What is Eczema on eyelid?
The eyelid is a very sensitive area, having the purpose to cover and protect the eye. Compared to the rest of the face skin, the eyelid skin is unbelievably thin and prone to outer allergenic reactions. Also known as atopic dermatitis, this is actually an allergic inflammation of the skin, caused by the application of different cosmetics, hair or face care products in the area. The periorbital area is sensitive to shampoos and other hair products as well, plus there are plenty of substances coming in the air that can irritate the eyelid.
When eczema occurs on the eyelid, the skin becomes red and itchy. Most people have the urge to scratch and rub the eyelids but this will only make the skin in that area prone to infection and even loss of eyelashes or eyebrow hair. It is for the best to refrain from scratching and rubbing, seeking medical attention in case the problem becomes worse. The doctor will not only recommend treatment but also self-care measures that you can follow to stop the itching and prevent a new eczema. It is important to understand that, if the eyelids are always in contact with the allergenic substance, then you run a very good chance of the inflammation becoming chronic, thus requiring more complex treatment.
What are the Symptoms of Eczema on eyelid?
The symptoms of eczema on eyelid depend on the source of allergy and the time of exposure. However, there are some general symptoms encountered in all patients and these are:
- Intense itching, especially at night
- Redness of the affected outer skin of the eyelid
- Red and watery conjunctiva (the lacrimal glands will accelerate the tear film in order to eliminate the substance causing the allergy)
- Lesions of various forms, sizes and shapes – macules, papules, vesicles or blisters
- Chronic and constant exposure to an allergenic substance can lead to the following symptoms:
- Itchiness present but less intense
- The eyelid skin is dry and scaly
- The affected area becomes thickened in time.
- Infection secondary to scratching
- Loss of eyelashes and eyebrow hair
- Visual obstruction if there is eyelid or periorbital edema associated.
Causes of Eczema on eyelid
The main cause of eczema on eyelid is coming into contact with an irritating substance. The following products can cause allergies, especially in the female population:
- Cosmetic substances of any kind
- Make up, eye shadow, mascara
- Face lotion, perfume, sunscreen
- Applicators and other tools (brushes, eyelash curlers – especially if they are made from nickel or other allergenic metals, tweezers, makeup sponges)
- Nail polish or artificial nails because of the frequent contact of the hand and the eye
- Hair products (shampoo)
- Certain medications (topical corticosteroids, topical antibiotics, certain ointments for eye problems, solution for cleaning contact lenses)
- Allergenic substances contained by certain plants (including pollen)
- Airborne allergens, including chemicals of a volatile nature and different types of sprays
- Poison ivy (finger to eye contact)
- Animal hair
- Tissues used for facial cleaning.
The treatment for eczema on eyelid consists of medical solutions and self-care measures. The medical solutions recommended are:
- Topical corticosteroids – preparations of low potency will be chosen and they will be used only for a short amount of time, as they can have serious side-effects when used on a long term basis.
- Topical immunomodulators such as calcineurin inhibitors are recommended as an alternative to topical corticosteroids, helping to reduce the redness, inflammation and thickening of the skin.
- Systemic steroids are recommended only in severe cases of eczema on eyelid and, just as the topical corticosteroids, they should be used for a short period of time to decrease the inflammation.
The self care measure recommended to patients who suffer from eczema on eyelid are:
- Avoid products that may contain specific allergens
- Use fragrance free products, as these have a reduced chance of producing allergies and eczema
- Instead of eyelash curlers that are made from nickel be sure to choose those that are made from stainless steel
- If the eczema is caused by gold jewelry, be sure to wear it for at least amount of time as possible
- Avoid wearing waterproof makeup, as this will require a strong product for removal
- Instead, use makeup that is water-soluble and this will only require a gentle cleanser for removal
- Apply cold compresses to the eyelids in order to reduce the inflammation
- Avoid hot showers, as these can dry the skin and make it prone to irritation (this is especially valid for the eyelids, as the skin is so thin in that area)
- Use skin moisturizers that are made from natural ingredients
- Do not use oil-based cosmetics as these have the tendency to clog the pores and irritate the skin.