A person can experience dry skin around the eyes due to aging or weather. It can also occur due to various skin conditions, such as eczema, contact dermatitis, or conjunctivitis.

This article will look at some of the common reasons for dry skin around the eyes, associated symptoms, and treatment options.

It will also highlight some helpful home treatments and prevention strategies, as well as explain the best time to talk to your doctor.

Dry skin can develop anywhere on the body. This includes the skin around the eyes, which is thinner and more delicate than the skin elsewhere on the body.

Skin needs the water and oils it produces naturally to stay soft, supple and taut. If the body doesn’t get the oil or water it needs, the skin can dry out.

Typical symptoms include:

  • itchy or scaly patches of skin
  • peeling skin
  • rough skin
  • stinging or burning
  • peel
  • itchy

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some people are at a higher risk of dry skin than others, including those who:

  • over 40 years old
  • people who live in cold countries or climates
  • who smokes?
  • people with a vitamin or mineral deficiency, such as vitamin D, vitamin A, iron, or zinc
  • have brown, black, or white skin as opposed to a medium complexion

In addition, certain medications, including statins and diuretics, can cause excessive dryness of the skin.

The treatment

Dry skin is common and nothing to worry about.

To treat dry skin, a person can:

  • make sure they drink plenty of water
  • Moisturize regularly
  • Avoid using harsh skin care products
  • avoid long showers and hot baths
  • Avoid artificial heat sources that dry the air

Eczema is the name for a group of skin diseases. The condition is very common, affecting more than 31 million people in the United States.

Some people may experience eczema around their eyes. According to the National Eczema Association, eyelid eczema is more common in people who also have eczema elsewhere on their face.

A person may feel itchy, inflamed, or scaly skin on the eyelids.

The following are the types of eczema:

Allergic 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 itch and swell. The skin around the eyes may also thicken and darken.

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

The treatment

If a person has atopic dermatitis around the eyes, they should contact a doctor, especially if they are experiencing eye problems that persist for more than a few days.

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

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis of the eyelids tends to affect only the area around the edge of the eyelid.

This type of eczema develops in areas where there are many oil-producing glands, or sebaceous glands.

Other popular sites include:

The treatment

The National Eczema Association recommends washing the area every day with a gentle cleanser. In addition, a person should:

  • Daily moisturizing
  • Manage stress levels
  • sleep a lot

Sometimes, doctors will recommend a specialized antifungal cream. In severe cases, they may recommend steroid or calcineurin inhibitor creams.

Contact dermatitis

Irritants and allergens cause contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis can occur on the eyelids when an irritant or allergen comes into contact with the skin. This can be due to skin care products, makeup, and hair dyes.

Sometimes, people can touch an irritant or something they’re allergic to, and then rub their eyes. This transmits the irritant or allergen to the eyelid.

The treatment

In many cases, the problem will be resolved if the person stops using the product that caused the reaction.

The skin on the eyelids is four times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. Therefore, doctors will recommend gentle creams and emollients.

In severe cases, they may recommend steroid or calcineurin inhibitor creams.

If contact dermatitis comes back or doesn’t go away with treatment, a person may need to undergo patch testing to find out what’s causing the allergy or irritation.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the skin over the eyelids.

It usually occurs when the skin reacts to bacteria that live on the skin. It’s most common in people with seborrheic dermatitis, but it can affect anyone.

Symptoms include:

  • small, yellow scales around eyelids
  • itchy eyes
  • a “grit” feeling in the eyes

The treatment

To treat this condition, people can:

  • put a warm compress on the eye
  • Gently massage your eyelids
  • use over-the-counter artificial tears
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses until the problem clears up

Learn more about blepharitis treatment here.

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, refers to an inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the transparent outer coating of the eye.

Allergies, bacteria, and viruses can cause conjunctivitis. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are infections and tend to be contagious.

Symptoms include:

  • wrinkled eyelids
  • curled eyelashes
  • pink or red in the white part of the eye
  • Overproduction of tears
  • pus or mucus draining from the eye
  • I feel like there’s something in my eyes

Learn more about conjunctivitis here.

The treatment

People can treat conjunctivitis at home with cold compresses and artificial tears.

Sometimes, people may need medical treatment, such as antibiotics and antiviral drugs.

A person can treat some causes of dry skin around the eyes at home.

Tips include using a warm or cold compress to ease symptoms such as itching and using only gentle cleaning products.

Creams and ointments can help relieve dry skin.

According to the AAD, ingredients that may be beneficial include:

  • jojoba oil
  • dimethicone
  • glycerin
  • hyaluronic acid
  • lactic acid
  • lanolin
  • Mineral oil
  • Petroleum
  • shea butter

The best way to prevent dry skin around the eyes will depend on the cause.

To avoid developing dry skin, people can:

  • Use warm water, instead of hot water, to wash
  • Use only gentle, fragrance-free cleaning products
  • pat skin dry, instead of rubbing
  • Use lots of moisturizer
  • Avoid sitting or standing near heat sources such as fireplaces
  • drink a lot of water

There is no cure for eczema, but people can help prevent flare-ups by:

  • manage their stress levels
  • sleep a lot
  • Avoid products that irritate the skin
  • avoid things they are allergic to
  • follow the advice of their healthcare team

Anyone experiencing any of the following should talk to a doctor:

  • eyesore
  • sensitive to light
  • blurred vision

People who suspect they may have a form of eczema should also talk to their doctor, as they may require creams and ointments.

Dry skin can occur anywhere on the body, including the skin around the eyes. That’s common and usually not anything to worry about. Sometimes, eczema or an infection can cause problems.

A person can treat some causes of dry skin around the eyes at home. In other cases, a person may require medical help. This includes people with eye pain or blurred vision.

Also, if someone suspects they may have some form of eczema, they should talk to a doctor.

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