Ask Grace: Can You Recommend Contact Lens-Friendly Skincare?

Hi Grace, 

I know I should be applying skincare to my eye area, especially SPF, but if a product has a thick formulation (which most SPFs seem to) I find it irritates my contact lenses and causes issues with my eyes for the rest of the day. It seems like a niche thing, but I know a lot of people wear contact lenses now, so I was wondering what you’d recommend? 

Rebecca, 30 

As a long-term contact lens wearer also, I feel your pain! There’s nothing worse than that cloudy, gritty sensation you get in your eyes when your lenses have got product on them, especially if you’re not immediately able to remove or clean them.  

I always try to avoid oily formulations in the daytime, so any face oils or thicker creams I save for my evening skincare routine when I don’t have my lenses in. Although all skincare has been dermatologically and ophthalmologically tested I would recommend using a gel or serum-textured eye product (like Bliss Eye Do All Things Brightening Eye Gel) in your morning routine rather than a traditional cream. Gels and serums absorb faster and don’t leave residue on your skin which easily transfers into eyes and onto lenses. 

As for SPF, you’re right, you do need to apply it to your eye area where your skin is thin, delicate, and therefore the first place to show signs of aging. Older SPF formulations do tend to be quite thick and heavy, and so will sit on skin and again, easily irritate your contact lenses. These days there’s a real demand for lighter, thinner textured SPF products, and there are more to choose from! Check out Everyday Humans Resting Beach Face SPF30 Serum or Bondi Sands SPF50 Fragrance Free Sunscreen Lotion.

When it comes to cleansing, always remove your lenses before you begin the process. It’s the best way to keep reusable lenses clean but also will reduce irritation if any cleanser does get in your eyes. I always use a micellar water-soaked cotton pad to remove my eye makeup and then I’ll use my balm or oil cleanser to break down any stubborn mascara or liner. I rarely use a gel cleanser on my eye area as I find they’re almost always too irritating. Avoid oil and balm cleansers with fragrance and essential oils and you should be okay. I always recommend Dermalogica’s Precleanse as it’s never caused issues with my eyes. 

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