Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Akruti Khandkar (Journalist) on 11th Jan 2021

What causes dry skin around the eyes?  

What causes dry skin around the eyes?

Dry skin around your eyelids can make your eyelids flaky, rough, and scabrous. There are many causes of dry skin around the eyelids, leading to symptoms, including redness, irritation, and itchiness.

Due to the absence of fat, the skin around your eyelids is very sensitive compared to other parts of the body. Hence, irritation, redness, or skin conditions might be bound to influence your eyelid more than other parts of your body.  

Do you know:

The eyelid and the areas surrounding it should be well taken care of because much blood flows through the vessels around the eye. 

What are dry eyelids?  

Dry eyelids are the flaky, irritated skin around your eyes, which generally appears due to the disruption of the skin's barrier. Dry skin is an indication of dehydrated skin, and lack of moisture leads to skin aggravation. Like all dry skin, most cases are effectively distinguished when there is a difference in skin texture.  

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What can be the cause & treatment of dry skin around the eyes?

There are various reasons for dry eyelids.

Some common ones include:  

  • change in climate
  • lack of moisture
  • the exploitation of hot water  
  • aging  
  • improper makeup practices  
  • exposure to irritants and Allergens
  • harsh skincare items 

Apart from these trivial causes, some cause dry skin around your eyes and require immediate clinical treatment. These conditions differ in visuality and seriousness.

Some of them include:

Contact dermatitis.

The skin around your eyelids can get dry, red, and irritated when something triggers a response. It can be caused due to any product that irritates your skin or creates an allergic reaction.

Some everyday aggravators include:  

  • Cosmetics  
  • Face Wash/ soap
  • Sunscreen 
  • Moisturizer
  • Chlorine in water
  • Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, or any styling products) 
  • Skincare products  
  • Germs and bacteria   

Note:

products that contain fragrances or any other chemical can irritate your skin and can be a cause of contact dermatitis.  

The irritants can unintentionally spread to your eyes when you rub your eyes, or your eyes come in contact with a pillowcase or a towel. The irritants can be your nail polish or any product with alcohol in it. Remember, eyes are usually dry in the winter season, but you can also feel dryness in humid and hot weather.  

Treatment for contact dermatitis  

  •  Isolate the reason for the contact dermatitis and keep away from contact with it  
  • Avoid scratching the itching area as it can worsen the zone 
  • Emollients moisturize the skin; it is advised to apply directly to the skin.  
  • If your skin is extremely inflamed, red, and aroused, your doctor may suggest a topical corticosteroid (cream applied straightforwardly to your skin) that can rapidly decrease the irritation.  
  • The doctor may recommend prednisone (a type of steroid to relieve rash) 

Note:

As per AAD, contact dermatitis is very common and can happen in any circumstance, even with enough exposure to water or the sun. If you work in water frequently, there is a chance that you might get an itchy rash.   

Atopic dermatitis.  

Commonly known as eczema, this is an enduring condition that gives you irritated, red skin. However, it is very common in kids but can happen at any age.

There is a possibility that atopic dermatitis can appear like clinical dermatitis. You might experience crusty skin all over your body, particularly on your eyelids, just as your hands, feet, and upper chest.

Eczema, for the most part, occurs in episodes. Skin recuperates itself back and forth.  

Treatment of Atopic dermatitis 

  • Daily use of moisturizers could prevent dryness of the skin. 
  • Make use of topical corticosteroids to reduce swelling and redness (doctor's recommendation only). 
  • In case of severe itching, use Antihistamines.  
  • Antibiotics can work if you have a bacterial reaction. Doctors may recommend taking an oral antibiotic to treat an infection. 

According to AAD, the use of medication can benefit your skin's ability to fight germs and bacteria that can irritate your skin. These treatments will help your skin to hold the moisture and to prevent further cracks and fissures.

Blepharitis 

Generally, with this condition, the eyelids burn. The burn is due to the bacteria or health conditions like rosacea. The tiny oil glands situated at the base of your eyelashes get clogged. This can lead to irritation, redness, disturbance, and dryness. Your eyes can be watery and red. The reason behind blepharitis isn't clear. However, it has connections to a few conditions, including:  

  • Rosacea  
  • Allergies
  • Infections 
  • Dryness 

Treatment of Blepharitis: 

  • Remember to clean your eyelids if you have blepharitis 
  • A warm compress can help you with itchiness and can mellow down the redness.
    (Soak a cotton cloth or eye mask in cooled boiled water and place it over your eyes for ten minutes.) 
  • Massage your eyes gently by moving your little finger gently in a circular motion. 
  • Doctors may prescribe you a course of antibiotics, including eye drops, creams, and ointment.  
  • Topical cyclosporine shows some recuperating effects on the symptoms of blepharitis  
  • Eyelid hygiene is very important. Cleanse the lid to remove the crust  

Facial Psoriasis  

Psoriasis can make your eyelids look scaly, and the undereye territory gets dry and flaky. Concern your dermatologist for any specific conditions. They can evaluate your situation and propose an appropriate cure. For a wide range of eyelid dermatitis, individuals should keep the eye region clean and abstain from contacting it or scratching. This assists with forestalling further irritation or contamination. In rare cases, psoriasis can lead to extreme discomfort, inflammation, and vision loss.

It is conceivable that it is useful to recognize and stay away from contact allergens that can cause a burn. These can include:  

  • certain cosmetics brands  
  • sunscreens  
  • perfumes  
  • swimming goggles  
  • eye drops  
  • false eyelashes  
  • lens solution 
  • airborne allergens  

Treatment of psoriasis

  • Moisturizing creams can alleviate dryness and tingling. A broad scope of creams is accessible with and without a solution. They are best for treating mellow dermatitis.  
  • Calcineurin inhibitors are utilized to treat inflammatory problems, including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. It very well may be applied as a cream or taken orally. Use it with caution as it may affect immune function.
  • Use corticosteroids directly to the eyelids to treat irritation and diminish dryness. Corticosteroids are accessible to buy in drug stores and online but consult your doctor before using them.
  • Doctors can recommend systematic oral and injectable medications like oral retinoids (acitretin), oral steroids, and methotrexate. 
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Note:

Please make sure to complete your full course of medication even when your rash fades away. Sometimes in certain medications, it's important to use it for a full term; for example, in prednisone, if stopped in between can make your rash reappear, commonly known as rebound rash.  

Prevention of dry skin around the eyes 

1. Moisturize  

By this time, you eventually know the importance of a moisturizer. Regardless of any skin type, use moisturizer religiously. Invest in a good eye cream as it can prevent your skin from aging.

2. Sufficient Sleep  

Enough sleep is crucial for your eyes and the proper functioning of your body. The absence of rest prompts exhausted eyes and dry skin around your eyes. Get at least 6 hrs of rest each night. This will permit your body to fix the harmed and dry skin around your eyes. 

3. Sunscreen  

UVA & UVB rays can harm your skin and lead to hyperpigmentation, dryness, fine lines, and wrinkles. These harmful rays breakdown the collagen and elastin in your skin. Secure your skin with sunscreen to prevent these horrid outcomes. Try not to avoid the upper eyelids.

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4. Dietary changes 

Allergens in food items can trigger eyelid dermatitis. It can further lead to the chances of atopic dermatitis. Consult your doctor if you have allergies as they can make proper changes in your diet plan. 

5. Limited use of soap 

Soap can have a lot of ingredients that can trigger your sensitive skin. It contains potential irritants that expose you to UVA and UVB rays. Use delicate soaps with antibacterial properties and without fragrance.  

6. Bathroom essentials  

Spend limited time in hot showers and always apply moisturizer after a shower. Spending too much time in a shower can make your skin drier and can lead to itchiness.  

Overview

There is no need to get panic if you are a victim of the symptoms mentioned above. It is easy to diagnose eyelid dermatitis if you see the symptoms. In mild cases, it is easy to cure dry skin around the eyes without clinical consideration.

We advise you to consult your doctor before using any product as a lack of information can trigger the symptoms. A specialist can regularly analyze the type of dermatitis through an actual test. Proper sleep, stress management, and distance from allergens can help your skin.