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Cosmetic Safety for Contact Lens Wearers

What eye hazards may be linked to cosmetic use?

Misusing cosmetics when you wear contacts can lead to problems, including:

  • Deposits on the lens

  • Eye irritation

  • Allergy

  • Injury

  • Infection

  • Dryness

What safety practices should take place?

There are safety measures for choosing, applying, and wearing cosmetics when you wear contact lenses. These measures will help protect your eyes and provide for long-term, problem-free contact lens wear. 

  • Choose unscented, hypoallergenic cosmetics made by a well-known brand name that you trust.

  • Wash your hands before putting in or taking out your contact lenses.

  • Don't borrow or lend your cosmetics to others.

  • Keep false eyelash glue, nail polish and remover, and perfume and cologne away from contacts. They can damage the lenses.

  • Wash all makeup brushes often.

  • Take lenses out before removing makeup.

  • Don't use hand creams or lotions before handling contacts because they can leave a film on the lenses.

  • Apply makeup after inserting the contact lenses.

  • Don't reuse your old mascara applicator with refills.

  • Don’t use frosted, pearlized, shiny, or other glittery types of eye shadow. These flake and are common causes of eye irritation and infection in people who wear contacts.

  • Don't apply eyeliner to the inner edge of the lid or above the lash line on the lower lid.

  • Don't use loose powder on the face.

  • Don't apply creams too close to the eyes.

  • Never apply eye makeup while in motion or while driving.

  • Don't use water or saliva to wet applicator or thin cosmetics.

  • Don't apply cosmetics if your eyes are red, swollen, or infected. Talk with your ophthalmologist or optometrist if symptoms continue.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Haupert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Whitney Seltman MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2023
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.