Using Vaseline underneath your eye can help with runny eyes, ophthalmologist Dr. Ilana Forchheimer says — just don't put it on your waterline
A new trend has emerged from the beauty side of TikTok, with influencers claiming that using Vaseline in the corners of your eyes can stop them from watering in cold weather and prevent smearing your makeup .
Creator Ayaatmishaal praised the “hack,” calling it “the BEST thing TikTok has ever taught me” in a video with 2.2 million likes. And creator Yazmooremakeup, who has more than 70,000 followers, joked “try not to poke yourself in the eye” as she applied Vaseline to the corners of her eye in a video with more than 230,000 views.
But while it might salvage your makeup, it could potentially harm your eyes — if you put it on your waterline or tear duct.
Putting it on the skin underneath your eyes, however, is “perfectly fine,” Dr. Ilana Forchheimer, an ophthalmologist with Northwell Eye Institute, tells PEOPLE.
“Vaseline is a very hydrophobic compound, meaning it does not mix well with water,” explains Dr. Forchheimer. “It actually creates a barrier and sort of catches the tears and probably does a little bit of diversion which limits the makeup run off.”
“[It’s] not dangerous as long as they're doing it in a hygienic way, not dipping their finger in the Vaseline. I would use a sterile Q-tip to dip and apply and then throw that away.”
However, “putting it on your waterline is going to goop up your vision and possibly cause irritation.”
She adds, “the idea that putting it on the waterline is going to decrease the amount of tears you make is a complete fallacy.”
When using Vaseline under the eye, she says you also want to use a product that’s not already contaminated with bacteria from previous use.
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“Someone dips [their hands] in, rubs it on their feet, puts their hands back in, and then you're going and putting that in your eye? [That] is a horrendously terrible idea,” Dr. Forchheimer tells PEOPLE. “But if you have a little sterile tube that you're putting on a cotton tip, and you're putting that little bit under your eye, there is absolutely no issue with that.”
And Vaseline isn’t the only way to manage runny eyes.
“This is worst season for dry eye. It’s cold, it's windy, the air is dry, and the heat is on,” she explains. “The things I encourage my patients to do is wear sunglasses, even a brimmed hat, just to limit the amount of air and whatnot that's hitting you in the face when you're outside”
“And when you're driving in the car, I tell my patients to make sure their vents are pointed away from them, because having that air blowing in your face can also make the tearing worse.”
And if you’re finding that your eyes are tearing all the time, she suggests making an appointment with an eye doctor.
“If you're having a lot of tears, figure out why,” she says, “rather than just trying to minimize the symptoms from it.”
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