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Will Visine Help Reduce Skin Redness?

Posted Jan 22 2013 1:01am

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BT says…I read on some other beauty website that a few drops of redness-reducing eyedrops can reduce redness and irritation from shaving. Any truth to this? 

The Beauty Brains respond:

Visine (TM) is one of those products that seems to attract some wacky rumors. At one point it was alleged that a a few drops of Visine in someone’s drink will induce diarrhea (not true) and it’s also rumored to get rid of skin spots (it won’t help with ages spots or other pigmented spots). But there does appear to be some basis for using it to temporarily reduce skin redness.

The active ingredient, tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, reduces eye redness by constricting the superficial blood vessels in the eye. It’s also used to help reduce nasal congestion. There are a couple of patents that indicate that tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride (and similar compounds) actually reduce redness from rosacea and skin erythema. (Although it appears that penetration enhancers maybe required for maximum efficacy.)  I couldn’t find any information on how long the effect lasts but when used in the eye the effect lasts for 4-8 hours.)  Keep in mind, however, that just because the US Patent and Trademark office has approved these patents does NOT mean that the FDA has cleared the drug for this use. There is a dark side to tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride…

There are a number of potential side effects and contraindications for this drug. Over exposure can cause vomiting, seizures, difficulty breathing, blurred vision and it can even induce coma. Some data suggest that the drug should not be used by pregnant or nursing mothers because of potential transmission to the fetus/infant. A drop or two in the eye once in a while is safe for most people. Slathering this stuff all over your face on a frequent basis is another thing altogether!

Given the potential side effects, I’d be very careful about using this product on skin. All drugs should only be used as directed. If you have prolonged skin redness you’re better off consulting with a dermatologist to identify and treat the underlying cause.


Method and therapeutic/cosmetic topical compositions for the treatment of rosacea and skin erythema ., Stuart D. Shanler et al.

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