Kohl - The traditional eyeliner: Use and analysis

A. Al-Kaff, A. Al-Rajhi, K. Tabbara, A. El-Yazigi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Kohl is a traditional powder-like mixture used as an eyeliner and to treat eye disease in many Middle and Far East countries. We studied kohl use among 360 individuals selected at random in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Kohl was used by 13% of males and 26% of females, especially the elderly and illiterate. Forty percent of females with children applied kohl to the eyes of their children during the first postnatal month. Analysis of five commercially available traditional kohl samples showed that some preparations have a high pH and a high lead concentration (88%), indicating that most preparations are lead-based rather than antimony-based. It is interesting to find that some kohl preparations have a weak antimicrobial effect against Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Proteus species. The use of lead-based kohl is still a common and serious practice and should be discouraged, especially in children. The role of traditional kohl use in the pathogenesis of common ocular external diseases prevalent in Middle and Far East countries merits investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Saudi Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Kohl - The traditional eyeliner: Use and analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this