Cleansing Eyewipes Basics

cleaning woman face with cotton pads. Cosmetic treatment.
Using cleansing wipes can keep the eye area clean and help you avoid conditions like conjunctivitis. See more getting beautiful skin pictures.
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With a daunting number of over-the-counter cleansing products to choose from, you might sometimes wish that there were one product that would do it all -- a single cleanser to take care of your hair, face and body. This idea, like many, is great in theory, but less sensible in practice. Certain areas of your body, like your eyes, need gentler handling than others. That's why products like cleansing eye wipes are available.

The skin around your eyes is naturally more sensitive than skin on other areas of your body, simply because it's much thinner. It's also more prone to dryness than the skin on some other areas. And there are many reasons why you might want to clean the area around your eyes throughout the day. Makeup removal is one reason. Also, certain conditions can affect your eyes -- dryness or allergies, for example -- and produce a runny discharge or "goop" that requires care while cleaning to avoid irritation [source: WebMD]. Eye-cleansing wipes can help in these cases, without damaging the sensitive skin around your eyes.


Though the primary function of all cleansing eye wipes is to carefully clean the area around your eyes, there are several different types with specialized functions, and some may be better for your needs than others. Eye wipes that target cosmetics, for example, are generally designed to gently remove your eye makeup without water. However, if you wear waterproof mascara, you may want to look for a different, stronger type of remover than someone who wears a non-waterproof formula.

Read on to learn more about the different types of eye wipes available.


Types of Cleansing Eye Wipes

Since the demand for cleansing wipes continues to grow, there are plenty of options out there to choose from. Many major brands offer their own version, and some contain active ingredients that mimic your favorite products. Those that are suitable for the eyes, however, are very specialized -- they're uniquely formulated to be gentle enough for that area.

But cleansing wipes in general can be broken down further into even more specific categories: dry and wet. The type you choose may depend primarily on your lifestyle: If you typically wash your face and eye area when you're near a sink, dry wipes -- which you'll need water to use -- should work just fine. But if you need to cleanse more often while you're on the go, you may prefer the wet kind.


If you need eye wipes specifically for makeup removal, you'll have to be even more particular about the kind that you choose. First, consider what kind of makeup you wear. If you use a waterproof formula of eyeliner or mascara, you'll probably want a makeup removal wipe with more oil than water in it -- these are designed to wash away stubborn cosmetics [source: Brown].

Remember to be gentle when using eye wipes to remove makeup. Press the wipe gently to your eye for a few seconds to give the removal ingredients time to react with your makeup. Then, move it slowly across your eyelid until the makeup is gone. If you need to rinse your eyes afterward to get rid of any oily residue, pat -- don't rub -- the area dry afterward [source: Brown, Mayo Clinic]. Make sure there's no makeup or cleanser left on your eye rim when you're finished -- this can lead to eye irritation.

If you have little time to spend on your skin care regimen, read on to learn more about low maintenance eye cleansing alternatives.


No-Rinse Cleansing Eye Wipes

Compared to traditional face and eye cleaning techniques, cleansing eye wipes seem like a convenience, because each wipe is basically a washcloth and soap combined. No-rinse cleansing eye wipes take that a step further by cutting out the need for water or even a bathroom. These wipes come pre-moistened, and sometimes they're even packaged individually to make it easier to stuff them into your purse or backpack.

No-rinse wipes may come in handy if you have an eye condition -- such as allergies -- that requires you to clean your eye area throughout the day, or if you just need to remove your makeup before you get home from work or school. They're also a packable cleansing option for people who do a lot of traveling or camping and don't have ready access to bathrooms all the time. Or, if you're just too tired at night to go through your entire cleansing routine, using no-rinse wipes can be simply a quicker way to get your face clean before going to bed.


You might want to test out different kinds of no-rinse eye wipes to find out which ones work best for you. Although manufacturers claim they work without water, some brands may leave a residue on your face that you'll want to rinse off anyway, especially if the wipes are oil-based. Many health and beauty Web sites do this testing for you and offer their opinions on which products work best.

Read on to learn why scrupulous eye hygiene is so important.


Benefits of Cleansing Eye Wipes

The most obvious benefit of cleansing eye wipes is that they're easy to use, and using them takes a lot less time than washing your face the old-fashioned way. This is especially true if no-rinse wipes are your product of choice -- these can travel just about anywhere with you, and you can use them at any time, even if you don't have access to a bathroom.

Cleansing eye wipes also are helpful for getting rid of the various types of discharge that can develop around your eyes. Eye goop can be clear and watery, pus-like or rubbery, depending on how healthy your eyes are and if you have an infection or not [source: WebMD]. If you're prone to eye discharge or you just want to get rid of the sleepy eye dust that you notice in your tear ducts every morning, eye wipes are a great way to take care of it without harming the sensitive skin in that area. However, if you're experiencing eye pain in addition to a discharge, and you think you might have an infection, you should consult your doctor.


Keeping your eyes and the skin around your eyes clean has some real health benefits, too -- it can keep disease-causing bacteria at bay. Taking every opportunity to make sure this part of your face is free of germs can prevent a number of irritations and infections.

For more information on caring for your skin, check out the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Cutting Through the Clutter: Making the Most of Your Facial Cleansing Routine." (Accessed Aug. 29, 2009)
  • Brown, Bobbi. "The Right Remover." Prevention. September 20, 2008. (Accessed 8/31/2009)
  • "Beauty Secrets to Look Younger." (Accessed 8/29/09)
  • "Best Eye Makeup Remover Wipes." (Accessed 8/29/09)
  • Lavinthal, Andrea. "You Look Tired." (Accessed 8/29/09)
  • Lloyd, Bill. "Eye on Vision: Pinkeye and Other Mysteries of Eye Goop Revealed!" WebMD. 11/6/07. (Accessed 08/29/09) goop.html
  • Mayo Clinic. "Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)." 5/24/08. (Accessed 8/29/09)
  • Mayo Clinic. "Top 5 Habits for Healthy Skin." 12/28/07. (Accessed 8/29/09)
  • Pitman, Simon. "Growth in market for wipes to decline but opportunities still exist." March 4, 2009. (Accessed Oct. 15, 2009)
  • WebMD. "The No-Knife Eye Lift." 10/8/08. (Accessed 8/29/09)