itchy eyelids

Do You Have Itchy Eyelids? Here’s How To Soothe Eyelid Dermatitis

Itchy eyelids, or eyelid dermatitis, is very common but super frustrating. Here are the causes and some easy treatments.
Updated: January 23, 2023
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Have you ever woken up one day and had really itchy eyelids? Maybe you try rubbing them constantly in an attempt to relieve the itchiness, but nothing seems to work. Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one!

Why does this happen, and what can be done? Thankfully, having itchy eyelids is extremely common and there are some simple treatments you can do in the comfort of your own home.

In this article, we’ll be explaining the causes of eyelid dermatitis and what you can do today to get your eyelids feeling normal again quickly.

Let’s dive in.

What are the symptoms of itchy eyelids?

Having overly itchy eyelids can be a strong indicator of eyelid dermatitis, which is a very common skin condition that millions of people experience regularly.

Eyelid dermatitis can affect people in different ways, but there are familiar symptoms that can be easily recognized:

Symptoms

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling
  • Creased, scaly, or thickened skin

If you are displaying these types of symptoms, the likelihood is you are experiencing a bout of eyelid dermatitis. Thankfully, this isn’t a serious or worrisome medical condition whatsoever, and with a few easy treatment ideas, you can clear these problems right up.

The causes of eyelid dermatitis

The skin around and under our eyes is some of the thinnest and most sensitive on our entire body. This is why so many people struggle to deal with eye-related skin issues such as puffiness, and the phenomenon known as “chicken skin”. Skin in this area is very reactive to outside influences such as environmental conditions and allergic reactions in the body. Your eyelids are no exception.

When it comes to eyelid dermatitis specifically, it is usually triggered by two main factors – atopic contact dermatitis, and irritant contact dermatitis.

Atopic contact dermatitis

This generally refers to allergic reactions. When the body encounters something it doesn’t agree with, like a certain food or material, the immune system produces a protective response that can sometimes result in skin issues.

Here are some examples of things that can prompt atopic contact dermatitis:

  • Food allergies
  • Medications
  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Latex
  • Certain metals
  • Pollen
  • Skincare products/makeup
  • Preservatives

If you have known allergies, you should do your best to avoid their root cause as much as possible. If you have suddenly developed itchy eyelids and are noticing other symptoms, you could have an allergy that you aren’t aware of. Make an appointment with your doctor to determine what’s to blame.

Irritant contact dermatitis

This is when your eyelids physically come into contact with an irritant. Allergic reactions aren’t a factor here. Products like makeup or eye drops can cause a response in the eyelids and surrounding skin.

Here are some common culprits that can cause irritant contact dermatitis:

  • Bug bites
  • Chemicals, such as those found in cleaning products
  • Chlorine in swimming pools
  • Rubbing your eyes too much
  • Environmental factors such as pollution
  • Hot and cold temperature fluctuations
  • Dust, dirt, and irritating particles

There are many things that can irritate our eyelids on a daily basis. Just think about the various locations and environmental conditions you experience on your morning commute. Couple that with diverse temperature changes due to the weather and air conditioning, and you can understand how your eyes face a lot of challenges.

Unfortunately, you can’t influence the climate, so dealing with irritant contact dermatitis is all about recovery and soothing the stress your eyelids have experienced.

How to treat itchy eyelids

Keeping on top of your eyelid dermatitis is a constant process of treatment and prevention. None of the following tips or information is rocket science, and it can all be done by you at home today.

Here are the best methods for soothing itchy eyelids:

Track your allergies

You should always be aware of your allergies. If you discover you have a previously unknown allergy, you should take the steps to correctly identify it and separate it from your daily life. For example, if you discover a certain food allergy, you need to remove it from your diet. Similarly, pay special attention to the ingredient list of cosmetic products, as the troublemaker might be in there.

However, figuring out what this potential allergy is can be tricky. If you’re struggling, make an appointment with your doctor and they should be able to help.

Keep your eyelids clean

This sounds obvious, but making sure to thoroughly clean the creases of your eyelids is essential in treating eyelid dermatitis. The cause may be something as simple as dust or dirt.

Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and gently apply it to your eyelids with a cotton swab. Don’t use any soap or specialist products for this just in case any ingredients trigger a response. Avoid applying makeup for a few hours for the same reason. Do this every day until symptoms clear.

Aloe vera gel

Applying aloe vera gel to your itchy eyelids can really help ease symptoms. As well as being a great moisturizer, aloe vera gel is fantastic at soothing itchiness, redness, inflammation, and dry skin.

With its natural ingredients and calming effects, aloe vera gel might be exactly what you need to heal your eyelid dermatitis.

Cucumber slices

Placing cucumber slices over your eyes can help reduce itchy eyelids. Often seen at spas, cucumbers are more than just a gimmick. In fact, according to studies, cucumber can produce antioxidant activity and minimize swelling.[1]

Chill the cucumber in a refrigerator for a few hours before using it. Place a slice over each eye and leave for about 15 minutes. From there, you can cut new pieces and repeat, or get on with your day. The time needed to see results will depend on the severity of the symptoms.

How to prevent itchy eyelids

A big part of treating eyelid dermatitis is prevention. Stopping the symptoms in their tracks before they cause a real problem is the name of the game.

Here are some simple and effective preventative tips:

Stop rubbing your eyes

Easier said than done, we know. Rubbing your eyes too often and too harshly won’t do them any favors. Yes, sometimes we all need to give our eyes a nice big rub, but try to do it less often and keep it gentle.

Avoid expired skincare products

Skincare products expire. When this happens, they can become less effective and the ingredients may irritate the skin. Never use expired skincare products, especially on your eyes. The same goes for makeup. Spending money to replace expired products is better than giving yourself avoidable skin issues. To ensure your skincare products last longer, store them properly in a cosmetic product refrigerator.

Wear eye protection

Going swimming? You should wear a good set of goggles to protect your eyes from chlorine. Apply this principle to any situation where your eyes could be exposed to irritants. For example, if you are doing some DIY, you should protect your eyes from wood and chemical particles in the air.

Avoid harsh skincare products

As mentioned earlier in this article, the skin around our eyes is some of the thinnest and most sensitive on the body. With this in mind, harsh skincare products such as exfoliators, scrubs, and chemical peels should be kept away from the eyes. Everyone is different, but the chances are the skin could get unnecessarily irritated and compromised from these types of products.  Instead, use softer moisturizers and eye creams.

Conclusion

Itchy eyelids are frustrating. Thankfully, they’re relatively easy to treat, and with smart decision-making, they can be mostly prevented.

Eyelid dermatitis affects us all, but it’s important to determine whether it is triggered by an allergy or via contact with an irritant.

If your symptoms don’t dissipate, you should speak to your doctor or professional dermatologist for more personalized and targeted advice.

Good luck!

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