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Is Eyeliner Bad for Your Eyes?


Is eyeliner bad for your eyes? Those who have contracted an eye infection may answer in the affirmative. Yet many women wear eyeliner every day and never encounter a problem. Problems with eyeliner and other cosmetics are more apt to occur when proper hygiene is not followed.

Recent Studies May Be Misleading

A recent study in the Israel Journal of Medical Sciences concluded that kohl eye makeup that contains lead, when worn while pregnant, is associated with a significant increase in the infant’s blood lead levels and with a few cases of asymptomatic lead poisoning. The FDA acknowledges this fact as well. See: Kohl, Kajal, Al-Kahal, or Surma: By Any Name, a Source of Lead Poisoning.

In the United States the term kohl refers to a coloring additive and is not the lead-containing kohl ingredient referred to in these studies. The use of kohl is prohibited in the United States and the FDA has an import alert in effect for products containing kohl.

Hygiene Is the Real Culprit

Here are 8 ways to ensure that your eyes stay beautiful AND healthy:

  1. Always wash your hands thoroughly before applying eye makeup.
  2. Pencil eyeliners should be sharpened before each application.
  3. Check for smooth edges after sharpening to ensure that sharp wooden pieces do not scratch your skin or eye.
  4. Never apply eyemakeup while driving in a vehicle. Always apply eye makeup carefully in front of a mirror.
  5. Fingernails should be smooth and clean.
  6. Never share cosmetics, even with family members.
  7. Throw away eyeliner if you had an eye infection.
  8. Eyeliner has an estimated shelf life of two years.

Taking just a few precautions when applying eyeliner can keep you from getting any serious eye infections. Be cautious and clean and your eyes can be beautiful every day.



Gizowska, Eva. “Is Your Makeup Past Its Shelf Life.” iVillage. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.,,548145_183872-1,00.html.

“Is eye cosmetic a source of lead poisoning? [Isr J Med Sci. 1992] – PubMed result.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2010.

“Kohl, Kajal, Al-Kahal, or Surma: By Any Name, a Source of Lead Poisoning.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2010.

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