crsheader Index Contact Lenses and Cosmetics: Teen Version

Can I use cosmetics if I wear contact lenses?

You can use cosmetics when you wear contact lenses. If you do, taking a little extra care can help to keep your eyes safe and your contacts clean.

What type of makeup is best to use?

Generally, water-based makeup is better than oil-based or waterproof makeup for contact lens wearers. The oil in some cosmetics and makeup removers can get on the surface of your lenses. This can cause decreased vision and can interfere with proper wetting of the contacts with your tears. You can remove water-based cosmetics with plain water or a solution of baby shampoo and water. Do not use baby oil or Vaseline to remove cosmetics.

If you use eye shadow, it is best to use the cream form. Powders can flake off eyelids and get into your eyes and on your contacts. Avoid lash-building mascara because it contains fibers that can get in your eye and cause irritation. Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic makeup is not safer for contact lens wearers.

What are safe ways to use makeup?

Try to keep facial creams and moisturizers at least a finger’s width away from the edges of your eyes. This includes make up such as make up for crow’s feet or dark circles under the eyes. It is best to apply make up after you put in contacts. That way your fingers will not have makeup on them when you are handling your lenses.

Aerosols, such as deodorants and hair spray, can get on your lenses and make them sticky. Use spray products before you put your lenses in.

Always wash your hands well before handling your contact lenses, but use a plain soap. Do not use soaps that contain oil, moisturizers, perfume, or deodorant. They can leave a film on your lenses.

If you develop an eye infection, throw out all your old makeup.

When should I take my lenses out?

Take your contacts out before you remove your makeup. Then your fingers will not have makeup on them when you are handling your lenses, and your lenses will stay cleaner.

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site: Developed by RelayHealth. Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-07-21
Last reviewed: 2010-09-07 This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. References
Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
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