If you use makeup, you probably know that the golden rule is to never sleep with makiteup on. Doing this, research has proven, can cause clogged pores, breakouts, irritation — and if you're into this bad habit, premature ageing may sneak up on you.
But what if you're "just an eyeliner and mascara" girl? Is it really so wrong, especially when you're totally exhausted, to sleep with your mascara on from time to time?
Well, according to a case study published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over time this can risk the health of your eyes — literally.
For more than 25 years, 50-year-old Theresa Lynch from Australia applied mascara almost daily, but failed to properly remove it or clean her lashes efficiently over the course of those years.
Later in her life, discharge, painful irritation, and swelling started to occur and she went to the doctor, who referred her to a surgeon, Dr Dana Robaei — who upon lifting Lynch's eyelids, discovered hard, black bumps embedded in them.
*Warning : graphic images below
"[The lumps] were embedded so deep that particles were building up on top of each other," Lynch told The Daily Mail. "I was so uncomfortable. My eyelids were swollen and heavy because I left it for so long."
The symptoms, Robaei described, were like "somebody throwing a handful of sand in your eyes."
Each time Lynch blinked, the surgeon pointed out, the bumps would rub the surface of her eye and pose a serious risk to her vision. The doctor, who published a study on Theresa's injuries, said she had never seen anything like it, and if a scratch on Lynch's eye were to get infected, the infection could have resulted in blindness.
Lynch underwent an operation to have the hard lumps removed from inside her eyelid.
The surgeon hopes that this case will provide an important platform to raise awareness about the hidden dangers of not using beauty products properly.
"Not many women are treating the removal of their mascara seriously... You must be meticulous," she said.
Not being meticulous is something Lynch regrets. "I had fallen into a bad habit of wearing a lot of makeup and not washing it off... I should never have let it get this far," she said. "It's so important to properly take your makeup off every single night. You can't miss a single day," she emphasised.
Lynch will now live with permanent scarring on her eyelid and the surface of her cornea.
Just in case you're not too clued-up about how to remove your eye makeup properly, here's a short video that might be of great help: