Dry eyelids can be caused by a common skin condition, such as atopic dermatitis, or by environmental factors, such as dry winter air.

Dry skin on the eyelids can be uncomfortable, but there are some effective ways to treat the condition at home. More severe cases of dry eyelids may require medical attention.

Symptoms that may accompany dry eyelids include itching, discoloration, and irritation.

In this article, we discuss the symptoms and causes of dry eyelids. We also look at home remedies and medical treatments that can help relieve symptoms.

Dry skin occurs when the top layer of the skin does not retain enough moisture to function properly. There are many possible reasons for this to happen.

Allergic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a common skin condition that usually begins in childhood. Atopic dermatitis can be caused by infection or inflammation, and it is more likely to affect people with asthma, hay fever, and other allergic conditions, including food allergies.

The most common symptom of atopic dermatitis is itching. This condition can also cause:

  • dry, scaly skin
  • pain or tenderness
  • a rash that oozes fluid or bleeds after scratching
  • lichenification, which is the thickening and hardening of the skin

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that occurs after coming into contact with an irritant. Irritants that can cause contact dermatitis on the eyelids include:

  • make up
  • sunscreen
  • wash one’s face
  • hair products
  • chlorine from swimming pool
  • dust

Exposure to an irritant can cause a person’s skin to become dry, inflamed, and itchy. It can also lead to burns or blisters on the skin.


Certain environments can lead to dry, itchy skin that becomes rough and scaly over time.

For example, dry air can reduce moisture in the top layers of the skin, causing it to dry out. Dry air is more common during winter when temperatures drop.

Contact with water can also dry out the skin. Long showers or baths can reduce the amount of oil on the skin, which normally helps the skin retain moisture.


Aging reduces the amount of oil in the top layers of the skin and decrease sweat glands in the skin. These effects can prevent a person’s skin from retaining moisture.

Certain factors, such as smoking or overexposure to the sun, can accelerate the aging process.

Aging causes the skin to wrinkle and begin to crack. It can also lead to areas of dry, flaky skin that cause itching.

Dry skin can be uncomfortable, especially when it affects the eyelids, where the skin is thinner than other body areas.

Some common symptoms of dry skin include:

  • peeling surface
  • rough texture and cracks
  • itchy
  • stinging or stinging pain
  • appear wrinkled and loose
  • peel
  • roughness or irritation

Symptoms of dry skin can vary in severity from mild to severe.

Some people with dry skin on their eyelids may experience only mild itching or not even notice it. Others may experience more intense, aggravated irritation when blinking. Sometimes, the eyelids can become swollen.

The best way to treat dry skin on the eyelids depends on its cause.

Moderate to severe atopic dermatitis is treatable with moisturizers or corticosteroids. However, doctors only recommend short-term corticosteroids because they can increase eye pressure when applied to the eyelids.

A person can treat contact dermatitis by avoiding known triggers, including cosmetics, sunscreen, or chlorine. Doctors recommend that people use trial and error to identify their triggers, as these will vary from person to person.

Your doctor may also prescribe other medications to treat related symptoms. For example, they may recommend antihistamines to help with sleep or antibiotics for related infections.

A person can usually treat dry eyelids at home with an over-the-counter moisturizer.

Some of the active ingredients in moisturizers include:

  • olive oil or jojoba oil
  • shea butter
  • lactic acid
  • urea
  • glycerin
  • lanolin
  • Petroleum
  • dimethicone

To help dry skin, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends:

  • Moisturize several times a day, even after showering
  • Use a humidifier
  • Avoid bathing or showering for longer than 5 minutes
  • Use warm water instead of hot water for bathing
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and tanning beds
  • Wash with gentle cleansers and use products made for sensitive skin

Dry skin can often be treated at home with a regular moisturizer and skin care regimen.

If home remedies do not relieve symptoms or symptoms worsen, a person should talk to a doctor. Dermatologists are skin specialists who can provide treatment options.

Dry eyelids can have a number of causes, including dermatitis and natural aging. They can happen when the top layer of the skin doesn’t retain enough moisture.

People can usually treat dry eyelids at home by applying moisturizer and bathing with warm, not hot, water.

If symptoms persist, a person should talk to a doctor. Your doctor may prescribe medication, such as a corticosteroid cream, to relieve symptoms.

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