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Is It Safe to Apply Kajal on Babies? - Bodywise

3 min read
Is It Safe to Apply Kajal on Babies? - Bodywise

What is Kajal?

Kajal or Kohl or Surma is an ancient eye cosmetic, a jet-black product applied over the eyes. One collects soot or black ash (burnt residue of ghee or oil) and mixes in edible oil for a shiny finish.

Using kajal on babies is an ancient Indian cultural practice, which parents commonly believe wards off the evil eye on newborns. Moreover, people also claim that it improves a baby's eyesight, though there is no scientific evidence to support this.

Why Do We Put Kajal on Babies?

There are a few reasons for applying kajal for babies:

  • Tradition: Kajal is said to ward off the evil eye as per Indian tradition. This is a common belief, especially among elders.
  • Beauty: When applying kajal on babies, their eyes are attractive and more beautiful. People believe that it gives a bigger and beautiful look to a baby's eyes.
  • Protection: Kajal is also believed to protect the delicate and sensitive eyes of babies from the intense sun rays. Kajal made organically at home also protects against several eye infections.

Also Read: Best Oils for Baby Massage & Top Benefits of Massaging a Baby

Where Is Kajal Applied?

Generally, we apply kajal on babies on the upper and lower eyelids. Many modern parents want to retain the age-old tradition and avoid applying it over the eyes. They, instead, put a ‘dot mark’ with kajal on the baby's cheek, forehead, hairline, or foot sole.

If you are not sure how to apply kajal on babies, seek an elder's help.

How Safe Is It to Use Kajal?

Kajal is safe to use when we make it using organic products. In other words, when you purchase it from the market, it can be a bit unsafe due to the presence of toxic ingredients.

When it comes to commercially available kajal, according to the Food and Drug Administration reports, more than 50 percent of the kajal products contain lead sulfide, which is very poisonous.

Lead is toxic and may damage bone marrow, kidneys, and other organs. If the lead content in the blood is too high, the risk assessments include coma or convulsions and death in several cases. If it remains in the baby's body for a prolonged period, it may affect their organs, causing anemia and affecting their brain.

Thus, it is safe to use kajal if you take proper care and use organic products free from toxic chemicals.

Should You Be Applying Kajal to Your Baby’s Eyes?

Many families follow tradition and apply kajal on babies as a cultural practice. However, doctors recommend not to apply kajal on very young children.

Store-bought kajal can be toxic and cause infections. Hence, use natural and homemade kajal. Many parents have switched to badam kajal or homemade kajal for their newborns, which is better. It is advised to properly wash the hands before applying kajal to avoid transmission of infections.

How to Make Kajal at Home?

Follow these simple steps to make kajal at home:

  • Add almond oil or castor oil and light a diya.
  • Set a diya between the two inverted bowls and put a flat plate over the flame.
  • Make sure the plate touches the inverted flame.
  • Leave it for half an hour and scrape off the black soot collected on the plate with a knife.
  • Add a few drops of homemade ghee to the soot and store the mixture in a cool place.

Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About Test Tube Baby Process

Possible Risks and Side Effects of Applying Kajal on Babies

  • Many times, mothers may apply kajal on babies without washing their hands properly. This may result in irritation of the eyes.
  • Some ingredients, especially in commercial kajal, contain chemicals like lead in the form of lead sulfide. They may cause irritation and even allergic reactions.
  • Many babies are allergic to kajal, and the application may lead to watery eyes, causing irritation and itchiness.
  • In many cases, kajal may mix with the baby's tears and affect the movement of their eyelids.

Other Kajal Alternatives

Homemade kajal is the best alternative, especially if you want to put kajal on babies. Other options include almond-based kajal, which is completely safe to use. Various companies offer organic or herbal kajal made from natural ingredients.

These are safe to use, but one should apply them to the outer eyelids of newborns to be completely safe. Ghee-based kajal, made from the black soot of castor oil or almond oil, is also a better option.

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