Q&A | Don't put Vaseline in your eyes: facts about TikTok's latest beauty trend

Can Vaseline really help quell watery eyes?

Watery eyes see TikTok users combating the phenomenon with Vaseline. Stock photo.
Watery eyes see TikTok users combating the phenomenon with Vaseline. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/imagehitasia

Whether it's from chilly weather or a little irritation, watery eyes can be an unnoticed malady or a bothersome nuisance that can become a cause for concern.

TikTok user Ayaat Mishaal suggested that applying Vaseline on the corners of your eyes with a cotton bud could prevent your eyes from becoming watery during cold weather conditions, sparking a trend.

''Putting Vaseline in the corners of my eyes before leaving the house to stop my eyes from watering is the best thing TikTok has ever taught me,” Mishaal said in her nine-second TikTok video that has now gained more than 22.1-million views, 2.4-million likes and 13,600 comments on the platform.

While posts that have followed Mishaal suggest it works, experts warn that the trend poses some danger. Experts from Supplement Doctor said while it may help in the short term and hold makeup intact, it can have dangerous effects in the long run.

Why do eyes water in cold weather?  

Watery eyes are commonly caused by windy days and cold, dry air that can dehydrate your eyes. As your eyes are exposed to these weather conditions, it can result in the eyes losing moisture, causing dryness and irritation.

In an effort to combat this dryness, your tear glands go into overdrive, producing an excess of tears as a protective response.  

What are the potential risks?

It's essential to be cautious when applying any substance near your eyes. Make sure to only use a minimal amount of Vaseline and avoid getting it directly into your eyes. If you experience any irritation or discomfort, it's best to wash your eyes with water and discontinue use.

Can those with milia or styes benefit from using Vaseline on their eyes when they get watery?

This technique is not recommended if you have specific eye conditions or concerns, as it's always a good idea to consult with an eye care professional for individual advice. This technique is definitely not advised to those who are prone to milia or styes.

Milia are small white spots found around the eyes, often also referred to as “milk spots”, that often clear up on their own. As the skin surrounding the eyes is notably thin, the application of an occlusive agent like Vaseline in this area may elevate the likelihood of developing milia if used too frequently. So while this new trend can be considered a quick fix, it’s not an ideal long-term solution for those who suffer with watery eyes. 

What three alternatives can people use if their watery eyes bother them?

  • Wear protective eyewear like sunglasses;
  • Try eye drops to add extra moisture to your eyes; and
  • Stay hydrated, as hydration helps maintain the moisture balance in your eyes.



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