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Dry, Scaly, Itchy Eyelids, What's Causing This?

Dealing With This Eyelid Condition Is A Conundrum To Be Sure

We have some women who have come to us complaining about dry, scaly patches of the eyelid, or that their eyelids were itchy all the time combined with their eyes being red and watery whenever it seemed they wore makeup or eyeshadow. 

They have been to countless dermatologists over the years and either they could never determine what was going on, or blamed it on eczema or seasonal allergies.  They used steroid creams, eye drops and medicated ointments, only to see no lasting results.  Their eyelids would recover for a brief period, only to repeat the process of dryness, scaliness, exacerbated with itchy irritation.  The common denominator in many cases was their eye shadow.

Only through the process of elimination did these women finally find the answer and relief they were looking for.

This became an interesting phenom and in each case, once other possibilities were eliminated, it was discovered that their eye shadow contained Bismuth Oxychloride, Carmine (Dead Beetle Juice) and / or FD&C dyes or lakes. 

The reason why these ingredients had eluded detection was probably due to their location on the ingredient list since many women have confessed they rarely read past the first four to five ingredients, feeling if the offending ingredient isn’t high up on the list they can use the product.  Or a more common answer, the ingredient list is so extensive it can get lost in the translation.

Bismuth Oxychloride has been used for decades in eye shadows and liquid makeup formulas to contribute to a pearlescent sheen or dewy complexion.  The only difference is, compared to mineral makeup containing it as a main ingredient, it is typically near the bottom of the ingredient list and / or is in the “may contain” list on eye colors.

Only when they switched to our Rose Bloom Mineral Eye Color, did they see significant improvement because we use minimalistic formulas and they don’t contain bismuth oxychloride, carmine, dyes or lakes.

The Common Thread

For the most part, women could and can wear eye shadow containing bismuth oxychloride for many years without incident.  But as we are seeing today with mineral makeup containing this ingredient, women have had havoc wreaked on their skin and are now extremely sensitized to it.  Despite the use of carmine, dyes and lakes, they were not always the common thread since some products didn’t contain these but did contain the bismuth oxychloride.

On women where they have never worn mineral makeup before but have experienced dry, scaly, itchy eyelids due to eye shadow usage over time, tended to blame the wrong ingredient simply based on its location on the ingredient list.  However, once they are asked to look at the complete ingredient list of their favorite eye shadow, do they see the mystery ingredient.  In all cases, women have identified bismuth oxychloride as being included at the bottom of the list.

What’s Up With This “May Contain” Stuff On The Ingredient Label

The “may contain” list is a way for manufacturers to inform the consumer that this ingredient can be present, especially when dealing with varying colors or formulas.  This keeps the manufacturer FDA compliant and serves to inform the consumer in the event of a possible allergen, basically a disclaimer of sorts.  Plus, with mega commercialized companies where their products are massed produced, such as coming out of China, the “may contain” notation is also a way to treat the ingredient as a contaminant.  In other words, Code for; we don’t intend to use this ingredient, but due to us running many batches through a huge facility, and we don’t clean our machines between batches, your eye shadows may be contaminated with this ingredient.

Even though bismuth oxychloride may seem minute in these formulas, the eyelid and eyes (think mucous membrane) are an extremely sensitive area, much thinner skin than on the rest of our faces.  So it stands to reason, it does not need to be in copious amounts for some women when using eye shadows to eventually have a reaction to it.  One thing which was another common thread, once they used our eye shadows or any other product which did not contain this, their eyelids improved and the skin healed over time.  Even though eczema could still be part of the equation, nevertheless, bismuth oxychloride will enhance dryness and exacerbate already itchy skin.

It’s All In The Color And Gentle Mineral Eye Shadow Ingredients

We also use the “may contain” list of ingredients only in our eye colors, blush and bronzer since some of our colors are boosted with different ultramarines or manganese violet, ferric ferrocyanide and / or chromium oxide green.  This just simplifies our labeling practices due to the wide range of colors we offer.  Otherwise, we know exactly what is in our products and our machines are cleaned between every formula batch we create.  No hidden allergens in our mineral makeup, only color boosters for shading.

Women with eczema also found them to be quite soothing without interfering with any treatment they may have been using to heal the skin once and for all.  Or best case scenario, simply by elimination of Bismuth Oxychloride, the eyelids were allowed to heal when using our eye shadow products.

BEAUTY TIP: To help protect your eyelid from potential irritation from eye shadows since they proportionately are Mica based colors, apply your mineral foundation onto your eyelid prior to application, then spritz to set.