t happens to the best of us: You get to the end of a long day, and the last thing you want to do is go through your entire skincare routine before you crash. In lieu of your normal routine, you do a quick rinse of your face and head off to bed. Well, a case study from Australia recently proved why not washing off your mascara — or really, any of your eye-makeup — is a terrible, terrible idea.
The case was reported in Ophthalmology, a journal published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The case reported that a 50-year-old woman at the heart of the case study “presented with chronic foreign body sensation in both eyes,” and upon inspection, her doctor discovered some really gross black spots on the inside of her eyelids.
(Warning: The following image is not for the squeamish among us!)
You'll never forget to wash off your mascara again after that picture, huh?
How Did This Happen?
Ophthalmologist Dana Robaei reported in the case study that the patient told her:
She admitted to more than 25 years of heavy mascara use on her lashes with inadequate removal.
The patient, Theresa Lynch, had upper eyelids that were covered in “multiple darkly pigmented subconjunctival concretions, some eroding through the conjunctival surface,” the case study reported. Robaei even told The Daily Mail that Lynch could have risked going blind because of her bad makeup removal habits.
Before she knew what the problem was, Lynch said she started feeling like something was “lodged” under her eyelids. She told The Daily Mail:
I was so uncomfortable. My eyelids were swollen and heavy because I left it for so long.
Lynch admitted she had “fallen into a bad habit of wearing a lot of makeup and not washing it off,” with dire consequences.
More reason to wash your makeup off: "histopathological examination of a conjunctival biopsy revealed a chronic inflammatory infiltrate with pigmented macrophages."
Beware of Bad Habits
Robaei determined that the black spots on Lynch’s eyelids were caused by small fragments of mascara accumulating over time. The black bumps could have easily scratched her eyes, which could have become infected, and Lynch lucked out that the damage wasn’t even worse.
Lynch did end up with eye problems associated with conjunctivitis and damage to her cornea, but it could have been a lot worse. She had to go through a 90-minute procedure to have the strange black lumps removed, and both Lynch and Robaei decided to go public with the case to raise awareness for others.
So if you’re thinking about skipping the part of your bedtime routine that involves washing off your makeup tonight… maybe reconsider.