Eye liner, check. Mascara, check. You may be all set to wow your date with beautifully done up eyes, but you could also be jeopardising your precious peepers.
A recent study conducted by The Indian Eye Research Centre (IERC) reviewed around 500 eye products and found chemicals such as methylparaben and mercury present in proportions of 20% to 25%, which could lead to cancerous growth.
A survey by the American Institute of Ophthalmology (AIO) in May 2010, said the same. Researchers analysed and published their findings on 1,243 mascara products and 800 different eye liners.
They extensively researched ingredients used in eye care products and found large traces of mercury (more than 15%), which can be hazardous.
Author Stacy Malkan wrote about toxic ingredients that are found in popular brands in her 2007 book Not Just a Pretty Face. In the book, Stacy claimed that mascara may contain mercury: a neurotoxin, and coal tar: a carcinogen.
Eye shadow can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a chemical linked to cancer.
Dr Vaishal Kenia, chairman and Medical Director, Kenia Eye Hospital (Santacruz), backs the claim. "Mascara, eye liners and other cosmetics contain high levels of toxic metals like mercury and lead, which get absorbed by the highly sensitive mucous membrane or lining around the eyes into the bloodstream. These are then deposited in the kidneys," he says.
The effects are felt after prolonged use, and can range from chronic allergies, styes, eyelid eczema, contact dermatitis (red rashes) to eye cancer and kidney problems.
"There has been a three-fold increase in eye problems caused by make-up over the past two years," says Dr Kenia.
Dr Malavika Kohli, dermatologist and cosmetologist with Jaslok and Breach Candy Hospitals in Mumbai, adds, "The skin around the eyes is thinner than elsewhere in the body, and has fewer oil glands, leaving it prone to wear and tear.
People also make the mistake of rubbing creams vigorously under the eyes, assuming they can get rid of dark circles." What you end up doing instead is dehydrating the skin and removing the layer that acts as a barrier to infections.
Experts say the chance of eye make-up going wrong is heightened with the use of non-branded products. And they suggest that if one has an existing skin condition, it's best to avoid covering it up with make-up.
I use a gentle Chanel cleanser for removing eye make-up. I wash my face with water and avoid using facewashes since they tend to be acidic. I make it a point to remove make-up immediately after a shoot and never sleep with make-up on. I prefer to use make-up only when I am shooting.
Neha Dhupia, actress
I use a good eye make-up remover and keep my body hydrated by sipping on water throughout the day. Unless it is absolutely essential, I avoid using under-eye creams, or morning and evening creams. I prefer letting my skin breathe.
Diandra Soares, model
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