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The Danger of Lining Your Waterline!

12 September, 2021 - 04:43pm by - Head Pixie | 16 Comments

by BR Kellie

From the 'oh my giddy aunt, why would you show this to me?' files... Recently BR Nat was kind enough to share with me this Tiktok video, from optometrist Dr Brittani Carver, about the danger of consistently wearing eyeliner in your waterline. In a nutshell, the video shows the waterline being squeezed and oil coming out that is thick and gloopy, not like olive oil, which is apparently how it ought to look.

In typical TikTok fashion the video isn't long enough to go into why this gloopy secretion is caused by wearing eyeliner and why we ought not to use it regularly, so I did some digging...

My eyes have glands? 

Indeed they do! They're called Meibomian glands, and they hang out in our waterline. As the video shows, the glands secrete oil in order to help our eyes not dry out. If they become blocked or if the quality of the oil becomes compromised it can result in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, which can be as simple as experiencing irritated, scratchy eyes, but can also result in styes, or even changes in your vision.

So what's eyeliner got to do with it?

Simply put, regular usage of eyeliner, or any usage of eyeliner, on our waterline can contribute to the glands becoming blocked, which can result in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Other factors to developing the syndrome can include age, and wearing contact lenses.

So how can we take better care of the area?

The easy fix? Don't apply eyeliner to your waterline. If you do find your eyes are irritating you, have a chat with a health professional. The sooner, the better, as since we only get one set of eyes we really need to do our best by them.

What if I really want to wear eyeliner?

If you really want to wear eyeliner in your waterline, keep it to special occasions, and make sure you cleanse the area well at the end of the day.

While I really did NOT need to see an oil gland being squeezed, I'm now grateful for the information. Turns out sharing really can be caring.

So... are you a fan of applying liner to your waterline? Will you be thinking twice about doing it the next time? Has it now been relegated to a 'special occasions only' makeup look? Or are you not all that bothered and happy to continue applying eyeliner to your waterline? Chat below!


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28th October, 2021

Oh wow - gross! Yeah I have definitely always avoided eyeliner getting too close as it irritates my eyes - no point putting all this effort into eye make up if it just gives you red bloodshot angry looking eyes!

27th September, 2021

I used to model and the amount of times I could pull my eyelid down to reveal a tonne of gunk that accumulated in my eye throughout the day. This honestly doesn’t surprise me that it could be doing damage, I certainly noticed some sensitivities in my eyes over time and always put it down to excess amounts of make up in my eye and having brushes/pencils going over such soft tissue

18th September, 2021

Most days I do my upper lash line but after reading this article I am bit reluctant to continue although I have never had any problems.

16th September, 2021

Dang! I don't do this everyday, but I really like how it looks when I do do it. I will have to stick to only doing this occasionally I guess.

15th September, 2021

I always found it hurt to put pencil on my waterline so I’m glad I’ve never carried on over the years.

14th September, 2021

I gave up years ago wearing eyeliner as it came off or looked like I was stuck in my grunge era hahaha. To find out it's actually not good from a medical perspective makes me feel good not to bother with it form now on :-)

14th September, 2021

My Optometrist told me I have Melbomiam Gland Disfunction and she also said I have a small cyst on the edge of my eyelid which was caused by the condition. I suffer from weepy eyes,wake up with red itchy eyes and have to use warm flannels or a wheat bag to heat the oil glands and unblock them. I also use eyedrops and cleanse my eyes with Systane Lid Wipes which prevent infection. I rarely apply eyeliner and mascara now as it usually irritates my eyes.

14th September, 2021

I have done the waterline with a kohl pencil almost every day for years and never had any side effects. I did once affect the glands by wearing contact lenses everyday and sitting in a place at work where there was a constant air flow on my face and my eyes became very dry. This took unite a while to heal though they are fine now and I can wear lenses and waterline pencil without any problems. I do cleanse thoroughly at night and find the Bion Tears are are very helpful for dry eyes. Also, a good way to help the glands is to rest a damp, warm cloth on your eyelids for a while.

14th September, 2021

Oh wow, what an eye opener! I use an eyeliner pretty much everyday and both top and bottom. I feel I look tired if I don’t. On a positive haven’t been using it regularly while in lockdown.

14th September, 2021

I use eyeliner every day especially now that I’m getting older, as I look tired and like I don’t have eyes if I don’t. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop ??

14th September, 2021

Yikes. I tightline my top lashes EVERY DAY. Is that as bad as waterlining on the bottom? Please tell me it's not! I love my eyeliner :(

14th September, 2021

I don’t put liner in the waterline nearly as often as I used to. Probably a good thing.

13th September, 2021

I had to look up where the water line is. And realized I always put my eye liner there. I won't from now on though.

13th September, 2021

Most of the time, tightline the top lashes. And every now and then bottom lash liner.

That was so descriptive, i'm glad that tik tok has not popped up on my feed. Ew..yucky.

13th September, 2021

I always tightline my lash line. I do like a nice nude eyeliner in my lower waterline but sometimes skip it because I'm tight on time. But I always double cleanse off my makeup at the end of the day.

14th September, 2021

Omg, that sounds scary, hope it’s easier to cope with now that you know what causes it and how to help it! You scared me with this a bit, I have been experiencing weepy, itchy eyes lately, but I thought it was due to my contact lens wearing habits.


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