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Is There a Safer Way To Wear Eyeliner?

Is there a safer way to wear eyeliner on your waterline?

By definition, eyeliners contain ingredients like esters, waxes, and even silicones. So when you place eyeliner on your lower eyelid water line or that upper eyelid water line, you're potentially physically clogging the opening of those meibomian oil glands. It's like the esters and waxes and silicones are causing little micro plugs in that oil gland orifice so that when you blink, not enough oil is getting into the tears. This can certainly make your dry eye MGD symptoms worse.
There are many cultures where wearing eyeliner on your waterline is as basic as wearing lip gloss. So telling a patient, hey, don't wear eyeliner on your waterline is somewhat impractical. Although I'm not a fan of water lining, I'm going to give you some tips on how to wear eyeliner on your waterline more safely.
NUMBER ONE. You want to find an eyeliner that has "cleaner ingredients." And I say that in quotes because even if it has cleaner ingredients, it's still gonna have esters, waxes, and maybe silicones. But at the end of the day, ingredients do matter when it comes to makeup and eye care.


NUMBER TWO. There's one habit that I've seen a lot of my patients do. They'll take, especially a kohl liner, and insert it on the lower water line. Then they will squeeze their eyelids together real tight and then they'll just do this abrasive back and forth, back and forth motion until the eyeliner is applied on that water line on the upper and lower. Instead of doing that somewhat abrasive and violent action, just maybe pull down that lower lid and gently just apply one coat on the lower waterline. If you still want to do the upper – same thing, one swipe and done. Here, you're trying to limit the volume of esters, waxes and silicones on the meibomian glands. 


To clean the waterline, you are going to put one drop of cleansing oil on a cotton swab. Remember that oil cleans oil so that's why you want to use a cleansing oil for this, especially if there are ester and waxes and silicones you're trying to clean. So you are going to remove all of your eye makeup like you would normally, then you are going to wet a cotton swab with 1 drop of the cleansing oil. This is your second step, and you're going to go in and make sure all of those ester and waxes and silicones are removed. There are four sides to a cotton swab: the top face, top backside, bottom face and bottom backside. Four sides to a cotton swab and you have 4 eyelid margins. The logic is killing me, lol. Gently scrub the lower eyelid waterline, then the upper waterline. Repeat on the other 2 eyelids to get a nice clean. 


Same method as above, but this time y
ou're going to take that cleansing oil and pair it with this tiny looking toothbrush. It's called Eyelid Margin Scrub Brush for exfoliating off all those esters, waxes, and silicones that could be physically blocking the meibmomian gland openings.
Make sure you scrub and exfoliate all four eyelids. You want to definitely use a 10 times lighted magnifying mirror for the best visual and control. You do not want to scratch your eye! This is the deep cleaning. You always want to use an oil cleanser because like I said, oil cleans oil. 1 drop of the cleansing oil on the scrub brush, shake off any excess, and you'll see the bristles get dark because of that buried eyeliner wax, etc. This step will likely make your eyes and nose water, but the clean you will feel after is a beautiful clean. 

Love + Healthy Eyes,
Dr. Tanya Gill, OD