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Ideally, makeup can make you look and feel glamorous. However, at times makeup can show its ugly side if you have a reaction to it that causes your eyes to swell and become itchy, watery or painful. If you're experiencing these symptoms, you could be having an allergic reaction or even an infection or chronic condition. To keep your eyelids from swelling after you use makeup, be sure to apply it correctly and use a brand that's safe for you.

Makeup Allergies

People who have allergies or sensitive skin are most likely to have allergic reactions to eye makeup. Reactions include watering, itching, redness, swelling and flaking of the eyelids. The University of Illinois Department of Ophthalmology recommends that you avoid products with added fragrance, Rosin or colophony, nickel and lanolin. Look for products marked hypoallergenic, meaning less likely to cause allergy. You may need to try several products before you find one that doesn't make your eyes swell.

Bacterial Infection

All eye cosmetics have preservatives designed to slow the growth of bacteria. Nonetheless, the older your makeup gets and the more it's used, the more likely it is to contain bacteria that can infect your eyelid. This can cause raised bumps or boils, swelling and redness. If your eye makeup is causing this type of reaction, throw it out and switch to a new product.


According to MayoClinic.com, an allergy to makeup may result the eye condition blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the eyelid that causes it to swell and turn red. You may also have "crusty" eyelids, particularly when you wake up. This often is a chronic condition that may require antibiotics if it doesn't disappear on its own. If you've switched eye makeup products and your eyes are still swollen, clean your eyelids regularly with a warm washcloth and see your doctor to find out if you need additional treatment.

Safety and Correct Use

The way you use your eye makeup can affect your eyelids. You should always use clean cosmetics that contain as few allergens as possible. Replace eye makeup after six months, and never share it with friends. When applying eyeliner, keep it away from the lash line. Never use saliva to wet an eye pencil or otherwise apply makeup, as it can spread bacteria to your eye. After wearing makeup, clean your eyes thoroughly without rubbing or scrubbing. Never sleep with makeup on.

Medical Conditions

If you have continued issues with eyelid swelling, you may have a chronic infection. You may also have a more serious condition, which makeup only aggravates. See your doctor if the swelling continues over several days, or if your eyelids swell to the point you can't open or close your eyes.