Think twice before rubbing your eyes. Why? While eczema, the skin condition also known as atopic dermatitis, is characterized by dry, itchy-feeling skin on the face and body, but the eyelids are also fair game. Because skin is at its thinnest on the eyelid, many people often see a dermatologist complaining of dryness, flaking, and itching on this delicate area. And that’s because eyelid eczema is a real issue for anyone with the skin condition.
Though it is more likely to affect people with allergies, asthma, and hay fever, eczema is a non-specific term with several causes, including, but not limited to, genetics. Eczema sufferers often have to do some detective work in order to figure out why this skin is inflamed and hence have to take a trip to the dermatologist.
There is no one-treatment-fits-all solution, but you can help control eyelid eczema. To find out how to identify the ailment, what triggers and causes it, and how to treat it — at home or with professional help, keep reading!
How Do I Know if I Have Eyelid Eczema?
To be honest, self-diagnosis — unless you’re a dermatologist — is difficult. There are various inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis, rosacea, and even some forms of eczema, that can appear on the eyelid. All of these can appear as itchy, dry, or red rashes. But these conditions are typically not limited to the eyelid and can be found elsewhere on the body, too.
However, if the rash is new and is confined to the eyelid, that is likely an indication of allergic or irritant contact dermatitis, which you can potentially alleviate by avoiding triggers like pollen or certain skin-care ingredients. (If this applies to you, remove your eye cream until your dermatologist says it’s OK.)
But if the rash appears elsewhere on your body, it could be eczema — or it could be psoriasis or rosacea. Many rashes can look like eczema, and that is why it is very important to see a board-certified dermatologist to help you differentiate and diagnose the problem. To make matters more confusing, a person can have several conditions occur at once, like seborrheic dermatitis, in addition to having eczematous dermatitis from an allergy.
What Causes It?
We don't know the exact cause of eczema, but because it is commonly a chronic condition, there are ways to help avoid triggering it — once you find out what, exactly, are the triggers. It could be allergic dermatitis, which could be caused by eye drops you put in your eye or topical products like eye creams. It can also be triggered by airborne allergens like ragweed, pollens, dust mites, or even essential oil diffusers. Be wary of what you put on your hands, too.
Sometimes, eyelid dermatitis can stem from who are allergic to acrylics that are contained in nail gels and polishes. The skin around the nails is so thick that it won't break out in a rash, but the thinner skin around the eyes and mouth may.
Your eyelid eczema could also be irritant contact dermatitis, which is when the delicate skin around the eyes is unable to handle ingredients that don’t seem to irritate skin found elsewhere on the body. Irritant reactions, specifically, are also much more common the older we get, because our skin barrier ages the same way we do and is not able to withstand irritating ingredients that it may have earlier in our life.
This can include skin smoothing and acne treatments commonly applied on the face — but it can also include products made for the eye area, such as over-the-counter eye creams that contain retinol, which is both irritating and great for reducing fine lines. Most people don’t tolerate it so close to the eyes.
However ingredients like tea tree oil, lavender, peppermint, propolis (a resin-like material produced by bees), and others can be too intense. These ingredients can trigger allergic or irritant contact dermatitis. To find the exact cause amidst all these potential triggers, try patch-testing.
Should I Treat Eyelid Eczema Differently Than I Would Eczema On My Body?
First things first, put your skin-care routine on hold. Any time someone is suffering from eyelid dermatitis and cannot quite figure out the cause, stop everything that you are doing to your face.
Instead, replace your everyday routine with fragrance-free sensitive-skin products. Wild Naturals skin care is already ahead of the curve and every product is fragrance-free, preservative-free, and ideal for eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea!
Now, when it comes to over-the-counter topical steroids like hydrocortisone, which help reduce inflammation and stop itching in other areas of the body affected by eczema, proceed with caution. Overuse of any steroid can lead to thinning out the skin, especially around the eyes where it can also change your eye pressure over time.
Once your skin has returned to normal, restart using your typical routine one product at a time, buffering one-to-two weeks between each additional product. If the rash returns, patch-testing by applying products to your forearm a few times a day for a week. Check for any allergic reactions.
Or just stick with Wild Naturals to keep your skin nourished, happy, healthy, and your eyelids protected! Shop the full Eczema & Psoriasis line today.