How do you know if you’re wearing too much makeup? And does it matter? These are the questions I set out to answer when I researched and spoke with dermatologists and beauty experts about our relationship with the stuff we put on our faces.
What I learned is that “too much” makeup is pretty subjective. Our definitions will be different. However, there are some risks and possible complications that come from caking on the blush and foundation. The more makeup you wear, the more likely it is that you’ll experience one of these results.
Say hello to clogged pores
Makeup covers our pores, so the more we put on the harder it is for our pores to breathe. When the pores on our faces are covered up, it can lead to skin irritation and breakouts.
“The most likely outcome of wearing too much makeup is clogged pores and irritated skin,” Diane Elizabeth, beauty expert and founder of Skin Care Ox, told me. “Many of the ingredients in makeup products, from natural ingredients like coconut oil to synthetic silicones and petrochemicals, are highly comedogenic or pore clogging. Highly comedogenic ingredients get trapped in our pores, along with dirt and bacteria, and cause blackheads and breakouts.”
If you do enjoy playing around with a lot of makeup, make sure to wash your face well each and every night to give your pores some free time.
You’ll be at risk for infection
Your face isn’t the only thing you should be cleaning. How clean is your makeup bag? Our makeup can start to grow bacteria after just one use. Makeup tools that go near your eyes, like mascara wands, are especially vulnerable to developing harmful bacteria. So much of our makeup touches entrances to our bodies, like the eyes and mouth, so we can ingest that bacteria and become sick. The more makeup you use, the more chances you have to become infected.
To prevent this, make sure to toss any old makeup and never share products or tools with friends.
Your wrinkles could look worse
The more we touch our skin and apply makeup, the more at risk we are for wrinkles. “Rubbing and pulling on the delicate skin around your eyes causes eyelids to lose elasticity and become more wrinkled,” Dermatologist Jessica Weiser told Glamour.
So as you put on more and more makeup, that delicate skin around your eyes is getting pulled and tugged, leading to more wrinkles. “The skin there is much finer than the rest of the face, so tugging can really damage collagen and break capillaries,” Isabelle Bellis, holistic facialist, told Glamour. When it comes to applying makeup around your eyes, less is more.
You could be at risk for side effects
Many of us are so concerned about cleaning up our diets and replacing conventionally-grown food with organic, but what about our makeup products? Depending on what products you use, you’re exposing your skin and body to toxins every morning. The more makeup you use, the more toxins you’re exposed to.
“As a dermatologist, we live and breathe cosmetics and personal care products,” Dermatologist Steve Xu told Time. “I get asked every day, ‘What is safe to use?'”
Dr. Xu and his colleagues studied the makeup-related complaints reported to the Food and Drug Administration. During the 12-year period they studied, there were 5,144 health complaints from cosmetic products! Make sure to do your research and don’t overdo it.