Everything you ever wanted to know about eyelid dermatitis

Eyelid dermatitis is the most common skin disease of the eyelids.  It’s actually caused by allergens or irritants.  The reason eyelid dermatitis is so common is because the eyelids have much thinner skin than the rest of the face.  They also absorb a lot of things, which means many different things can irritate the skin and eyelids. 

Symptoms of eyelid dermatitis include dry skin that flakes off and itches.  Severe cases of this skin problem can even cause the eyes to swell shut.  Doctors don’t know exactly what causes eyelid dermatitis, but they believe that an allergy is the main cause of it.  The type of dermatitis that affects the eyes is considered to be of the contact variety, which basically means that the skin came into contact with something that irritated it.  

It’s always a good idea to avoid touching your eyes because the eyes can be a gateway for germs to enter the body.  It’s even more important to avoid touching them if you have eyelid dermatitis because you can cause it to spread.  Also make sure you clean your eyelids frequently.  If your dermatitis is very severe, then doctors may order corticosteroids to help bring the inflammation down. 

Another important key to getting rid of eyelid dermatitis is avoiding the allergen that caused the problem in the first place.  This can be very challenging if you’re unsure what caused your eyelids to break out.  One of the most common eye irritants is fragrance, so you might consider stopping your perfume if you bought a new brand recently.  Don’t forget that you may also have come into contact with someone else’s perfume, especially if you’ve given out any hugs to women or men who seem to have taken a bath in their perform or cologne.  You should also remember that contact can happen directly, like if your eye touches something, or indirectly, like if you touch an irritant and then rub your eyes.  

Another very common eye irritant is gold.  Researchers have found that many cases of eyelid dermatitis are caused by someone touching a piece of gold jewelry and then rubbing their eyes.  Other common eye irritants include various types of cosmetics, especially those applied directly to the eyes.  Eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara all have been shown to cause break outs in some patients.  One interesting thing to note about mascara especially is that sometimes the applicator is made from nickel, and many patients in various studies on eyelid dermatitis did show a strong reaction to nickel.  This means that it may not be the mascara that’s making you break out, but it could be the applicator instead. 

Some eye medications can even cause reactions in some people.  Antibiotics that are delivered through the eyes can cause irritation, and eye solutions like beta blockers or NSAIDs can also cause allergic reactions.  Other less common eye irritants include soap and lotions, hair dyes, and dust, pollen, or cleaning sprays.

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