By Beth Ann Downey
Do you rarely think twice about washing off your makeup at night or sharing mascara with a friend? Local eye doctors and beauty consultants can give you reasons to start thinking twice.
"You would be amazed how many things I see in the office," said Joanna Fisher, an ophthalmologist from Huntington Valley in eastern Pennsylvania. Fisher was recently referenced in a release from the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology which provided safe makeup tips and their importance to eye health.
Fisher said very few people realize their eye problems are a result of their makeup application or use.
"It's not a typical thing people think of, that [makeup] is the cause," she said.
Fisher warns against many common practices in the fast-paced makeup application world of today. She said the most painful problem she's seen is patients who suffer a corneal abrasion after trying to apply makeup in a moving car. She has also seen the results of allergies to certain products or the development of conjunctivitis from mascara particles falling into the eye while the patient is sleeping.
And though you may want to be nice when your friend forgets her lip gloss or eyeliner, Fisher said makeup products should only be used by one person.
"You wouldn't share a toothbrush or other personal items," she said. "I definitely discourage that practice."
Despite the current economy, Fisher also stressed the importance of using a product for only three months before throwing it away. She said it may be an expensive proposition to offer, but women should really "get in the habit."
"Three months comes along really quickly, but the one thing you don't want to get is a serious eye infection that would have life-long consequences," Fisher added.
Brenda Ross, a beauty consultant for Lancome at Macy's in the Logan Valley Mall, said this practice is most important with mascara because of the air and subsequent bacteria that could get into the tube. She said other products, like face powder and eye shadow, can last longer if they are applied with clean brushes.
"You should clean them every week, but most people don't even do that," she said.
Another problem Ross has confronted is using a product on a part of the face that it wasn't meant for. Though all of Lancome's products are tested by a dermatologist before they are sold, Ross said, they may not be tested for that kind of misuse.
For precaution at their testing counters, Ross said she and other consultants constantly apply hand sanitizer and provide fresh, disposable mascara wands and lip brushes.
They also use alcohol to sterilize the counter and product tubes.
"In fact, we fight over the alcohol bottles," she said.
Ross has also seen costumers develop allergic reactions to things like mica, which is used as glitter in eyeshadows, or to certain kinds of dye.
"If it's not simple, we're not doctors, so we always recommend they see a dermatologist," she added.
Staff writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.