Your eyelids are the shades for your eyes.
They help to protect from light and wash away dirt and irritants with every blink.
The skin under your eyes and eyelids is much drier than anywhere else on your face, they contain fewer oil glands and are less able to retain moisture, leaving it vulnerable to drying out.
If this is a concern of yours, we have put together these pointers to pamper your peepers and keep good eye health insight.
Why the skin around our eyes gets so dry
Dry skin around the eyes and on the eyelids isn’t pretty, and it is one of the first things that people notice.
Because this area has very few active oil glands, it doesn’t have any natural ability to keep skin moist and glowing and is more susceptible to drying out, so keeping the skin in this area plump and healthy is key.
The tricky part is often identifying what exactly is causing the skin beneath your eyes to become dry; there are several possible culprits:
- UV rays
- contact lenses
- use of hot water
- irritants in cosmetics
- exposure to irritants
- incorrect makeup practices
- underlying skin conditions
- climatic conditions cold, dry weather strips the skin of oils, which ultimately leads to dryness
Underlying skin issues that can cause your eye area to dry out
Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that arises when your skin interacts with an irritant causing dry, red, and flaky skin. Certain personal care products, including sunscreen and makeup, are irritants responsible for contact dermatitis; fragrances can also be an irritant.
Atopic dermatitis can affect the skin on your eyelids. Symptoms include scaling, redness, itching, and oozing in some cases. Risk factors are genetics, the immune system, or the environment. This article does a great job of discussing eyelid dermatitis in more detail.
Allergens and Irritants
Rashes can occur anywhere on your skin, but because the skin on the eyelid skin is thinner than other parts of the face, the skin’s barrier function on the eyelids is more easily disrupted than in other areas – which makes it especially vulnerable.
There are many airborne allergens in our environment like pollen and fumes that can react with the susceptible eyelid skin, causing redness, itching, flaking, and even swelling.
This is caused by a bacteria or an existing condition like rosacea that can lead to scales on the eyelids, redness, irritation, and general inflammation. These are just some of the reactions that can occur as a result of this condition.
Health concerns that may be causing your dry skin
Occasionally, dry, flaking eyelids can be a symptom of systemic health conditions like thyroid disorders and psoriasis. If the flaking is accompanied by red, puffy, or purple discolouration around your eyes, this could indicate an autoimmune condition like lupus or dermatomyositis.
These are rare but serious; if you’re not sure what’s causing your dry eyes, or you have other symptoms along with dryness, we recommend checking in with your doctor or dermatologist.
Treating dry skin around your eyes
- use an eye cream daily, one that contains an SPF of 30 or above
- use a gentle, alcohol-free eye makeup remover, to prepare your skin for cleansing
- dry skin around the eyes may mean that you are susceptible to allergies, to reduce your risk of allergic reactions use hypoallergenic makeup, as they contain fewer chemicals
- avoid using eye products that require you to use your fingers for applying them; this will cause bacteria to multiply in the product, which can lead to eye infections
- underlying fatty tissue around the eyes acts as a cushion for the eyeball, as we age this starts to deplete, anti-ageing serums and eye creams will help to protect against the visible signs of ageing
- eye makeup products that are difficult to take off and require a lot of effort to remove can be hard on the delicate skin around the eye area, causing dryness and redness, avoid using products that stretch your skin upon removal, such as waterproof mascara
- wear your sunnies; constant exposure to the UV rays can really damage the tissue, drying it out and weakening the elastin fibres that keep our eyelids taut. Sun damage is a major reason skin around the eyes that the skin can become dry, look more wrinkled, and make dark circles appear more obvious.
Ditch the harsh product; Overuse, and even overzealous regular use, of eye and facial cleansers, scrubs, and peels that contain harsh chemicals or alcohol can seriously dry out the skin around your eyes. And remember, the skin beneath your eyes is thinner and more sensitive, so it’s much more vulnerable to irritation, so treat with care.
Makeup removal tips
No article on dry skin around the eyes would be complete, without mentioning how to remove makeup carefully, to avoid causing dry skin.
- Q-tips are great for gently removing excess makeup from the base of the lashes. They won’t drag the skin and cause permanent damage. If you use cotton wool make sure it is free of rough particles
- saturate a cotton pad in eye makeup remover and then vertically roll the pad from eyebrow to lash line, until the makeup is removed
- the same technique can be applied under the eyes, horizontally rolling from the outer corner to the bridge of the nose, this will help to prevent stretching the skins delicate tissue
Genetics, the makeup products you use, constantly rubbing the eyes, and underlying skin conditions like dermatitis may all be responsible for your dry eyes.
While dry skin around the eyes certainly isn’t considered an emergency, it is important to manage it, to avoid potential problems and possibly premature ageing in the future.
A regular skincare routine that you can commit to in the morning and at night will treat existing dry skin and prevent it from developing into a chronic issue in the future.
Avoid using harsh products, hot water, and rubbing your eyes too much, instead, treat this delicate skin with care, and look for eye creams that are both hypoallergenic and approved by ophthalmologists.