Monday, December 08, 2014

Is Kajal / Kohl/ Surma application in eyes harmful for babies in India?

No. It's recommended that your baby's eyes be kept free of kajalsurma or kohl.  Using kajal can lead to watery eyes, itchiness, and even allergies. When kajal is washed off during a bath, it can pass down the small and narrow opening between the eyes and the nose. This opening can get blocked, causing infections
Most commercially produced kajal and surma brands contain high levels of lead that is harmful for your baby. The ingredients or packaging could also be contaminated if safety and hygiene norms haven't been followed. Even if some brands claim they are lead-free or 100 per cent natural it's difficult to be sure and they may be just as unsafe. 
Prolonged application may result in excessive lead storage in the body. This could affect your baby's brain, organs and bone marrow formation. Some experts think that lead poisoning can also result in anaemia, low IQ and convulsions. 
Also, the cornea or the central, black part of the eye, is very sensitive to dirt and irritation. Dirty fingers, sharp and uneven fingernails can hurt a baby’s eyes. Prolonged or repeated exposure to lead may cause pain and discomfort, and in severe cases, can also affect your baby's vision
Applying kajal to a newborn's eyes is an age old tradition practised in many parts of the country. Well-meaning relatives and friends may advise you to apply surma or kajal to your newborn's eyes to ward off the evil eye or buri nazar. According to an old wives' tale, applying kajal or surma will help your baby's eyes become bright, large and attractive. But there is no evidence to suggest this is true. If you wish to apply kajal or surma on your baby, why don't you try applying it somewhere other than the eye? Some mums put a small tika on the sole of the foot, behind one of the ears or at the hairline on the forehead. These are safer options.

The traditional home recipe for kajal is discussed below...

How to Make Kajal at Home?

The easiest way of preparing home-made kajal is as follows:

  • Take a clean, white, thin muslin cloth of 4x4 size and soak it in sandalwood paste and dry it in shade; this sip-and-dry process must be done throughout the daytime.
  • In the evening, roll the cloth into a thin wick and lit a mud lamp with this filled with castor oil.
  • Keep a brass plate smeared with garlic juice over the lamp leaving a little gap enough for the oxygen to aid the burning of the lamp overnight.
  • Next morning, scrape off the carbon powder that is deposited on the brass plate into a clean dry box and mix it with few drops of pure ghee or castor oil and store it.
This can be used on daily basis as the ingredients you use for this preparation have medicinal values. You can even enjoy keeping the old beliefs intact using this home-made kajal cutting out the risks of the harmful effects of kajal for eyes. Though home-med Kajal is deemed to be safe, it is not good to play with your baby’s eyes. It is advisable to keep your baby’s eyes free from kajal or any other substance which can prove harmful for baby’s eyes.

There are some studies that suggest that most problems suggested due to kajal are theoretical in nature, rather than seen in practice, however the general consensus is to avoid putting ANYTHING in the sensitive eyes of a baby.
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