By Dr Sanjay Dhawan
Kajal and surma are traditional Indian ingredients to makeup those beautiful eyes. Originally “kajal” did not start as a makeup but as a home remedy medication. Zinc, copper sulphate and many medicinal herbs were important ingredients which had definite action on eye infections. In olden days, trachoma, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcer and other blinding infections were very common in Noth India and this part of Asia. Medical aid and medicines were not easily available or were out of reach of most. In that scenario kajal had relevance and played the role of protecting the eyes as our great grandnmothers propogated.
The constituents of kajal were selected emperically or on hearsay. The methods of preparing kajal were crude and there was no way to define the concentration of each consituent & its actual effect on the eye. This remains the case till date. Today with the availability of good drugs in precise concentration and well researched effects on the eyes and the disease that they are meant for, “kajal” looses it’s relevance and role. However, kajal continues to be used widely by females as a beauty enhancer.
Kajal can have adverse effects on the eyes. Some of them are listed below:
- Conjunctivitis – chemical, toxic and infective
- Toxicity / Chemical Reaction
- Stye & Hordeolum – infections of the glands of the eye lids
- Corneal ulcer – which can potentially lead to blindness
- Uveitis – certain chemicals in kajal can incite inflammation inside the eye
- Glaucoma – some constituents can increase eye pressure leading to glaucoma
- Dry Eye – regular use of kajal can be assiciated with scarring of tear / lacrimal glands causing dry eye syndrome
- Conjunctival discoloration
It advisable to altogether avoid use of kajal / surma or any makeup that goes inside the eye. The makeup that remains outside e.g. eye-liner, eye-shadow, mascara, etc. are alright to be used but should be meticulously removed at the end of the day. During the period of any eye infection, injury, surgery, etc, no eye makeup should be used. Eyes are precious and very beautiful even without any makeup, we should take good care of them.
(Disclaimer: Dr Sanjay Dhawan is Senior Director & Head – Ophthalmology, Max Healthcare. The views expressed in the article are those of the author, Zee News does not endorse it.)