How Your Eyes Can Tell If Your Beauty Products Are Irritating

Your eyes betray a ton about your skin’s status: Lack of sleep, a salt- or sugar-heavy diet, and collagen decline all make their appearance in the eye area, namely because the skin up there is so thin and fragile already. Because of this delicate tissue, we also know contact dermatitis is more prevalent around the eyes—which is why investing in hypoallergenic eye makeup, like mascara, is a must for folks with sensitive skin. 

But allow us to declare: Your peepers can totally be one of the first places to show a reaction to a certain product, even if said product isn’t eye-specific.  

Board-certified dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., seconds the notion on a recent episode of Clean Beauty School: “[A] tell-tale sign is if your eyelids get really dry,” she says of skin irritation. “Because the eye area is super sensitive, you don’t always need to apply things to the eyes for them to react to things you’re applying to your face.” 

Again, the skin is quite sensitive (did we burn the phrase into your brain yet?), so the eye area can easily react to ingredients that the rest of your skin may be able to tolerate—such as fragrance, sulfates, and the like. Of course, there could be plenty of other reasons you’re facing dry skin around the eyes, like a drop in temperature, physical stress (i.e. constantly rubbing your eyes), seasonal allergies, and so on. But if you’re testing a new formula—or have a potentially expired beauty product on your hands—and find your eyelids itchy and flaky? It might be time to investigate. 

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