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Premier Vision Clinic, Dr. Jennifer DenHartog, Optometric Physician

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Considerations In Eyecare

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Personal Care Products & Dry Eye: Why should I care about ingredients:

There is a lack of regulatory oversight by the US Food and Drug Administration regarding the labeling of cosmetics. Labels like “Hypoallergenic” “Organic” and “Dermatologist Recommended” don’t ensure the product is non-toxic. Many cosmetics contain harmful chemicals that damage the glands along the eyelids. Unfortunately, these toxic chemicals are disguised in long chemical names which we don’t immediately recognize.

Be sure to remove eye make up every day to help reduce eye symptoms and prevent early aging and damage to the eyelids and glands. Never expose eyelids to harsh soaps, cleansers, or detergents which strip your tear oil reserves.

Beauty habits and chemicals to avoid:

Waterproof Eye Makeup

Chemicals that make it waterproof are difficult to remove and require harsh chemicals to remove. Remnants of makeup often remain, and cause irritation.

Eyelash Growth Serum

Many contain isopropyl cloprostenate, a synthetic prostaglandin that can induce changes in iris color, darkening of the skin, loss of fat around the eye, and disruption of the tear film.  The most common symptom is burning and stinging as irritation around the lid margin causes a change in the tear film secretion and resultant inflammation and dryness. In addition, studies have shown that our natural eyelash length is optimal for wind velocity of our blink, and for preventing debris in the eye.

Often times, once someone switches to safer mascara, in about 6 to 8 weeks (the life cycle of the lashes), a healthier lashline will result naturally.

3 lid lash ratio

Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash glues may contain volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde.  These glues cause irritation to the lash line and may clog the meibomian glands, preventing them from secreting necessary oils into the tear film.

4 lash extension glues

Tightlining Eye Liner

Applying eyeliner on the lid margin blocks the glands from secreting oils into the tear film and introduces bacteria. Many eyeliners are also made with coal black and tar, a byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent.

5 tightlining

Eyelid Tattooing

Tattoo inks may be made from titanium dioxide, lead, chromium nickel, iron oxides, ash, or carbon black. The inks and the process of applying them may be harmful to the oil glands that line the lid and aid in tear production.

Botox for Crows Feet

Weakens the orbicularis muscle surrounding the eye. This may lead to an incomplete blink and symptoms of dry eye. “Botox-in-a-jar” often contains Argireline.

Formaldehyde Releasers

Found in many lash extension adhesives, mascaras, shampoos, nail hardeners, body washes, skin care and make up. Its also used as a preservative in cosmetics.  May cause sensitivity reactions. Eg: DMDM hydantoin, Quaternium-15, Ureas (Imidazolidnyl, Diazolidinyl), 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol).

Retinols around the eye

Retinols often found in anti-aging creams may damage the Meibomian glands, which secrete the necessary oils into the tear film.

The TRUTH about RETINOL

What is Retinol?

Retinoids are a family of vitamin A derivatives best known for their use in anti-aging skin-care products. Retinoids include retinol, Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, retinyl propionate, and the fun-to-pronounce hydroxypinacolone retinoate.

How does it work?

When retinoids – including naturally derived ones popular in cleaner skin-care lines – are used on the skin, they convert to retinoic acid. (Prescription-based products such as Retin-A and Tretinoin are synthetic forms of retinoic acid.)

Is it safe?

For us, its not worth taking a risk on retinol. Studies show that retinoic acid can have harmful side effects, including being a skin irritant and making the skin sensitive to the sun’s damaging rays. In fact, both the EU and Canada have restricted the use of retinol – the EU cites a “precautionary principle,” which means that if an ingredient has shown evidence of danger to human health or the environment, it takes preventative action (and so should you). These are some of the reason’s it’s on The Never List.

Talc, Mineral, and Powder based Cosmetics

May contain irritants such as asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.

Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK)

Found in many eyeliners, mascaras, and make up removers. A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies. This preservative is toxic to the cornea. It is found in many OTC and prescription eye drops, moisturizers.

Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-)

Found in many makeup products, foundation, lotions, shampoos, shaving creams, and tanning products. Parabens are a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. They are absorbed through the skin and easily transmitted to the bloodstream. They prohibit the Meibomian glands on the eyelid from secreting. They are known endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies.

Artificial Fragrances (phthalates)

Phthalates are a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to the skin. Found in many products, including synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials. They may contain any combination of chemicals including allergens and hormone disruptors, which may cause birth defects.

PEGs (polyethylene glycol)

Found in creams, sunscreens, and shampoos. PEGS are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers PEGs may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, both of which are carcinogens.

Titanium Dioxide

Found in permanent eyeliners, it is a possible carcinogen.  Titanium dioxide is a naturally-occurring mineral found in the earth’s crust. Because of its white color, opaqueness, and ability to refract light, its often used as a pigment, brightener, and opacifier. It is also a UV filter and is an effective active ingredient in sunscreens. It can be safe or unsafe, depending on its use.

When inhaled, its considered possibly carcinogenic to humans.  Examples would be used in loose or pressed powders, eyeshadows, and blushes. Titanium dioxide within sunscreen formulation presents a much safer option than conventional sunscreen chemicals.  It may become dangerous when it is nanoparticle size when they may be more chemically reactive and therefore more bioavailable and may behave differently than larger particles of the same substance.

Metallic Colors and Glitter

Mica helps to create a natural shimmery finish and can be milled to a fine powder. Loose mica can clog the delicate oil glands along the lid margin. It is important to use eyeshadow products with responsibly sourced mica to prevent against bacteria and irritation at the lid margin.

Sodium Laureth Sulfates

Found in face washes, shampoos, and body washes, this surfactant ingredient which causes soaps to foam may irritate the skin and cause inflammation affecting the eyelids. SLS and SLES can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh.

Oxybenzone

Found in sunscreen.  It is a sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. It has also been found toxic to coral reefs and ocean life. It is easily absorbed into the blood stream.

BEAUTYCOUNTER’S NEVER LIST

https://www.beautycounter.com/jenniferdenhartog?goto=/the-never-list

Benzalkonium Chloride
A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.

Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients
A byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
A chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.

Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA)
Surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.

Formaldehyde
Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Hydroquinone
A skin-lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. Found in: skin-lightening creams.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone
Chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers, and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.

Oxybenzone
Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.

Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.

Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others)
A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds)
PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.

Retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate)
Retinyl palmitate is an ingredient composed of palmitic acid and retinol (Vitamin A). Data from an FDA study indicate that retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may result in adverse health consequences like lesions and photosensitization. FDA, Norwegian and German health agencies have raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES)
SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Synthetic flavor or fragrance
An engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.

Toluene
A volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects. Found in: nail polish.

Triclosan and Triclocarban
Antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.

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