image showing under eyepad reaction

Ever seen those pictures of big red patches under the eye after Eyelash Extension application?

Have a look at this image.  What do you think caused the redness in the under eye area?

a. Adhesive Reaction

b. Skin wasn’t dried properly after cleansing before applying eyepad

c. Shellfish allergy (say what?)

d. Contact Dermatitis due to Methylisothiazolinone (try saying that one really fast…or at all)

image showing under eyepad reaction

We aren’t medical professionals, so of course we would NEVER make a diagnosis ourselves.  We would ALWAYS suggest an affected client seeks medical advice….

But we can understand what might be happening so that we can do everything in OUR control to minimise the risks to our clients.

Adhesive Reaction

If you answered A, adhesive reaction, here’s the thing.  There should be no adhesive contact or monomer falling on the under eye area as it was covered.  Note there is no reaction visible on the eyelid or upper eye area, where you would expect to see redness and swelling in an adhesive reaction.

Verdict? Not likely

Skin wasn’t dried properly before applying Eyepads

Most Under Eyepads for Eyelash Extensions are infused with varying concoctions to soothe or hydrate the delicate under eye area while also protecting the skin from being poked by tweezers and giving you a handy mapping area.  They aren’t supposed to get wet and it can break down the outer coating.

Even though most eyepads have non harmful ingredients like Water, Glycerol, Aloe or Vitamin C in them, if you don’t rinse and dry the skin properly you can get sweating under the pad causing a contact reaction (like if you put wet feet into shoes, that type of thing).  When damp eyepads are sitting on your skin for a couple hours, things can get a little irritated.

Verdict? Possible

Now when it comes to the Shellfish Allergy and Methylisothiazolinone, there is a lot more to it.  So we are going to dive a little deeper!

Shellfish Allergy

Some Under Eyepads contain Hydrolyzed Collagen.  We know Collagen is great, it’s the most abundant protein in our body and it helps us look less wrinkly.

Most people are aware of animal derived collagen, generally bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) for beauty products.  But did you know that there is also Marine derived Collagen?  Yep! They use fish scales and skin and there are some amazing benefits reported. BUT.  Some manufacturers used the term Marine derived Collagen to cover any ocean sources, including Jellyfish and SHELLFISH.

For any clients who are allergic to Shellfish, popping eyepads using this type of collagen on them could lead to a VERY serious reaction.

A Reaction to Shellfish

Kylie Osborne, a Lash Artist from Icandy Lashes and Beauty very kindly gave us permission to share her own story of how she just became aware she was allergic to Shellfish and how fast things went bad.

Note: Kylie’s story has nothing to do with eyepads, but has everything to do with how sudden and severe some allergic reactions can be.

Kylie Osborne of Icandy Lashes and Beauty telling her story about her reaction to shellfish in pasta

Scary right?  Kylie didn’t know she was allergic to Shellfish, so asking about any allergies in a consultation with her wouldn’t have prevented a reaction if collagen eyepads with shellfish derivatives were used on her.

Do you know what is in your eyepads?

Contact Dermatitis due to Methylisothiazolinone (MI)

First of all, what is this word we can’t pronounce, Methylisothiazolinone, and what does it do?

This part of the blog is long, but if you’re a lash artist or get lashes yourself it’s especially important, so keep reading!

Methylisothiazolinone, or MI is a preservative common in personal care products like domestic cleaners, sunscreen, mouth wash, cleansing gels, antiseptic wipes, makeup wipes, baby wipes and shampoo, and also in some EYEPADS that lash artists use. Did you know that?

As recently as two years ago, MI was one of the most commonly used cosmetic preservatives on the Australian Market.

MI became a popular replacement ingredient with the rise in anti-paraben preference.  Unfortunately over a number of years, various worldwide research studies found alarming increases in the number of contact allergies from products containing MI.

These studies found that MI has exhibited skin sensitisation effects and may also cause systemic acute toxicity and local effects such as eczema and contact allergy reactions.

Methylisothiazolinone was named Contact Allergen of the Year in 2013 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.  In Australia MI was identified as an emerging important allergen, primarily from baby wipes and facial wipes, causing hand and facial dermatitis.

Initially, governing bodies in the US and EU dropped the percentage allowed for MI in leave-in and rinse off cosmetic products to 0.01% or 100 parts per million (ppm).  But more studies in the following years continued to find that MI was a problem.

Ultimately, in December 2015 the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety in their 4th Opinion determined:

the information provided does not support the safe use of MI as a preservative in rinse-off cosmetic products up to a concentration limit of 100 ppm from the view of induction of contact allergy. For rinse-off cosmetic products, a concentration of 15 ppm (0.0015%) MI is considered safe for the consumer from the point of view of induction of contact allergy.  It was not safe to use MI as a preservative in leave-on hair cosmetic products up to a concentration limit of 100 ppm (0.01%) from the point of view of induction of contact allergy.

So what does that mean? The Committee felt that actually, there was no safe level for leave on products and for rinse off products, only a level of 0.0015% was safe from the point of a contact allergy risk.

Regulation wheels of change turn slowly!

  • EU – The EU adopted the SCCS 4th opinion position on 6 July 2017, and required all products in the EU market to be compliant by 27 April 2018.
  • US – The US Cosmetic Ingredient Review currently allows 0.01% for rinse off products and considers it safe in leave-on cosmetic products when they are formulated to be non-sensitizing, which may be determined based on a quantitative risk assessment (QRA).  However, as at June 2019 the CIR was undertaking a ‘Re-Review’ of MI.
  • China – The limit level of MI is still 0.01% in cosmetics.

Australia

The Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia (TGA) proposes to introduce a ban on METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (MI) except:

a. in rinse-off cosmetic preparations or therapeutic goods intended for topical rinse-off application containing 0.0015 per cent or less of MI; or
b. in other preparations that are not intended for direct application to the skin containing 0.1 per cent or less of MI.

The implementation date has been extended to 1 October 2019 (2 years after the original proposed date) to allow industry time to comply with the final decision allowing for reformulation activities for products currently affected in the Australian Market.

You can find information on the TGA Scheduling Delegate’s interim and final decisions here: https://www.tga.gov.au/book-page/36-methylisothiazolinone

What does this all mean to me as a Lash artist?

Well, MI is in some under eyepads.  Eyepads sit in the same category as baby wipes from a cosmetic perspective – which means they are leave on products.  Makes sense right?  They are on there for quite a while!

So depending on which country you are in, MI for products like eyepads may now either be banned, about to be, or new levels set that are so low that MI is not even effective as a preservative anyway.

Plus, even if its not banned – many manufacturers are walking away from MI due to its status as a known skin sensitiser.  Really, its bad for business.  Would you buy eyepads with MI in them?

Do you know what is in your eyepads?

under eyepads containing mi (methylisothiazolinone)
Under Eyepads currently available for purchase on some sites online. Notice Methylisothiazolinone is a listed ingredient.

The Bottom Line

Are Under Eyepads bad for you? If you’re allergic to shellfish, if they contain MI, if you don’t prepare the eye area properly first, yeah they can be.

But they also offer great, comfortable protection for the delicate under eye area and can provide a soothing treatment in the process.  So they can be good for you too.

What’s the difference between good and bad? KNOWING what you are buying, understanding the ingredients and purchasing from reputable suppliers who stay up to date with changes that can affect the health and safety of you and your clients.

The bottom line – don’t buy from cheap sites where you don’t get any information about exactly what ingredients are in your products. Not only could you risk the safety of your client or yourself, you could also risk fines for importing products containing banned substances.

p.s. If it’s been bugging you that we didn’t answer what caused the redness in the image in this blog – its because we aren’t medical professionals, so we would never make a diagnosis! 😉