Wearing contact lenses doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing make-up. You can absolutely apply cosmetics to your eye area if you wear contact lenses, although which type of make-up you wear may contribute to how comfortable wearing lenses will be. Most people will never have any trouble, but if you find you have particularly sensitive skin or eyes, there are options available for you.
What type of make-up is best for contact lens wearers?
An increasing number of cosmetics companies aim to make their products more suitable for those with sensitive eyes and skin. There are a few things you should look out for on make-up labels to see if they’re suitable for contact lens wearers. Ideally, they should be hypoallergenic, oil-free, fragrance-free and ophthalmologically tested. We’ve broken down each of these factors and explain why they’re important.
Hypoallergenic is a term used to describe products that claim to induce fewer or less severe allergic reactions. While it isn’t guaranteed that you won’t suffer an allergic reaction at all, the risk is much lower than with most other products.
Products containing oils can easily block pores and glands. For people who suffer from swollen eyes, in particular, this can be a problem. Blepharitis, for example, is the result of swollen glands. Make-up containing oils can aggravate these conditions.
Whether natural or synthetic, fragrances have a tendency to cause irritation for all skin types, particularly to the eye area, which is very sensitive. Most products wouldn’t have a very pleasing smell if they were fragrance- free, hence why many cosmetics companies include them in ingredients. There are alternative ingredients and processes that may eliminate this, but most companies prefer to add fragrance to please consumers.
Ophthalmologically tested make-up is made to be non-irritating to the eyes. A group of human participants are usually given the products to use over a number of weeks and any reactions are monitored. If no irritations arise, the product is deemed suitable for use around the eyes.
Should I insert my contact lenses before or after I’ve applied makeup?
General wisdom would say before, however, if you’re applying powders that are very loose, you should be careful. Consider using cream textured eye shadows if possible. Also, be careful when applying liner close to your water line.
What do I do if my make-up is irritating my contact lenses?
If you find that wearing make-up irritates your lenses, wash it off as soon as possible and replace your set of lenses with a fresh, clean pair. Seek products that are sensitive on the eye area and make sure you don’t wear your lenses for longer than 12 hours. Eye drops to ease irritation may also help, and be careful when applying cosmetics made for the eye area.