When buying makeup, most people just look for foundation that matches their skin tone or mascara that makes their eyelashes look pretty. But what many people don't realize is that some makeup contains ingredients that can cause blindness if you're not careful. This makes it super important to read ingredient labels and choose products that don't put your skin and eyes at risk for infections that can cause permanent damage.
"It is an age old fact that using the wrong cosmetics for your skin type can cause unwanted blemishes and in worse cases, allergic reactions," says Murat Evin, Creative Director of The London School of Make-Up over email. "Reading product labels when purchasing makeup products is therefore more crucial than ever, as harsh ingredients included can have damaging effects on not only the skin but your general health, and in particular, trigger blindness."
This doesn't mean you should panic and throw away all your makeup forever, as not all beauty products are dangerous and blindness as a reaction is pretty rate. But to be safe, you should opt only for products that don't contain any harmful ingredients, and you should avoid using any makeup that's old and potentially filled with bacteria. To make sure you keep your eyesight in tact, watch out for these six makeup ingredients that could potentially cause blindness.
"Parabens can cause permanent damage to the eyes and even blindness," says Andrea Rodriguez, found of natural skincare line Chalet Cosmetics, over email. "Most products contain these ingredients as it they are less expensive to mass produce and ensure a longer shelf life."
"Ammonia, used in makeup, hair dye, and moisturizer products, is a corrosive ingredient which can lead to severe burns and cause blindness," says Evin. "Think of it this way: Ammonia can be found in window cleaner, so smearing your face with ammonia-based cosmetics is essentially the same as spritzing this chemical cleaner on your face." You will often find these listed on ingredient labels as “MEA," "DEA," and "TEA,” which are abbreviations for monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine.
Avoid any products that contain kohl, which is mad with heavy metals including lead. Although it is used in some places in the world, kohl is unapproved for cosmetic use in the United States. It is important to note that some products are labeled as "kohl" because of the shade, but they do not contain actual kohl or lead. Additionally, lead is often found in knock-off products of popular brands, says Evin. "For instance, an imitation of the popular Urban Decay palette contains a concoction of harmful ingredients, including high quantities of copper, lead, arsenic, and cadmium, which can cause blindness if used regularly," he says.
Permanent eyelash and eyebrow tints and dyes have been known to cause eye injuries, including blindness, according to the FDA. There are currently no color additives approved by the FDA for dying or tinting.
Glitter might be fun to wear for a music festival or a night out on the town, but it can cause irritation in your eyes or even cuts in your cornea. One woman even lost her eye when a piece of glitter cut her cornea and caused an infection that left her blind, according to Good Housekeeping.
Found in eyelash glues and lotions, among other products, formaldehyde is commonly used as a water solution called formalin to protect against bacteria, according to Women's Health. However, it can irritate or burn the eye and cause blindness, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.