Why You Shouldn’t Use Baby Shampoo to Wash Your Eyelids?

For years, baby shampoo has been regarded as a safe product to use to wash eyelids and the sensitive areas around the eyes. While baby shampoos are still generally gentle and safe for accidental eye contact, they may not be the most effective product for cleansing the eye area.


As time has passed and eye science has progressed, fewer doctors are recommending baby shampoo as a healthy alternative for eye cleansing. When it comes to blepharitis and other eyelid conditions, consider the following before reaching for that bottle of baby shampoo!


What is Different About Baby Shampoo?


To understand why baby shampoo may or may not be good for eyelid cleansing, let us take a step back and define what makes baby shampoo unique. It almost goes without saying that baby shampoo is intended for use on babies and toddlers. What fewer of us understand is what makes baby shampoo different.


The key difference is in the ingredients. Where typical commercial shampoos might include harsh parabens and sulfates such as sodium laureth sulfate and/or sodium lauryl sulfate, baby shampoos will generally use an eye-safe ingredient such as PEG-80 sorbitan laurate. 


Yet not all baby shampoo ingredients are made for direct eye contact. Because shampoos are “detergents”, they can still do damage to your eyes.


An analogy might be regular shampoo = ice cream and baby shampoo = low fat ice cream. The low fat variant might have less calories, but it is still ice cream. Baby shampoo may have gentler ingredients, but it is still a shampoo.


Can Baby Shampoo Damage my Eyes?

Can Baby Shampoo Damage my Eyes

Baby shampoo is safe for brief, accidental contact with the eyes — particularly in“no tears” formulas. However, shampoo is not intended to be used on your eyes. Sustained, purposeful contact can lead to eye damage in the following ways: 


Diluted baby shampoo usage directly on the eyelids was shown to damage the goblet cells in the cornea. Goblet cells are partially responsible for the health of the cornea by producing mucins and anti-bacterial peptides.


Meibomian glands were negatively impacted by baby shampoo usage. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a common eye condition which is associated with blepharitis.


At the end of the day, it is isn’t just that baby shampoo is potentially damaging to your eyes, but also that it is less effective than dedicated eye cleansing products. Where these products are designed specifically for cleansing eyes, baby shampoos are merely lesser alternatives.


Why Eyelid Cleansers Outperform Baby Shampoos

Why Eyelid Cleansers Outperform Baby Shampoos

Although some associations such as the American Optometric Association and American Academy of Ophthalmology have yet to officially discount the use of baby shampoo as effective eyelid scrubs, more and more physicians are beginning to recommend that patients choose an eye cleanser instead of baby products that are not designed for use near the eyes.


When you’re shopping for a safe, gentle and effective eyelid cleanser, be on the lookout for these three important qualities:


  1. The cleanser is formulated and designed for use specifically on your eyelids and near your eyes. 
  2. Products that are free of fragrances, parabens, alcohol, sulfates and preservatives.
  3. Products that contain naturally-derived ingredients, especially a gentle cleansing agent like 4-Terpineol, which has been shown to effectively eliminate demodex mites on the eyelids and lashes.


Are Eyelid Cleansers a Safe Alternative?

To answer simply: absolutely! Whereas baby shampoos are designed to be detergents, eyelid cleansers are scientifically formulated to be safe and effective cleansers for the eye area. There are certain ingredients which may exist in both products such as polysorbates and glycerins. 


These ingredients exist in a very small concentration within eyelid cleansers, and have been thoroughly tested for eye safety. 


Again, just because an ingredient exists in both baby shampoos and eyelid cleansers does not mean that the baby shampoo is safe for direct eye usage nor does it mean that eyelid cleansers are unsafe!


Eyelid cleansers are the only products specifically formulated with potent, natural 4-Terpineol (sourced from Tea Tree Oil) to deliver eye cleansing power without the fluff. Eyelid cleansers can be effective at relieving: 


  • Demodex mite infestation
  • Redness and swelling
  • Burning, itchiness or irritation
  • Heavy crustiness
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Excessive tearing


Cliradex Natural Relief for Demodex, Blepharitis and Dry Eyes

If you or a loved one is suffering from blepharitis or dry eyes, Cliradex has a product for you! Our towelettes and light foam cleansers are convenient, preservative free, and are packed with powerful 4-Terpineol for effective cleansing. 


Rather than reaching for baby shampoo, consider our all-natural formulas to fight ocular irritation, inflammation, and many of the symptoms of common eye conditions such as blepharitis. 

For more information, visit our resource center or read about common sources of eye irritation. Cliradex products are recognized as being safe, effective, and easy to use. Find out how Cliradex can help relieve your eye irritation symptoms today!

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