It’s official: Tiktok’s home remedies have gone too far. While we swear by some DIY beauty solutions — like coconut oil, for example — the latest social media trend has us worried and frankly confused. Some TikTok users use jalapeños as a remedy for barley, which are painful, pimple-like eye infections caused by inflamed oil glands along the eyelid. In a recent video, one user recommends rubbing a jalapeño along your eye to heal those pesky infections, saying the technique “works like a charm.” Needless to say, we needed input from the experts.
Meet the experts:
Can Jalapeños Actually Cure Styes?
Unsurprisingly, board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Twenty/Twenty Beauty, Diane Hilal-Campo, MD, says it’s a big no-no. “Anyone who has accidentally touched their eyes after cooking with pepperoni knows it’s a bad idea to have a jalapeño near the eye,” she explains. Finally, the compound that makes jalapeños hot — capsaicin — is the active ingredient in pepper spray, which clearly doesn’t feel good when it comes in contact with your eyes.
Hamza Bhatti, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, agrees, “This agent can lead to further irritation, possible infection, redness of the eyelid skin, or even eye damage such as corneal damage. This could worsen the condition and require the use of antibiotics.” And while the jalapeños used in the videos appear whole and uncut, these potential side effects are certainly not worth the risk.
While avoiding this beauty hack might seem like common sense, quite a few TikTokers swear by similar natural remedies when it comes to treating styes. One woman claims rubbing garlic on an inflamed eyelid helps minimize swelling, while another says apple cider vinegar is her top choice to speed healing of styes. But even these treatments are not approved by experts.