IS IT SAFE TO APPLY KAJAL (KOHL, SURMA) IN BABY’S EYES? KAJAL FOR BABIES EYES: IS IT SAFE?
- Commercially available Kajal comprises of galena (PbS), minium (Pb3O4), amorphous carbon, magnetite (Fe3O4), and zincite (ZnO). Therefore, kajal contain high levels of lead.
- Indian homemade kajal is prepared by combining the soot from oil lamps with ghee or castor oil i.e. Homemade Kajal is nothing but a burnt residue of any oil burnt. Because of the residue left after burning the oil is high in carbon, homemade kajal have high carbon.
- Overall, Kajal= A dangerous cosmetic
IS KAJAL SAFE FOR BABY EYES?
- NO. According Doctor’s recommendation, your baby’s eyes should be kept free of kajal, surma or kohl as it is an extremely harmful, with possibly negative consequences.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS TO AVOID KAJAL?
- Lead Poisoning: Most commercially produced kajal have high levels of lead. Therefore, Kajal application on baby’s eyes can lead to lead poisoning. Lead can affect the organs like the brain and bone marrow. Therefore, kajal can result in anemia, neurological damage like low IQ, convulsions.
- Infections: Kajal is often applied with the fingertip. Therefore, if your hands are not hygienic, they may transfer infections to the baby. Also during bath, kajal can mix with water, wash down and block the opening between your baby’s eyes and nose, causing infections later on.
- Irritation: Cornea of the eye is very sensitive to dirt and . While applying or rubbing kajal, you might accidentally irritete your baby’s eyes with your sharp, uneven fingers or nails. Irritation can lead to watery eyes, itching.
- Allergic reactions: Your child might be allergic to ingredients of kajal and it might trigger a whole set of allergic reactions.
- You can never be sure of the hygiene level at which the kajal was made. Therefore, ingredients or packaging of the kajal can be contaminated.
WHY DO PEOPLE APPLY KAJAL IN BABIES’ EYES?
- To keep the evil eye or buri nazar away : Traditional Indian ritual believed that kajal ward off the evil eye or buri najar and give protection against the strong sun rays.
- For brighter, luminous and attractive bigger eyes: It is a myth and applying kajal doesn’t make your baby’s eyes bright or large.
- To sooth and clean the eyes: It is a myth and applying kajal doesn’t soothe your baby’s eyes but instead it leads to watery, itchy eyes and even prolonged use may affect his or her vision.
- For longer & better sleep: People believes that cooling effect of castor or almond oil mixed in with the kajal
helps in sleep but there is no scientific evidence for the same.
IS HOMEMADE KAJAL SAFE?
- No. Homemade kajal might be safer than store-bought or commercially available ones but still contains carbon which is unsafe for the baby’s eyes. Also, it do cause infections, irritation or allergic reactions.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO KAJAL FOR NEWBORN’S EYES?
Even when you know the reality, you might have your parents, in-laws or ‘well-meaning’ relatives asking you to apply kajal if not for beautification, but for warding off evil eye (buri nazar). And their best argument is “We applied it on you. You turned out fine!”
So here are few of other options that you can opt:
- For warding off the evil eye, the safest and best option is to apply a dot (small tika) of kajal behind one of the ears, at the hairline near the forehead or on the sole of foot.
- If you are insistent on using kajal in the eyes, it is best to wait till your baby is slightly older and stick to home-made ones.