Dry Eyelids: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments and More

how to treat dry skin around eyes

Moisturize your skin using fragrance-free lotions or creams. Try not to touch your eyes and eyelids with your fingers. Apply cool compresses to your eyelids to soothe dry, irritated, and itchy skin. Keep your hands clean and apply warm compresses to the eye if you suspect blepharitis.

Contact dermatitis

Dry skin on eyelids may be the result of contact dermatitis. This condition occurs when your skin encounters an irritating substance. This can result in dry, red, irritated, and flaky skin.

Irritants that can cause contact dermatitis include:

  • hair products, including shampoo, conditioner, and styling products
  • face washes
  • moisturizers
  • makeup
  • sunscreen
  • eyelash curlers or tweezers
  • chlorine from a swimming pool
  • dust
  • Products that contain fragrances, metals (like nickel), and certain chemicals may cause contact dermatitis. You may even spread contact dermatitis to your eye unknowingly. This can occur when your hands touch your eyelid after they’ve come into contact with an irritating substance, or when you brush your face against a towel or pillowcase that has an irritant on it. Even polished fingernails or jewelry brushed against the eyelid may cause contact dermatitis.

    Contact dermatitis can appear at any time in your life. You may suddenly develop an allergy to a certain substance, even if you’ve never reacted to it before. Keep in mind that the products you use may change ingredients without your knowledge. Avoid any known triggers to keep dry, irritated skin on your eyelid at bay.

    Atopic dermatitis

    Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. The AAD notes that it can often affect the eyes in adults. It can develop on the eyelids and around the eyes, causing the skin to become itchy and swollen. The skin around the eyes may also become thickened and darker.

    Atopic dermatitis around the eyes may lead to eye conditions, such as conjunctivitis and keratitis, which is an inflamed cornea.

    If a person develops atopic dermatitis around the eyes, they should contact a doctor, especially if they are experiencing eye problems that last longer than a few days.

    Treatment for atopic dermatitis includes a skin care routine, such as applying moisturizer, and topical medications, such as corticosteroids and topical immunomodulators.

    Seborrhoeic dermatitis

    Seborrheic dermatitis of the eyelids tends to affect just the area around the margins of the eyelids.

    This type of eczema develops in places with a lot of oil-producing glands, or sebaceous glands.

    Other common sites include:

  • upper back
  • nose
  • scalp
  • The National Eczema Society recommends washing the area every day with a gentle cleanser. In addition, a person should:

  • moisturize daily
  • manage stress levels
  • get plenty of sleep
  • Sometimes, doctors will recommend a specialized anti-fungal cream. In severe cases, they may suggest steroid or calcineurin inhibitor creams.

    Symptoms and Affected Areas

    The signs of dry skin around the eyes can be easily missed or simply discounted as symptoms of sensitive skin with no easy remedy. However, properly identifying dry eye skin as the root of your symptoms can help you treat it appropriately. The most common symptoms of dry skin around the eyes are:

  • Redness
  • Flaky skin
  • Itchiness
  • Soreness and burning
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • These dry skin symptoms can impact skin anywhere on the body, but will be most obvious under the eyes and on the eyelids, where skin is at its thinnest and most delicate.

    In this Article

    The delicate skin around your eyes can easily be irritated. There are many reasons for dry eyelids and lots of ways you can treat it.

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