Stop using baby shampoo for Dry Eyes!
While baby shampoos are primarily designed to cleanse hair, they are not intended for the delicate cleansing of eyelids and eyelashes and can potentially harm your eyes.
So, here's the deal: Baby shampoo is often seen as gentler on the eyes than regular adult shampoo. But here's the catch – there's a bit of worry. You see, in their efforts to provide patients with a cheap and gentle cleaning option, some Optometrists might unknowingly recommend something that's not as effective and could even cause problems.
Now, let's rewind a bit. For quite a while, the go-to strategy for tackling blepharitis was using watered-down baby shampoo. And let's give credit where it's due – it did a decent job at cleaning those eyelids. It was like a backup plan when you didn't have the fancy stuff on hand.
But hey, guess what? We're in 2023 now, and the whole science of tear film and ocular surfaces? Yep, it's made some big leaps forward. Even the eye care industry has shaken things up.
Now, here's the kicker – while all this cool stuff has been happening, quite a bunch of optometrists and eye docs haven't really caught up with these fancy new findings.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB)
Johnson’s baby shampoo and other similar products continue to contain ingredients like cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB)
- CAPB is an amphoteric synthetic detergent used in a variety of hygiene products, including some contact lens cleaners.
- Increasing rate of allergic reaction to CAPB, including delayed T-cell mediated type IV hypersensitivity reactions, have been noted.
- In 2004, CAPB had the dubious of honor of being named “Allergen of the Year” by The American Contact Dermatitis Society.
PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate
While typical commercial shampoos often contain harsh parabens and sulfates like sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate, baby shampoos typically utilize milder ingredients such as PEG-80 sorbitan laurate.
Although PEG-80 sorbitan laurate is generally considered safe and non-toxic, it does not guarantee hypoallergenic properties. In fact, several synthetic ingredients found in baby shampoo, including PEG-80 sorbitan laurate, phenoxyethanol, cocamidopropyl betaine, and added fragrances, can potentially trigger allergies and disrupt the pH balance around the eyes.
Furthermore, it is important to note that not all ingredients in baby shampoo are suitable for direct eye contact. Since shampoos are primarily formulated as detergents for hair cleansing, they are not specifically designed to cleanse eyelids and can still cause harm to the eyes.
What do the experts say about Baby Shampoo?
Regarded as the definitive guide to dry eye care, TFOS DEWS II emerged from a collaborative effort spanning nearly three years, involving 150 leading experts worldwide. This extensive initiative culminated in a series of comprehensive reports published in 2017.
Within the context of the Management and Therapy subreport (section 3.1.1), TFOS DEWS II provides valuable perspectives on the use of baby shampoo.
"Appropriate lid hygiene is important in the management of a variety of lid conditions that result in dry eye (particularly blepharitis) and, if used appropriately, can reduce lipid by-products and lipolytic bacteria associated with these conditions [379–385]. Lid scrubs using a mild dilution of baby shampoo applied with a swab or cotton bud have been the most widely accepted therapy [382,386,387]. A recent Level 1 study demonstrated the efficacy of lid scrubs for removal of crusting in anterior blepharitis, with both a commercial lid cleanser and dilute baby shampoo . However, relative to the baby shampoo, the dedicated lid cleanser showed reduced ocular surface MMP-9 levels, improved lipid layer quality and was better tolerated. Baby shampoo was further reported to be associated with a reduction in ocular surface MUC5AC levels, suggesting that baby shampoo may have an adverse effect on goblet cell function . In preference to using baby shampoo, there are now a wide variety of proprietary lid cleansing products available, which utilise a diversity of delivery mechanisms, including scrubs, foams, solutions, and wipes; their individual description is outside the scope of this review."
Subsequent developments have shed further light on this matter. For instance, a study published in 2018 in The Ocular Surface brings to attention that baby shampoo not only falls short in terms of effectiveness but also raises concerns about potential harm:
"...Improvements in the tear lipid layer, inferior lid wiper epitheliopathy (LWE), cylindrical collarettes, and MMP-9 expression were limited to the dedicated eyelid cleanser....
...Meibomian gland capping and MUC5AC expression worsened with baby shampoo treatment...
CONCLUSIONS: Clinical improvements in blepharitis occurred with both treatments. However, only the dedicated eyelid cleanser proved effective in reducing ocular surface inflammation, and was the preferred therapy. Long term impact of decreased goblet cell function secondary to baby shampoo treatment requires further exploration."
Take care of your Eyelids and Eyelashes properly!
This is not a sales pitch. You do not need to buy something at Aelo. But if you've got blepharitis or your eye doc's on your case about lid hygiene, here's the deal: go for a product that's actually meant for the job. Your hair's BFF might not be your peepers' best bud, so play it safe and give those eyes something designed with them in mind.
Read more on why you should clean your eyes on a daily basis at our 'Why Eye Hygiene Matters" blog post here.
But of course, Aelo has you covered if you're looking for the perfect eyelid cleanser. Eyelid hygiene is an excellent way to start taking care of your eyes, and preserving your eyesight. Use our eyelid cleanser for dry eyes or part of your daily practice eye care!