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Oct 12, 2020
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When onion tears cover your face

You can easily reduce the tear effect, or even get rid of the "onion cry" with a few life hacks.

Why do we cry when slicing onions?

Of course, not because we bitterly regret his fate. It's all about the chemical properties of this vegetable: the bulbs grow underground, and so that they are not gnawed by field mice, it has a special protective mechanism. If the onion peel is damaged, the lacrimator substance (Latin lacrima - tear) is released. When it comes into contact with the liquid that coats the eyeballs, this substance turns into sulfuric acid, immediately causing tears, which wash away the irritant. In a word, the onion protects itself from us, and our body - from it. Since the tearing effect is caused by a chemical reaction, other unpleasant symptoms may appear:

  • short-term runny nose;
  • itching, tingling;
  • hives.

The most popular culinary varieties of onions contain the largest amount of sulfur-containing compounds: yellow, white and red. Sweet varieties such as green onions, leeks and shallots are much less tear-resistant. Genetic scientists have created a special kind of onion that does not make us cry, but so far this wonderful vegetable is not available in Russia.

How to stop crying?

If you use the most teary onion varieties, then most likely, unpleasant symptoms will not be completely avoided. However, you can minimize this effect by following a few simple rules:

  • Choose only fresh onions. The longer it is stored, the more intense its “combustible” effect;
  • Try not to cut the onion near the root, it is there that the greatest concentration of sulfur compounds accumulates;
  • Use a well-sharpened knife. The sharper it is, the less it damages the onion, which reduces the amount of emitted irritants;
  • You can reduce the lacrimator content of the onion itself with water. Before slicing, simply place the onions in a bowl of ice water for half an hour;
  • Turning on a cooker hood or ventilation and wearing glasses will help protect your eyes from the tear agent.

There is also a popular recipe: while cutting onions, keep a piece of white bread in your mouth, which supposedly absorbs sulfur compounds. There is no scientific evidence for this effect, but why not try it? It's at least safe.

Getting rid of onion tears

Onions are very irritating to the eyes and cause unpleasant symptoms, but they go away rather quickly, and most importantly, they are completely safe for your eyes and vision. Even if you burst into bitter tears, it won't be long. However, it happens that you need to get rid of this side effect as soon as possible - for example, you are expecting guests from minute to minute. Or you just feel uncomfortable.

  • Rinse your eyes thoroughly with cool water, preferably running;
  • Put a cold compress on your eyes, cucumber slices will also do;
  • Drip your eyes with a "natural tear"
  • To relieve burning and itching, apply cotton pads soaked in aloe vera gel or castor oil eye drops to your eyes.

If slicing the onions becomes a real challenge for you, you can use the sliced ​​onions, which are sold fresh or frozen in stores, or dried as a seasoning.


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