- In most cases, preventing dry skin can be as simple as making small changes to your daily routine.
- Moisturizing creams and ointments often improve dry skin around the eyes, however, antibiotics or steroid cream may sometimes be required.
- Dry skin can be a symptom of medical issues such as blepharitis or psoriasis, and require professional attention.
Dry skin around the eyes is a common condition that affects people of all ages and skin types. As dry skin around the eyes can be the result of a number of different lifestyle, environmental, and medical factors, it can be difficult to identify the exact cause of irritation.
Fortunately, there are a number of home remedies and other solutions that can help treat dry skin regardless of its cause. Once treated, taking simple preventative measures will help keep your skin smooth and well hydrated.
Symptoms and Affected Areas
The signs of dry skin around the eyes can be easily missed or simply discounted as symptoms of sensitive skin with no easy remedy. However, properly identifying dry eye skin as the root of your symptoms can help you treat it appropriately. The most common symptoms of dry skin around the eyes are:
- Flaky skin
- Soreness and burning
These dry skin symptoms can impact skin anywhere on the body, but will be most obvious under the eyes and on the eyelids, where skin is at its thinnest and most delicate.
What Causes Dry Skin Around the Eyes?
Dry skin around the eyes can be caused by a variety of factors and typically results from a combination of causes.
While it can sometimes be prevented by avoiding the daily habits and lifestyle choices that trigger the issue, some causes of dry skin are often difficult to control. Environmental factors and medical conditions can cause dry skin around the eyes, as can certain medications.
- Hot water: Using hot water to cleanse the skin around the eye area can lead to and aggravate dry skin.
- Swimming: Frequent swimming in pools with high levels of chlorine can dry out skin.
- Eye makeup: Makeup including eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara and foundation often contain ingredients such as alcohol that can irritate skin. In some cases, makeup can become contaminated by bacteria and further aggravate the situation.
- Poor skin care routine: Neglecting regular skin maintenance with a proper moisturizing eye cream can increase dryness and compound the effects of other causes.
- Heat: Hot climates as well as central heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce humidity in the air, which can lead to dry skin on the entire body, and around the eyes in particular, where the skin is most delicate.
- Cold: Similar to heat, cold climates can affect the whole body, and especially around the eyes. Cooler temperatures mean less moisture in the air, causing skin to dry out.
- Contact dermatitis: Certain chemicals in your environment can trigger an allergic reaction that irritates skin. Latex, pesticides and certain plants are among the most common causes of contact dermatitis. Regular exposure to a mild irritant such as soap and shampoo can also lead to dermatitis over time.
- Eczema: Those who experienced eczema during childhood are more prone to developing dry skin as adults. Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema around the eyes can extend from the cheeks to above the eyebrow. It typically leads to bright red and itchy skin that can appear wrinkled even on younger patients.
- Psoriasis: While this skin condition is characterized by bumpy red patches of white scaly skin, it can also lead to dryer skin. Around the eyes, psoriasis can cause scaly dry skin that can cover eyelashes. This can lead to eyelashes bending towards the eye and causing additional irritation. In rare cases, psoriasis can occur on the eye itself, leading to dry eyes and inflammation that can impair vision.
- Blepharitis: This issue typically occurs when oil glands around the eyelashes become clogged leading to inflammation and dryness around the eye. Eyelids can appear slightly red and a yellowish grease often coats the eyelid. Blepharitis can also lead to swelling in the area particularly when an infection occurs at the site.
Many common prescription medications can dry out skin as a side effect. As one of the most delicate areas of the body, the eyes are often the first place that this dry skin will manifest itself. If irritation around your eyes is particularly bad, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative medication.
Home Remedies for Dry Skin Around the Eyes
Home remedies can be a simple and effective way to regularly treat and maintain your skin. While these solutions are unable to treat more serious dryness caused by medical concerns, they are able to heal and hydrate skin damaged by environmental factors and lifestyle habits.
Moisturizing products are the most effective solution to both prevent and treat dry skin around the eyes. Applying a moisturizer or eye cream regularly can help maintain smooth, soft, skin. These products can also have a soothing effect on inflamed skin.
When choosing a moisturizer, select a cream or ointment formula specifically designed for the eyes. Products made for the eyes are formulated to be lighter and less greasy than traditional body lotions and other moisturizers. They also avoid fragrances and other irritants that can affect the skin around eyes.
Options that contain hydrating ingredients are best suited to treating this issue. Some of the most common and effective moisturizing agents are:
- Oils, particularly jojoba oil
- Shea butter
- Hyaluronic acid
Aloe vera, honey and coconut oil can also be applied to the eye area as moisturizing agents. While creams and ointments contain a number of ingredients that can potentially worsen inflammation, simple natural topical ingredients can hydrate skin while minimizing this risk.
Use a humidifier
Using a humidifier at home or in your office will add moisture to the air, which will help prevent dry skin from getting worse.
A dermatologist can diagnose if the dry skin around your eyes is actually a skin disease such as eczema or psoriasis, and prescribe the appropriate medication.
These medicines relieve and treat dry skin using anti-inflammatory ingredients. They are typically prescribed in conjunction with a skin care regimen and moisturizer.
Topical antibiotics can be prescribed to treat an infection such as blepharitis. Once the infection is treated, the area should return to it normal state.
Steroid creams such as a topical corticosteroid ointment or cream may be prescribed to treat eczema present in the skin around the eyes, alleviating itchiness and inflammation.
Implementing a skin care routine designed to care for the special needs of dry skin can help to prevent dry skin around the eyes from occurring. Caring for the skin around the eyes can have anti-aging benefits by reducing the appearance of fine lines and dark circles.
Follow a good skin care routine
Regular maintenance is vital to achieving ideal skin. Following a few basic steps basis can help to prevent dry skin, dark spots and premature signs of aging. While your exact regimen may vary and evolve over time, there are a few key steps to follow:
- Use a gentle cleanser: Remove eye makeup and wash your face and the eye area using a facial cleanser that is gentle, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Avoid excessive rubbing around the eyes.
- Exfoliate: Avoid using abrasive exfoliators on the eyelids and area around the eyes. While these exfoliators are great for the body and face, they are too harsh for the delicate area around the eyes. Instead, scrub your eyelids with a cotton ball or pad using an exfoliator designed specifically for around the eyes.
- Moisturize: After exfoliating, apply a few drops of moisturizer to your eyelids and the surrounding skin to keep it hydrated.
Change your bathing habits
Showering and spending time in the bathtub can be a drain on skin hydration, especially when done excessively. While bathing, a few simple precautions can help your skin maintain its moisture.
- Make sure to use warm water, as hot water can impact skin hydration.
- Limit your showers to ten minutes.
- Always shower with the door closed to trap in moisture.
Improve your diet
Eating a balanced diet has innumerable benefits for both your health and appearance. Some foods can improve skin elasticity, texture and moisture.
Consuming avocados, dark chocolate, green tea and fatty fish has been linked to improved skin hydration.
Drink water regularly to help hydrate skin and prevent dryness from occurring under the eyes. Most adults should consume approximately 68 ounces (2 liters) of water per day. Conversely, drinking alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks can hamper skin hydration around the eyes.
Dry skin around the eyes is common and can have many causes. Because triggers vary from medical conditions to environment and lifestyle, identifying the cause can boost the success of treatment and stop dry skin from recurring around the eyes.
The solution to preventing or treating dry skin is to protect skin from the cause of the dryness while treating it with products that will soothe irritation.
Your first step toward treatment or prevention should always be selecting a proper moisturizer and applying it habitually. Should you feel the need for professional advice, see a dermatologist to find out about treatment options.
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