Washing Eyes With Baby Shampoo | Is Baby Shampoo Safe for Blepharitis?
By Eye Doctors Jenna and Travis Zigler
How To Clean Eyelids With Baby Shampoo | Baby Shampoo for Blepharitis
The short answer to how to clean your eyelids with baby shampoo is...
Don't Do It!
For years, eye doctors told their blepharitis and dry eye patients to clean their eyelids with baby shampoo. It seemed like a simple solution - no tears, right? But actually, using baby shampoo as a cleanser can be harmful for those with these conditions.
Baby shampoo contains multiple synthetic ingredients and detergents that throw off the pH balance of your eyelids, and many of the ingredients can actually lead to eye allergies (including Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Phenoxyethanol, and fragrance). It's difficult to even pronounce most of the ingredients! These harsh chemicals can irritate your eyes, which is the exact opposite of the outcome you're looking for.
What is Blepharitis | Blepharitis Definition & Blepharitis Causes
Blepharitis is simply an inflammation of the eyelids, and it often begins as anterior blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis is what we know as those "crusties" that form along your eyelash margin and eyelashes. This crust is made up of dead skin cells and bacteria, and can cause eye irritation and redness if left untreated.
Forgetting to properly clean your eyelids daily can cause bacteria to build up on your eyelids and around your eyes. This contributes to anterior blepharitis and may also exacerbate posterior blepharitis, or meibomian gland dysfunction. Other things that can worsen blepharitis are Demodex eyelash mites. These little parasites live in our eyelash follicles and feed on the oils and bacteria there...yet another reason to keep those eyelids and eyelashes squeaky clean!
Eyelash Dandruff, Crusty Eyelids, And Other Blepharitis Symptoms
So, what symptoms should you be on the lookout for if you suspect you have blepharitis? First of all, we already mentioned the eyelash dandruff that you'll often notice on your eyelashes (often most noticeable in the morning). These flakes, or "scurf", are made of bacteria and dead skin cells and are the hallmark sign of blepharitis. Those with this condition may also notice scratchy, irritated, and even painful eyes due to the blepharitis contributing to dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction, and styes.
Redness of the eyes is also a very common symptom of blepharitis, and the redness occurs due to inflammation of the eyes. Crusty eyelashes may come into contact with the eyeball, or there may be bacteria shedding into the eyes, and this is what causes the redness many people notice. One other symptom we often hear is itchiness. Although we normally think of itchy eyes stemming from allergies, it is very common for those with blepharitis to experience itching due to the flakes gumming up their eyelashes and causing irritation.
What Do I Clean My Eyelids With Instead?
With all of the bacteria that naturally live on our eyelids and skin, it is so important that those who suffer from blepharitis keep their eyelids clean. Eyelid cleansing should be done twice per day, similar to when you brush your teeth.
Thankfully, there are much more effective ways of cleaning than using harsh baby shampoo, and a hypochlorous-based cleanser is a wonderful option. Hypochlorous acid is made naturally in your body by neutrophils, and its function is to fight bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause immune responses and other issues within the body.
When used outside the body, a hypochlorous cleanser effectively cleanses the skin and mucous membranes, making it a great option for use around the eyes. This particular spray is effective yet super gentle, and it requires no scrubbing. If you want to keep it super simple, you can simply spray it on your closed eyelids and go (no need to use a cotton ball or round if you don't have one around!) There's no need to even rinse it off.
The Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser contains just 3 ingredients:
Hypochlorous Acid, Electrolyzed Water, and Sodium Chloride.
Now that you've learned all about how to cleanse your eyelids properly, let's quickly cover a topic we get asked about all the time. What are you supposed to do when you get shampoo in your eye? If you've been using baby shampoo on your eyelids, this won't burn your eyes because it is gentle enough for those little humans in your life. However, if you're in the shower and some of your everyday shampoo in your hair runs down into your eyes, you'll need to take quick action.
First, make sure to run water over your eyelids (and you might even want to open your eyes slightly to really rinse your eyes out). You'll want to continue rinsing your eyes for 2-3 minutes so that no more soap is left in your eyes. Once you've done that, your eyes are going to feel irritated and dry because of the shampoo and the dousing of water, but this is normal and will subside. Use a hypochlorous acid cleanser to ensure that your eyelids are clean and free of shampoo, and then consider using some preservative free artificial tears in the hours following.
Do you use baby shampoo to clean your eyelids? What has been your experience? Comment below and let us know!