Is your skin peeling and flaking on your eyelids? Don’t worry. In most cases, it’s harmless. Eyelid contact dermatitis and blepharitis are two conditions in which the skin of your eyelid may peel off. Contact dermatitis is the most common type and its often caused by physical and chemical irritants that can be prevented by avoiding the triggers specific to you. On the other hand, blepharitis may be acute or chronic, and quite uncomfortable. Here’s everything you should know.
1. What Causes The Peeling Skin On My Eyelids?
Skin of the eyelids and surrounding the eye socket is much more sensitive than skin in other areas. This is why wrinkles and crow’s feet first appear around the eyes over time. Irritants that set off peeling of the eyelids may not be harsh enough to irritate other parts of the body, but are strong enough to irritate the eyes.
Some soaps and detergents, mild acids, chlorine from swimming pools, dust, drying agents and expired cosmetics are some well-known irritants. These soaps and mild acids can come even from our shampoo or an apple cider vinegar wash for the hair which trickles onto the eyes. Apart from chemical triggers, there are also physical ones such as extreme cold weather, excess humidity, and scratching of the eye and surrounding area.1
2. How Do I Treat This?
The treatment for this condition simply involves avoiding triggers and allergens and taking good care of the eyes. Never touch your eyes with dirty hands. Do not rub and scratch at an inflamed eyelid – it will only make the condition worse. While the inflammation is active, it is recommended that you avoid using cosmetics or wearing contact lenses. Use protective eyewear as appropriate and keep your eyes cool in hot weather and covered from all sides when it is chilly. Maintain proper hygiene – never rub or touch your eyes with hands that aren’t washed. Treatment for this condition is most often all about not doing anything to worsen the symptoms.2
3. Are There Other Conditions That Cause The Skin To Peel?
Yes, blepharitis is another condition that can cause this symptom. Unfortunately, it tends to recur in people who have the inflammation. Apart from eyelid skin peeling and itchiness, you may experience a small bump in the eyelid that results from an infection of the oil glands.
Interestingly, dandruff from the hair is a major risk factor for developing blepharitis around the eyelashes. Due to the inflammation, you may feel like there is a foreign body in the eye. You can also have redness, itching or frothy tears.3
4. How Is Blepharitis Treated?
You must clean away the crust formed around the eye to treat blepharitis. Use a warm compress or a soft cotton cloth to loosen the crusts formed and clean adequately with fresh water. For chronic blepharitis, maintaining proper eye hygiene, not touching the eyes often, and cleaning them with water are important to prevent reoccurrence as much as possible.
For severe cases of inflammation in the oil glands, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or steroids to help clear up the infection faster and cause you less pain. If dandruff is identified as the cause, treating it will help make the eye symptoms disappear as well.4
5. Are There Any Home Remedies?
First, wash your hands thoroughly up until the elbow. Pat dry with a clean cloth. Using a soft cotton cloth dipped in warm water, apply gently around the eyelids and eye area. Do not add any fragrances to the water. Repeat few times a day until you feel better.
You can also use an eye scrub recommended by a doctor to remove the crusting seen in blepharitis. If the skin peeling has become a cosmetic or dermatological concern, see a doctor for a solution.5