Whether you’re stumbling through the door after a night on the negronis or you’re Just. Too. Tired after a Netflix binge, taking off your makeup before bed can often slip down the must-do list.
Not cleansing the face of makeup at night is known to be a bad skin care habit. But if you need further evidence that you really shouldn’t go to bed in your mascara, you’ll do well to listen to the warning by Theresa Lynch.
As documented in a recent article published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Lynch, a 50-year-old from Sydney, revealed that she was almost left blind after failing to remove her mascara properly for a period of 25 years. The photographic evidence is pretty graphic.
After seeking medical advice for eye irritation, discharge, and an uncomfortable sensation beneath her eyelids, Lynch, a mother of two, was horrified when doctors discovered she had calcified bumps, known as concretions, underneath her eyelids caused by years of mascara buildup.
These were consistent with years of mascara use, with fragments of unwashed mascara depositing under her eyelids over the years.
The lumps posed a serious risk to her vision, and it took general anesthetic and a 90-minute procedure to remove them.
Now Lynch and her ophthalmic surgeon, Dana Robaei, MBBS, want to raise awareness about the dangers of sleeping in makeup by releasing the gruesome images of her infected eyes.
“The lumps were embedded so deep that particles were building up on top of each other,” Lynch said.
“I was so uncomfortable. My eyelids were swollen and heavy because I left it for so long.”
Like many people, Lynch had fallen into a bad habit of wearing makeup and not washing it off properly before bed.
“I should never have let it get this far,” she said.
“It’s so important to properly take your makeup off every single night. You can’t miss a single day.”
Robaei, who is consultant ophthalmologist at Australia’s Forest Eye Surgery, said the case should serve as a warning to others.
“Every time Theresa was blinking, these bumps were rubbing on the surface of the eye, and they pose a risk to her vision,” Robaei told the Daily Mail.
“If the scratch on the surface of the eye got infected, there is a risk this could be potentially blinding, but that would be rare.”
And even though the surgery was successful, Lynch’s eyes could continue to cause her discomfort.
“She has suffered permanent scarring on her eyelid and the surface of her cornea,” Robaei continued. “The symptoms are like somebody throwing a handful of sand in your eye — it’s constantly irritating.”
Shahriar Nabili, MB ChB, a leading ophthalmologist at Glasgow, Scotland’s BMI Ross Hall Hospital who subspecializes in oculoplastics (eyelid surgery), told Yahoo Style U.K. that mascara and eyeliner can cause irritations and infections.
“In some patients, makeup on the eyelid can cause problems such as irritation and infection of the surface of the eye and also damage to eyelashes,” he said. “Some patients can also develop problems with the tear duct and watery eye.”
Nabili said that removing makeup properly is vital to help maintain good eye health.
“The best way to prevent such problems is to clean off the makeup from the eyelids before going to bed,” he noted. “I would also advise against eyelash extensions, as these can damage the eyelids and eyelashes.”
But it’s not just about having a clean face before bedtime; you should also be removing all traces of makeup before you hit the treadmill.
“Exercise promotes circulation,” Preethi Daniel, medical director of the London Doctors Clinic told Yahoo Style U.K.
“It opens the blood vessels near the surface of your skin and causes you to sweat. This not only helps you cool down, but it also helps push impurities out of your skin. Now imagine some foundation, setting powder, blush, and some contour is covering all of these sweat glands? Sweat and natural skin oils can clog these pores and cause overgrowth of bugs such as Propionibacterium acne, which can cause [pimples].”
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