Kajal has been used by people since generations. It is also known as surma or kohl, is commonly used as an eye care product, to enhance the beauty of the eyes, since ancient times in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa. The product is prepared in the ultra-fine form by specially processed kohl stone (galena) which is incorporated with some other therapeutically active ingredients. Alternatively, people also prepare kajal at home using edible oils or pure ghee.
Is it safe to apply kajal on a baby's eyes?
There are several cosmetic uses of kajal. But is it safe to be used for babies? In this article, Mommunity talks about the safety of kajal for babies, its side effects, and probable alternatives you could consider, as well as the process of making kajal at home.
Is Kajal Safe For Babies?
Kajal has been in use in several cultures. People prefer making kajal at home or purchasing the ones manufactured using natural ingredients, due to the lack of evidence-based research.
However, in the past few years, after intense research it is concluded that kajal is not really safe for babies. Most medical professionals and healthcare organizations recommend not to use kajal for babies.
- Store-bought kajal is not safe for babies due to its high lead content. The lead comes from the galena stone, which naturally contains the element.
- As per research store-bought kajal has other chemicals as well apart from lead like – galena, minium, amorphous carbon, magnetite, and zincite. These chemicals might be harmful for the baby’s eyes.
Why Do People Use Kajal For Their Babies’ Eyes?
Kajal has been conventionally used for generations in various Asian cultures.
1. There’s a belief that applying kajal to the baby’s eye keeps the evil eye away. However, there may not be any logical explanation for this belief.
2. Some people believe that by applying kajal to the baby’s eye it will make their eyes brighter, bigger, and longer. But there is no research-based evidence to prove this.
3. People believe that kajal has a soothing effect on the baby’s eye. However, it may cause irritation, because of its lead and other chemical content.
4. Some people say that it helps the baby sleep better, but there is no scientific evidence on it.
5. There is also a belief that kajal helps in avoiding diseases like blepharitis and conjunctivitis.
Reasons To Avoid Kajal
The foremost reason to avoid kajal is its lead content, which can be harmful. Following is a list of other reasons to avoid kajal.
1. As per FDA, the use of commercial kajal could cause lead poisoning, which can increase the risk of developing anemia and kidney problems. It could also cause neurological damage that may lead to seizures and coma.
2. The level of lead in the body could increase if the kajal is being applied for a longer duration thereby, causing adverse effects on the brain and bone marrow.
3. Kajal is usually applied using fingertips, and if proper hygiene is not maintained while applying, it could expose the baby’s eyes to pathogens.
These aforementioned side-effects are mostly relevant to the readymade store-bought kajal. However, homemade kajal could contain some amount of lead too. Apart from these, while making kajal at home, dirty fingers or rough edges of nails could harm the baby’s eyes.
How To Make Kajal At Home?
Follow the steps to make Kajal at home:
- Take two metal bowls with flat bottoms and invert them
- Invert a flat metal plate, on the top of the bowls in a way to make a bridge
- Place an earthen lamp filled with pure ghee with a lighted wick under the bridge
- Let the soot released from the lamp get deposited on the surface of the plate
- Scrape away the soot by using a knife and store it in a clean box
- Convert the soot into the paste-like consistency of kajal, by adding a few drops of pure ghee or castor oil
However, there is no medical evidence that proves that homemade kajal is safe for babies. Therefore, you should consult your baby’s pediatrician before using a homemade or store-bought kajal. Kajal has been conventionally used for ages. But modern research has shown that the substance has potential risks.
Published on: 08th September 2021