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Use Eye Cosmetics Safely

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Use only cosmetics intended for the eyes on the eyes. Don't use a lip liner as an eye liner, for example. You may expose eyes either to contamination from your mouth or to color additives that are not approved for use near the eyes.

Say "no" to kohl! Also known as al-kahl, kajal, or surma, kohl is used in some parts of the world for enhancing the appearance of the eyes. But kohl is unapproved for cosmetic use in the United States.

Kohl contains salts of heavy metals such as antimony and lead. Reports have linked the use of kohl to lead poisoning in children.

Some eye cosmetics may be labeled with the word "kohl" only to indicate the shade, not because they contain true kohl.

A product's "ingredient statement" should not list kohl-this is not an FDA-approved color additive. Check the ingredient statement to make sure that kohl is not present.

Don't dye eyelashes and eyebrows. No color additives are approved by FDA for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes and eyebrows. Permanent eyelash and eyebrow tints and dyes have been known to cause serious eye injuries.

Use care with false eyelashes or extensions. False eyelashes and extensions, as well as their adhesives, must meet the safety and labeling requirements for cosmetics. Since the eyelids are delicate, an allergic reaction, irritation, or injury in the eye area can occur. Check the ingredients to make sure you are not allergic to the adhesives.

Don't use eye cosmetics that cause irritation. Stop using a product immediately if irritation occurs. See a doctor if irritation persists.

Avoid using eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection. Discard any eye cosmetics you were using when you got the infection. Also, don't use eye cosmetics if the skin around the eye is inflamed.

Don't use old eye cosmetics. Manufacturers usually recommend discarding mascara two to four months after purchase. Discard dried-up mascara.

Don't store cosmetics at temperatures above 85° F. Preservatives that keep bacteria or fungi from growing can lose their effectiveness, for example, in cosmetics kept for long periods in hot cars.