Good eye hygiene will prevent eyelid conditions and preserve a healthy eyelid margin. Without using a good cleanser, bacterial growth, accumulation of oily secretions, and a buildup of dead skin cells can cause inflammation around the base of your eyelashes. If this debris is allowed to sit, it can lead to blepharitis, dry eye, and infections!
What’s worse is that human mites known as Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis eat the oils and skin cells. When the eyelid is left unwashed, these mites thrive. Very little can effectively and safely kill these eyelash mites, making them a challenge to control.
If left untreated, these mites can cause conditions such as demodicosis, Demodex folliculitis, and blepharitis which leave your eyes feeling itchy and irritated.
The first line of defense for your eyelids is keeping them clean. But if your immune system is compromised, or you have a chronic skin condition like rosacea, you may have a Demodex mite infestation brewing on your face.
Once you have a mite problem, you need a more potent solution – a cleanser that can soothe your skin irritation, gently wash away oils and debris, and kill mites. And with so many cleansers on the market, it can be difficult to find the right one.
Just because a product claims to kill mites doesn’t mean it has the science to back it up. That’s why we have researched for you. In this easy-to-read guide, we will cover the following:
- Blepharitis and its treatment
- Active ingredients and how they work
- The most popular eyelid cleansers on the market
When searching for a new eyelid cleanser for blepharitis, you must consider countless factors, including quality, benefits, and customer reviews. And now, you can find it all in one place!
With this article in your arsenal, your work is nearly done. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know to pick the best eyelid cleanser of 2023.
What is Blepharitis
Blepharitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. It often affects both eyelids on the edges. Many times, it accompanies dry eye disease.
If you suffer from dry, itchy, or inflamed eyelids, you may be one of the 25 million people who have Demodex blepharitis. According to Dr. Elizabeth Yeu, MD., a Virginia Eye Consultants partner, a whopping 45% of blepharitis cases are caused by Demodex mite infestations!
The other 55% of Blepharitis cases are caused by:
- Excess oil
- Skin conditions
These triggers cause irritated and often painful skin around the eye. Most cases are mild, but if left untreated, it can cause a number of complications, including:
- Eye Infections
- Chronic dry eye disease
- Lashes growing in odd directions
- Chronically red eyes
- And even damage to your cornea!
If your eyelids are inflamed, the first thing you want is relief. To find that relief, you need something to soothe the delicate skin around your eyes that will bring you cooling comfort.
But relieving the symptoms isn’t enough. You will need a proven solution to wash away the bacteria, oil, and debris as well as kill the Demodex mites. It’s also crucial to maintain an eye hygiene routine to keep it away for good.
Luckily, there are a number of products on the market that can help you to clear up your blepharitis and maintain bright, clear eyes.
The Science Behind Blepharitis Cleansers
There are a variety of active ingredients used in the Blepharitis Cleansers in 2022. And each one claims they can help you. But which claims are rooted in science and which ones fall short?
Among the many eyelid cleansers available, most have one of four active ingredients:
- Tea tree oil
- 4-Terpineol / Terpinen-4-ol
- Hypochlorous Acid
Tea Tree Oil
One of the most commonly used active ingredients used in blepharitis cleansers is tea tree oil because it holds antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiparasitic properties. Science has also proven that tea tree oil can actually kill Demodex mites.
So what’s the bad news? The oil can cause severe skin irritation. You could develop redness, swelling, a rash, and more when it is applied to the eyelid and lashes. It was also found to be toxic to nonocular epithelial cells and meibomian gland epithelial cells.
When you’re looking for relief, another itching, painful problem is the last thing you want! So scientists analyzed tea tree oil to find the one constituent responsible for its natural effectiveness. And they found it!
When scientists isolated a terpene known as 4-Terpineol (Alt. Terpineol-4-ol, Terpinen-4-ol, or T4O) and tested it, they realized that it worked better and was safe to use around the eyes.
When tea tree oil, terpineol-4-ol, and linalool were tested side-by-side for their effectiveness against killing Demodex mites, this study published by the British Contact Lens Association found that all of them made it less likely for mites to live than in the untreated group; However, Cliradex® which uses terpineol-4-ol, was the only product most effective against mites.
“Although all commercial eyelid cleansers affected lower mite survival probabilities than the untreated group, Cliradex® was the only eyelid cleanser that demonstrated comparable antiparasitic activity to 50% tea tree oil.” [Source]
Distilled linalool can be made from a variety of plants. You may recognize the name from your favorite personal care products; it’s a common ingredient in many lotions and soaps.
Linalool is a colorless, fragrant liquid that is both antimicrobial and moisturizing. What makes it useful in blepharitis cleansers is its effectiveness against a wide range of bacteria.
Although more research needs to be made, in this study where linalool was combined with terpineol-4-ol, the solution was very effective in killing Demodex mites.
The last contender on our list is hypochlorous acid, a strong antimicrobial agent that gives bleach its disinfectant power. But can hypochlorous acid compete with terpineol-4-ol? Not according to this study from the Illinois College of Optometry. Although products that contain this active ingredient in the right amount will kill bacteria and remove oil, if the blepharitis is caused by Demodex mites, the product won’t be effective.
“…my laboratory has demonstrated that 0.1% hypochlorous acid solution has virtually no effect on live, adult Demodex mites in vitro. In comparison to 4% terpinen-4-ol (the active ingredient in Cliradex®) which eradicated 100% of the test mites in under 40 minutes, 79% of mites exposed to 0.1% hypochlorous acid solution survived.” [Source]
Now that you know a little more about blepharitis and the best way to relieve your symptoms and kill eyelash mites, let’s take a look at some of the best eyelid cleansers in 2023.
Best Eyelid Cleansers in 2023 – The Lineup
Cliradex Towelettes are a convenient and travel-friendly option for people suffering from moderate to severe ocular hygiene conditions. When you can’t wash your face at the sink, or it isn’t easily accessible, grab an eyelid wipe instead.
This is an ideal choice for people on the go who need to find fast relief and alleviate the symptoms of:
- Dry eyes
- Demodex mites
- Itchy, inflamed eyelids
- Other skin conditions
Packed with a high concentration of Terpineol-4-ol, this natural solution easily absorbs deep into the skin to soothe inflammation and get to the root of the problem.
Safe for you and the environment, Cliradex’s gentle formula is 100% vegan and free from skin irritating ingredients.
- No parabens
- No sulfates
- No fragrances
- No artificial colors
- No alcohol
- No fillers
Best of all, the tea tree oil used in these cleansing wipes comes from a sustainable source and is never tested on animals. Use Cliradex® Towelettes in combination with Cliradex® Light foaming cleanser to tackle even the worst Demodex blepharitis cases.
One reviewer wrote: “The residual lump that I had for 5 months plus multiple tiny lumps on my lash line and redness/purpleness of my lids are almost completely gone in 4 nights… Also I had dry eyes for two years. So bad that in the morning I would need to place eye drops in my eyes to lubricate and open them. I thought it was due to dehydration and working long hours. And chronic contact use. I noticed in only four nights I no longer need to use saline eye drops.”
Cliradex® Light Facial Cleanser
Cliradex Light Foam is a lid, lash, and facial cleanser that can be used every day to maintain clean and healthy eyelids. By isolating the main component of tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia) this formula uses terpineol-4-ol and linalool to relieve the symptoms of eye inflammation, irritation, and lid margin disease.
This gentle foam cleanser is based on scientific research and is recommended by countless medical professionals, including Ophthalmologist Brian Boxer Wachler, M.D., a medical reviewer at All About Vision.
Wash your eyelids or entire face with Cliradex® Light foam to maintain good ocular hygiene and relieve symptoms such as:
- Swollen eyelids
- Red eyelids
- Mild ocular pain
- Mild ocular irritation
- Crusty eyelids
- Dry eyes
- Itchy eyes
If the delicate skin around your eyes is easily irritated by makeup, soap, and allergies, or you want to prevent blepharitis from coming back, this natural foaming cleanser is a safe and effective solution.
One reviewer wrote: “My 3 year old has suffered with blepharitis and cystic chalazions for over a year…We’ve been using Cliradex for 2 months now and her eyes have returned to normal! No more cysts that swell to the size of english peas! Her upper lid had bald patches and are now completely filled out. She no longer has eye irritation and doesn’t rub them for minutes at a time!”
Avenova Eyelid Cleanser
Avenova is an effective over the counter eyelid cleanser with 0.01% hypochlorous acid as the active ingredient. It comes in a recyclable glass bottle to protect against chemical leaching and is topped with a spray nozzle, so you can easily spritz the product on your skin day and night.
This popular cleanser is useful for people suffering from:
- Dry Eye
- Eye Irritation
- Contact lens sensitivity
Avenova is also hypoallergenic and free from oils, bleach or detergents, but you should not use this product if you have sensitivities to chlorine.
One reviewer wrote: “This Product works Great! My wife routinely uses this product, it used to be prescription only, I found it on Amazon after using the remainder of what she had left.”
OCuSOFT Oust Demodex Cleanser
By removing oil, pollen, and other impurities, this tea tree oil cleanser effectively calms inflamed eyes, eyelids, and the face. When used on a daily basis, it helps get rid of adult Demodex mites and their young.
This formula uses the power of tea tree essential oil. It is free from aluminum, as well as artificial colors and dyes. Antibacterial properties are also provided by a moisturizing and preservative mix.
Now also available in easy-to-use pre-moistened pads. This is an ideal companion for use at home and on the road.
One reviewer wrote: “It is eliminating the itching effectively. There are RX level products available, but they cost hundreds of dollars. I would definitely try this first. It is easy to use.”
Blephadex® Eyelid Wipe
Blephadex® is a moistened wipe with tea tree oil and coconut oil as its active ingredients. This soothing eyelid wipe from Blephadex® helps relieve itchy, scratchy, and flaky eyelids with a mild solution that is perfect for daily use.
The intensely rich formula calms, hydrates, and revitalizes fragile eyelid skin to leave your skin smooth and fresh. Because of the added coconut oil, these eyelid pads are also very effective in removing makeup.
One reviewer wrote: “I figured I’d try it on my agonizingly itchy allergy eyes. Well, one swipe and I’m hooked! And, since the little pad was clearly not all used up, I decided to run it over the eczema between my eyebrows and beside my nose. What’s to lose, right? Well, WOW!!! The itchy, scaly patches are nearly gone with just one cleansing.”
TheraTears® SteriLid® Eyelid Cleanser and Facial Wash
TheraTears® SteriLid® Eyelid Cleanser and Facial Wash is a natural, plant-based solution with tea tree oil that gently washes eyelids and lashes without irritating them. The entire procedure may be completed in less than a minute.
This cleanser gets rid of:
After 18 years of studying dry eyes, eye doctor Dr. Jeffrey P. Gilbard made TheraTears® eye drops. Now, there is an entire product line specializing in the treatment of dry eyes. All TheraTears® products are clinically tested to clean, nourish, and heal your eyes safely and effectively.
One reviewer wrote: “I’ve been using SteriLid on and off for about a year to control my Blepharitis. I find this product easy to use and very convenient when traveling… It seems to work better than the Baby Shampoo, and is nowhere near as uncomfortable.”
What is the Best Eyelid Cleanser in 2023?
We hope this article helped you to decide on an eyelid cleanser in 2023. When you find the right product, you have the power to boost your daily eye hygiene regimen and tackle uncomfortable eyelid, eyelash, and eyebrow skin conditions.
But remember to always be safe! Consult with your primary care physician or an eye care professional before using any of these products. And never use them on young children without a doctor’s approval.
Would you like to spread the word about the best eyelid cleansers in 2023 and help others beat blepharitis and Demodex mites?
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- Capasso L, Abbinante G, Coppola A, Salerno G, De Bernardo M. Recent Evidence of Tea Tree Oil Effectiveness in Blepharitis Treatment. Biomed Research International. 2022 ;2022:9204251. DOI: 10.1155/2022/9204251. PMID: 35941981; PMCID: PMC9356889.
- Chen D, Wang J, Sullivan DA, Kam WR, Liu Y. Effects of Terpinen-4-ol on Meibomian Gland Epithelial Cells In Vitro. Cornea. 2020 Dec;39(12):1541-1546. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002506. PMID: 32947397; PMCID: PMC7657986.
- Cheung IMY, Xue AL, Kim A, Ammundsen K, Wang MTM, Craig JP. In vitro anti-demodectic effects and terpinen-4-ol content of commercial eyelid cleansers. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2018 Dec;41(6):513-517. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2018.08.003. Epub 2018 Aug 14. PMID: 30120003.
- Epstein IJ, Rosenberg E, Stuber R, Choi MB, Donnenfeld ED, Perry HD. Double-Masked and Unmasked Prospective Study of Terpinen-4-ol Lid Scrubs With Microblepharoexfoliation for the Treatment of Demodex Blepharitis. Cornea. 2020 Apr;39(4):408-416. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002243. PMID: 31939919.
- Kabat, Alan. (2018). Hypochlorous acid solution (Avenova®) is not demodicidal. Clinical Optometry. 2018. 115-117. 10.2147/OPTO.S182534.
- Murphy, Orla & O'Dwyer, Veronica & Lloyd-McKernan, Aoife. (2017). The efficacy of tea tree face wash, 1, 2-Octanediol and microblepharoexfoliation in treating Demodex folliculorum blepharitis. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. 41. 10.1016/j.clae.2017.10.012.