When most people think of eczema, they think of an itchy, red, skin rash on the arms, legs, or even on the face and scalp. What you may not realize is that for the nearly 32% of Americans who deal with eczema — also called ectopic dermatitis — it’s possible to get eczema on your eyelids. Eyelid dermatitis is a common condition.
Here at Specialists in Dermatology in Tucson, Arizona, our expert dermatology team diagnoses and treats all kinds of skin conditions, including eczema and eyelid dermatitis. If your eyes are itchy and swollen, or you have a rash on your eyelid, here’s what you can do to remedy it.
There are two types of eczema that you can get on your eyelids: Atopic (allergic) contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. These are the same types of eczema you get on other areas of your body.
Atopic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in contact with a substance and you have an allergic reaction that causes an eczema rash to appear. When you have an allergy to something, your immune system produces antibodies as a reaction to the substance. These antibodies also create a chemical reaction in your cells that leads to irritating eczema symptoms.
Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when your skin repeatedly comes into contact with a mild irritant like makeup, soap, or laundry detergent over a long period of time. You might not be allergic to the substance, but it still causes symptoms.
For some people, the same things that cause atopic contact dermatitis also cause irritant contact dermatitis. It just depends on how your immune system reacts to the allergen or substance.
With either type of eyelid dermatitis, you may experience symptoms in one or both eyes. Sometimes symptoms occur occasionally; other times, eyelid eczema is chronic.
Common symptoms include:
It may be hard to know what’s causing these symptoms to flare up or become chronic, but it’s usually the result of an allergen or sensitivity to something in your environment.
If you have eczema on your eyelids, keep a journal to write down all the products you use each day — skin care, hair products, soaps, perfumes — to see if you can determine an ingredient that’s making your symptoms worse. Some of the most common causes of eyelid eczema include:
Once you uncover the ingredients that irritate the skin around your eyes and your eyelids, you can eliminate the product from your personal care or home cleaning routine, for example. If you’re unable to identify the culprits of your eye irritation, we can help.
Our dermatologists treat eczema and other types of skin conditions on a regular basis. We talk to you about any known allergies you may have, or immune system conditions, and conduct diagnostic tests to determine what you’re most allergic or sensitive to. Then, we develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs.
You can first try some at-home remedies to relieve itchiness, prevent further irritation, and ward off infection that can happen from rubbing and scratching your eyes. These remedies include:
For immediate relief, you can moisturize your eyelids with an over-the-counter anti-itch cream that’s safe for the eye area. If creams only provide temporary relief, we may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids. You can apply corticosteroid cream directly to your irritated eyelids to reduce inflammation and dry, flaky skin.
With some research and investigation, we can discover the underlying causes of your eyelid eczema so you can get long-term relief from symptoms.
Call the Tucson office location closest to you to schedule a consultation, or send us a message online.