Can Mascara Cause Cataracts?

What price will one pay for beauty? While mascara, like other cosmetics, is used by millions of women everyday, the health risks involved are rarely made known to the public. This article is not intended to scare anyone from using mascara, but to inform those who do, to carefully read the label so that an educated decision may be made as to whether or not that particular brand, may cause any toxic side effects. Today there are natural alternatives available in the world of cosmetics that may offer some solution to this problem.

To address the question regarding mascara as a cause of one developing cataracts. After researching The American Optometric Association's (AOA) website, there was no reference made to cataracts forming as a result of wearing mascara, thus making that theory inconclusive and a myth. What is a known fact is that mascara can cause eye irritations, and conjunctivitis (swelling of the conjunctiva) commonly known as pink eye. These eye infections usually occur from sharing make up with others, or from keeping the mascara too long. It is recommended to throw out mascara after 3 months once opened and also if someone else uses your mascara. Exercise caution when applying mascara and eye liner, many people have suffered corneal abrasions from an accidental jab or scrape.

Bare in mind that a cataract is formed when the lens of the eye, which is clear, becomes cloudy or opaque. According to the AOA, " The lens is located inside the eye, behind the iris, which is the colored portion of the eye. The lens focuses light on the back of the eye, the retina. The lens is made of mostly proteins and water. Clouding of the lens occurs due to changes in the proteins and lens fibers.1" If the lens is encapsulated inside the eye, then it is highly unlikely that make up or debris could get inside. Most problems, as mentioned before, from mascara are related to the surface of the eye, like the conjunctiva (a thin membrane that covers the front of the eye and inner eyelids.)

Can Mascara Cause Cataracts?

Also, the AOA website states that the causes of cataracts are mostly age related. Cataracts can also develop from smoking, exposure to ultra-violet rays, poor diet, heredity, trauma, heavy alcohol use, people with diabetes are more prone to get cataracts, certain medications such as corticosteroids, Chlorpromazine and other phenothiazine related medications can increase the risk of cataracts. They also claim that it is extremely rare for babies to be born with cataracts or to develop them.

In conclusion, while there is no proof that mascara causes cataracts, it would be a wise decision to do whatever possible to protect one's vision. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants, wearing UV coated optical or sunglass lenses, have your vision checked annually, try to avoid excessive eye strain, use computer lenses for prolonged computer use. Quite simply take care of your vision, it is the most prized of all the five senses.

Here are just some of the typical ingredients found in some commercial mascara: 2

1. Beeswax - Stearic Acid (skin irritant).

2. Silica (skin & eye irritant, drying, potentially toxic).

3. Isostearic acid (eye, skin, mucous membrane irritant).

4. Shellac (resin secreted from insects, may cause dermatitis, irritant).

5. Myristic Acid (skin irritant, mutagen) - very toxic causing cancer).

6. Glyceryl Hydrogenated Rosinate (can cause contact dermatitis (derived from egg yolks and soybeans).

7. Xanthan gum (may cause eye & skin irritation, extracted with toxic solvents, contains "approved" levels of lead & arsenic).



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