Dermatologist Explains Exactly What to Do About Eyelid Eczema
Eczema on your eyelid is called eyelid dermatitis. It usually happens because something touched your eyelid skin that you are allergic to or that was too harsh and irritating for your thin, eyelid skin.
Allergens and irritants come into contact with the eyelid skin in some surprising ways:
- As airborne droplets (think hair spray, perfume or home cleaners) or pollen that rain down on your skin;
- Carried up by your hands to the eyelid skin (think hand creams or other things your thick, hand skin has gotten into without any problem). Everyone rubs their eyes unconsciously during the day. It’s true, and the most common cause of eyelid dermatitis is nail polish carried up from the hands!
- Applied products (think acne medicines and anti-aging products); and
- Products that wash over your skin (think shampoo and cream rinse or facial cleansers).
I even had a teenager who played the saxophone, and when he touched the metal of the instrument, and then rubbed his eyes, he got a rash. This was because he was allergic to nickel in the metal of his saxophone!
How common is it for eczema to show up on a person’s eyelid?
Eyelid dermatitis is really common. Over my years of practice, I would see at least one or two patients every week with it. It’s a confusing and frustrating skin problem for people because the cause is usually unexpected, like nail polish, hand cream or even a saxophone.
How is eyelid eczema diagnosed?
Eyelid dermatitis/eczema is diagnosed by physical exam. Skin on the upper or lower eyelid (that means skin within the confines of the round bony ridge that surround the eye) is rough textured, swollen and feels itchy or burns.