Vaseline, a brand-name form of petroleum jelly, can moisturize dry skin all over the body, including the eyelids.
Petroleum jelly is a thick jelly that creates a moisture barrier, helping to trap moisture in the skin and protect the skin from the elements. Unless a person has an allergy or finds petroleum jelly uncomfortable, it is safe to use Vaseline on the eyelids.
Keep reading to learn more about the safety and effectiveness of using Vaseline on the eyelids.
Vaseline can help with a number of dry eyelid conditions. People who notice that their skin is dry or irritated during the dry, cold winter months can use it to prevent moisture loss from the eyelids. Some people also use it as a moisturizer to reduce the risk of wrinkles, or as a supplement to traditional eye creams.
Some doctors also recommend Vaseline for specific dry eye conditions. It may help with blepharitis, which causes dry and irritated eyelids, as well as dysfunction in the meibomian glands that lubricate the eyes.
Petroleum jelly from Vaseline can also help keep wounds moist. This may help prevent scarring. The skin on the eyelids is very thin and has a higher risk of scarring with exposure to the sun.
Petroleum jelly is not really a moisturizer, like some lotions or serums. Instead, it creates a moisture barrier. This means that it prevents moisture from leaving the eyelids and can make it more difficult for moisture to get through. For this reason, it works best when a person applies it after other moisturizing products.
Learn more about the potential uses of petroleum jelly here.
Petroleum jelly is safe when a person uses it properly, but like all skin treatments, it presents some risks.
Unrefined petroleum jelly is the precursor to petroleum jelly. The petroleum jelly in Vaseline is refined. The unrefined form may contain carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. A person who purchases generic products should ensure the products come from a trustworthy manufacturer.
It is not safe to inhale petroleum jelly, including Vaseline. A person should avoid putting it in their nose or rubbing the nose after applying petroleum jelly. While inhaling small quantities of Vaseline is likely harmless, prolonged inhalation or exposure can cause a rare type of pneumonia called
Putting Vaseline into the eye can cause temporary blurred vision. Vaseline is a moisture barrier, and it may prevent certain creams and treatments from penetrating the eyelid or the eye. People using other moisturizers or prescription drops should apply those first, before using Vaseline.
There is no evidence that the refined petroleum jelly in Vaseline causes cancer. The risk of allergies is low, and researchers have not found that Vaseline can cause reproductive harm or other serious health issues.
Doctors often use Vaseline in medical settings, including for procedures on the eyes. A 2014 study even recommends it for use on newborns, to reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis.
People with severely dry eyelids or cracked skin should speak with a doctor before trying Vaseline. However, for those without allergies or serious dry skin conditions, Vaseline is generally safe.
To use Vaseline, try the following:
- Apply eye drops or artificial tears, if applicable.
- Apply eye moisturizers or serums.
- Apply sunscreen.
- Apply Vaseline to the eyelids. Use a thin coat, and avoid rubbing Vaseline next to the tear ducts or along the lash line, as this can cause it to get into the eyes.
- Wash hands after applying Vaseline, to reduce the risk of getting it into the mouth or nose.
A person with very sensitive skin should consider patch-testing first. Apply Vaseline to a corner of the eyelid, then wait 24–48 hours to see if there is a reaction. If there is no skin reaction, it is safe to use.
Some people find that Vaseline works best right before bed. This is because the thick consistency can interfere with makeup, or smear. Applying before bed gives it time to absorb and reduces the risk that it will interfere with the absorption of other eye care products.
Certain dry eye and dry eyelid conditions may need medical treatment. For example, a doctor may recommend medication, anti-dandruff shampoo, or warm compresses for blepharitis.
Some alternatives for dry eyelids include:
- protecting the eyes from the sun with sunglasses and sunscreen
- using eyelid moisturizers or serums
- using artificial tears if the eyes themselves feel dry
A person should contact a doctor if Vaseline or other home treatments do not improve the skin within a few weeks, or if the skin is very flushed or painful.
People who notice that their eyelids look dry or irritated after using Vaseline or any other moisturizer may have an allergy or sensitivity. They should stop using the product and contact a doctor.
Vaseline is a safe moisture barrier that can help with many minor dry skin conditions, including the eyelids.
People using Vaseline on their eyelids must be careful not to let any enter the eye.
A person should avoid using it if they have a history of allergic reactions to petroleum jelly or Vaseline.
Contact a doctor if dry skin conditions get worse.