Why Can’t You Wear Makeup During Surgery?

Why Can't You Wear Makeup During Surgery

A couple of years ago I had to have surgery. Even though it was a routine thing, there were of course some things that I had to keep in mind. One of those things was that I couldn’t wear makeup during surgery.

At the time I didn’t much think about it, but a couple of nights ago I was ready to go to bed when out of nowhere the question “why can’t you wear makeup during surgery?” came to mind.

Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. The only thing that I know is that our mind works in mysterious ways. I let the thought go, but the next morning I still had to think about this question.

Now, I didn’t know the answer but that only sparked more curiosity. So, I went on the internet to find the answer and the below answers are what I learned.

I do not hope that you have to go into the hospital to have surgery, ever… But when you do, below are the reasons why you can’t wear makeup!

Why can’t you wear makeup during surgery?

There are a couple of reasons why you can’t wear makeup to your surgery. Now, I know that you want to look cute for all those cure doctors in the hospital, but it isn’t really a good idea to wear makeup.

You can damage your eyes

While you are under anesthesia, you don’t have a blink reflex (I didn’t know this!) So, when you go into your surgery wearing mascara, for example, you can damage your eyes because small particles of mascara can injure your eyes.

Some things are flammable

Another reason why you can’t wear makeup to your surgery is the fact that some makeup items (and hair products) can be flammable. So, naturally, these kinds of things shouldn’t be worn when you are undergoing surgery. They don’t want to set you in flames when they fix you up!

Why can’t I wear nail polish during surgery?

Who doesn’t want to wear nice nail polish when they’re about the have surgery? I know I want this (I’m kidding). Having surgery is not a time to look your prettiest. It is the time to become better. So, that means no nail polish and that is for two good reasons.

Nail polish is flammable

As I said above, there are some items that can be flammable. Why is nail polish flammable you ask? Nail polish is flammable due to the ingredient acetone – also knows as dimethyl ketone or 2-propanone. This ingredient can dry out the skin around your nails and has been known to also be able to melt most plastics. Not the kind of thing that you want on your finger when you’re going to surgery. You are better to take it off before you have to go in.

The pulse oximeter

The other reason for not wearing nail polish (or acrylic nails for that matter) is the fact that this is the place where the pulse oximeter is usually placed. They use this device to measure the oxygen levels in your blood. This is very important (as you can imagine). But, when you use nail polish (or acrylic nails) this device sometimes does not work well. Now, if you forget to take it off the surgery team will look for another place on your body to monitor your oxygen levels, but it’s better to give them the freedom to put devices where they would work best.

So, that’s why you can’t wear nail polish to your surgery.

Can you wear a foundation during surgery?

Wearing a foundation during your surgery is not advisable. As with all makeup you would wear, it just hinders the procedure and that is something you don’t want. Why can’t you wear foundation when you’re going in for surgery?

Foundation (as with other products) can mask your natural skin color. However, your surgical team needs to be able to see your clear face so that they can identify that everything is okay with you. When you’re wearing foundation, they can’t say that with certainty. So, it is better to arrive with a clean face!

Can I put face cream on before surgery?

The morning before your surgery you should take a shower and clean yourself thoroughly. Besides the fact that you need to shower early so that your hair will be dry before your scheduled surgery, you should also avoid face cream.

You should avoid face cream, body emollients, oils, deodorant, and makeup altogether (which you now know). The fact is that some of the products (including face cream) can interfere with the effects of your antibacterial soap and shower.

By not wearing face cream (or any makeup for that matter) you also help reduce your surgical infection risks. If there’s one thing you don’t want when you go into surgery is complications. Having surgery is bad enough, having complications because of some skin routine is even worse.

Can I wear eyebrow makeup during surgery?

Just like the other things mentioned above, you also shouldn’t wear any eyebrow makeup. This includes eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara. This is because (as I said earlier) you can damage your eyes due to small particles of mascara, eyeliner, or brow pencil that can injure your eyes.

Please just don’t you. You can’t wear makeup during surgery and you shouldn’t want to. The sole reason for you to have surgery should be to get better and well again. It isn’t your job to look pretty on the surgery table. It’s your job to stay healthy so that you can look awesome for years and years to come!

Did you know you can also suffer from matted hair while in the hospital?


I think it’s safe to say that you’re better off not wearing any makeup or wearing any nail polish during surgery. It’s just not worth the risk. To avoid all those risks, the health professionals tell you that you can’t wear makeup during surgery. Listen to them and go in Eau Naturelle! It may feel weird, but as I said in the above section, having complications because of wearing makeup is a stupid way to get complications.

Let them fix whatever is broken during surgery and after that, you’re good for years and years of wearing makeup!

Further reading material

If you found this article informative and fun to read, I have some good news for you! I have handpicked a couple of articles for you that you might find interesting after reading this article. Please click on one of the links below and start reading!

Is It Ok to Use Expired Makeup Remover?
Is It Weird to Not Wear Makeup?
10 Makeup Books for the makeup fanatic

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