By Laura Dolgy (bio below)
Do you ever experience itchy or swollen eyelids? Although eyelid eczema/eyelid dermatitis can be caused by a variety of external or internal factors, most cases are characterized by itching, stinging and/or burning. It is also quite common to experience red, swollen or flaky skin as well.
If you’re suffering from this inflammatory condition, we’re here to help you heal your eczema both naturally and safely.
Please keep in mind that although these treatments can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like fever or an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
Prior to discussing tips and recommendations for eczema on eyelids, it’s important to first discuss why this type of eczema occurs.
Atopic Dermatitis vs Atopic Contact Dermatitis vs. Irritant Contact Dermatitis
If you are experiencing red, itchy eyelid, flaky skin or skin irritation around the eyes due to topical exposure to certain metals, personal care products or pet dander, then you are most likely suffering from atopic contact dermatitis. This essentially means that your eye eczema is triggered from exposure to a topical allergen.
Alternatively, irritant contact dermatitis is an eye rash that is triggered by a specific irritant such as chemicals, solvents, adhesives and very hot or cold temperatures. The irritant can enter the eye area, cause friction and damage leading to temporary discomfort and redness.
If you can determine that neither of the above types of contact dermatitis relate to your flare up, then you likely have atopic dermatitis. This is an internal reaction expressed through the skin and often triggered by things like stress, consuming certain foods, seasonal or environmental allergies, etc.
Although these types of dermatitis may be triggered differently, their symptoms are quite similar.
It’s best to get a physician’s diagnosis to properly diagnosis your skin condition just to be sure. Your eye area is very sensitive and we don’t recommend taking any chances.
Symptoms of Eyelid Eczema/Eyelid Dermatitis
If you already suffer from eyelid dermatitis, then you probably already know the uncomfortable and annoying symptoms associated with the condition.
- Changes in eye appearance (i.e. an extra fold of skin above or under the eye, eyelids darken)
- Inflamed, red eyelids
- Scaly or flaking skin
Although rare, those suffering from atopic eyelid eczema can also experience complications such as cataracts, spontaneous retinal detachment and scarring.
To best avoid these complications, it is always best to seek medical attention immediately, once symptoms are difficult to handle. It’s also important to make sure not to rub or scratch the area in order to avoid skin infections and eye problems as mentioned above.
How to Heal Eyelid Eczema
As stated prior, it’s important to never scratch your eye eczema. Scratching can cause further harm not only to the skin, but to your eye as well.
If you are suffering from eyelid eczema due to irritants, then your first step should be asking yourself what might be the main cause of your eczema:
- Do my eyes itch or swell after I pet my dog, cat, etc?
- Do my eyes tear and/or itch when I use a certain type of mascara, eye shadow or eyeliner?
- Do my eyes change in appearance based on temperature?
- Have I gotten an insect bite on or near my eyelid recently?
If you are able to answer at least one of these questions, then treatment is quite simple. Think about removing the allergen or irritant that might be causing your eczema to trigger.
Obviously, getting rid of your pet might seem a little drastic, but try to keep their dander/saliva away from your eyelids. Perhaps wash your hands immediately after petting them or keep your face at a distance (depending on how severe the eczema is). Keeping them off your bed and sofa and anywhere you may rest your head is a good idea as well.
Alternatively, if you cannot identify the source of your eczema, then your condition might need a little more care.
Treatments for Eyelid Eczema
There are thousands of eyelid creams that can be found in stores; however, many are made with unsafe, harsh ingredients.
Because eyelid skin tends to be thinner and more sensitive, it’s best to opt for products that are more natural in order to fully soothe your eczema and not irritate your eye further.
Our editor’s favorite product for the eyes or face or anywhere on the body is the Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream. Keep in mind this is a creamy balm so it’s very thick and rich and a little goes a long way. Some people who are used to light facial lotions, may find this product too heavy and may prefer our next suggestion.
Gentle and natural is just what is required and that’s why we love Calendula Eczema Cream for Face. This cream is both gentle and cooling, as it contains both Organic Calendula flowers and Organic Aloe juice. It contains Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), a natural supplement that is anti-inflammatory in nature and also provides skin firming and anti-aging benefits as well.
To gently cleanse the eyes and face, be sure to check out this natural Organic Calendula Face Wash. Similar to the ingredients in the cream mentioned above, this face wash is gentle with its blend of soothing herbs and will help calm red, inflamed skin. It’s also an excellent face wash for extremely sensitive skin. The wash and cream work really well together.
Wet or Dry Wrap Therapy
If you’re experiencing extremely itchy and inflamed eczema, then you can always try adapting wet or dry wrap therapy for eczema around the eyes.
Both wet and dry wrap therapy are common processes used among eczema sufferers and can be used as a short-term fix for moderate to severe eczema. To read more about these methods, make sure to check out both our blog posts: Our Eczema Trials – Wet Wrap Therapy And Our Eczema Trials: Dry Wrapping.
Instead of using body bands or clothing, feel free to use bandages or cut out strips of clothing to drape over the eyes. Or easier yet, a sleep mask, but make sure it’s made of natural, not cheap synthetic materials. We like these cotton eye masks with no extra padding. NEVER use cortisone or a pro-topic medication for this method. The eyelids are extremely sensitive and you do not want to risk damaging your eyes.
Lastly, if you feel like you have tried everything and have been unsuccessful, perhaps it is time to look at what foods may be triggering your eye eczema.
Many eczema sufferers have found relief and treatment by simply changing their diet.
If you think your eyelid eczema might be triggered by food, then we suggest checking out our post: Our Eczema Elimination Diet Success (How You Can Do it Too!). An elimination diet is essentially removing certain foods from your diet for a specific time period and then reintroducing them slowly to determine which foods are causing a reaction.
Do you suffer from eyelid eczema?
Let us know how you treat it in the comments below!
Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.