Don’t put lip balm on your eyelid, even if you saw it on TikTok.
It’s bad for your eyes, according to a Michigan Medicine expert.
The trend first began back in the 2010s, but has seen a resurgence in 2023.
Called “beezin’,” because the trend is to use Burt’s Bees lip balm in particular, some believe it gets them high, heightens the sensation of being drunk or high, or increases feelings of alertness.
It doesn’t, said Dr. Olivia Killeen, a clinical lecturer in the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Michigan Medicine, in Ann Arbor.
“The peppermint oil or menthol in the balm can cause a tingling sensation, but it is not actually getting people high or causing the same type of chemical reaction in the body that’s produced by drugs or alcohol,” Killeen said in a Michigan Medicine news release.
Rather, it can irritate the eyelids, causing redness, swelling and inflammation.
If it ends up getting into the eyes, it can cause tearing, redness and painful burns to the surface of the eyes. It may even scar the eyes in severe cases or cause vision loss.
It may also increase the risk of infection, especially if the balm was also used on the lips, because it may introduce viruses or bacteria into the eye.
Among the potential infections are conjunctivitis, or “pink eye.” It may also lead to ulcers of the eye that can be difficult to treat and cause permanent vision loss, Killeen warned.
See an eye doctor immediately if you try this trend and notice any of these symptoms, she advised. Medications to treat possible issues include artificial tears, steroids, antibiotics and antihistamines.
Parents and teens can reach out to their primary care doctor or an eye doctor for confidential advice if they have safety questions about this or any other trend.
“Eyes and vision are precious, and both the eyeballs and the eyelids are very sensitive,” Killeen said. “Any trend like this is generally a bad idea. Products that are not designed for your eyes should not be used in or around your eyes.”
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on eye infections.
SOURCE: Michigan Medicine, news release, March 1, 2023
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