.

“Wear your eye make-up proudly but remember to thoroughly remove it in the evening. Leftover make-up may cause chronic eye irritation.

“Use National Eye Health Week as a great reason to treat yourself, and your eyes, to some fresh make-up with no risk of infection!”

Cosmetics normally contain preservatives to help prevent bacteria growth but storing them in a hot place will make it easy for bacteria to thrive.

Get into good make-up hygiene habits by sharpening eye pencils between applications, washing brushes regularly and turning out old make-up.

The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association states that cosmetic products must show a “period after opening” time, capturing the amount of time that the product will remain in good condition after it has been used for the first time. A symbol of an open cream jar is usually used instead of words, and the time in months can be inside the symbol or alongside it. This will vary across products and brands but some examples are:
  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner – discard after four months
  • Liquid foundation and creamy eye shadow – discard after six months
  • Powder eye shadow – 12 months
  • Pencil eyeliner, lip liner, powder blusher/bronzer – can last up to two years but don’t share!

If your eyes become itchy, red, painful, watery or swollen, you may have an infection so do visit your optician, GP or make an appointment at your local Optegra hospital to be checked.

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