Impact of Cosmetics on the Surface Properties of Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses

Eye Contact Lens. 2015 Jul;41(4):228-35. doi: 10.1097/ICL.0000000000000101.


Purpose: This study evaluated the impact of various cosmetics on the surface properties of silicone hydrogel (SiHy) contact lens materials.

Methods: In this in vitro experiment, 7 SiHy contact lens materials were coated with 1 of 9 cosmetics, including common hand creams (3), eye makeup removers (3), and mascaras (3). Dark-field microscopy images were taken to determine pixel brightness (PB) after cosmetic exposure, which describes the visible surface deposition (n=6 for each lens type), with a higher PB indicating increased deposition. The sessile drop technique was used to determine the advancing contact angle (CA). Measurements were repeated for both methods after a single peroxide-based cleaning cycle.

Results: Pixel brightness was significantly higher for mascara-coated lenses compared with the other cosmetic products (P<0.01). The peroxide-based lens care solution removed most deposits from the nonwaterproof mascara for 4 lens types, whereas deposits remained relatively unchanged for 1 waterproof mascara (P>0.05). Hand creams and makeup remover had minimal impact on PB. Changes in CA measurements after cosmetic application were highly lens dependent. Hand creams caused primarily a decrease in CA for 5 of the 7 lens types, whereas 1 of the waterproof mascaras caused a significant increase of 30 to 50° for 3 lens types.

Conclusion: Some mascara-lens combinations resulted in increased CA and PB, which could have an impact on in vivo lens performance. Nonwaterproof mascara was mostly removed after a cleaning cycle. Further research is needed to understand the clinical implications for SiHy lens wearers using cosmetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contact Lenses, Hydrophilic*
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Disposable Equipment
  • Humans
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Silicones
  • Skin Cream / adverse effects
  • Surface Properties / drug effects*


  • Cosmetics
  • Silicones
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate