Dry Skin Around Your Eyes - Causes, Prevention & Treatment

10 sources cited
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Why is the Skin Around My Eyes Dry?

Dry skin around your eyes can feel uncomfortable. Dry skin anywhere on your face might also make you feel self-conscious.

There are various causes of dry skin around the eyes. Most of the time, dry skin isn’t a serious cause for concern or a sign of bigger health issues.

woman checking her eye area through a small mirror

5 Causes of Dry Skin Around Eyes

Here are some common causes of dry skin around the eyes and other likely symptoms for each:

1. Aging

Dry skin around the eyes is a common sign of aging. As you get older, your skin changes.10

Your skin can dry out from sun damage over time. It may also produce less natural oils, and your skin cells renew slower.10

Other Symptoms

You may also notice the following signs of aging skin:10

  • Sagging skin
  • Swelling
  • Skin spots
  • Skin tags
  • Wrinkles
  • Bruising
  • Redness

2. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis refers to a dry and itchy rash. It’s caused by your skin’s direct contact with an allergen or irritant.4

Other Symptoms

The following symptoms may also accompany contact dermatitis:

  • An itchy rash
  • Dark, leathery patches
  • Cracked or scaly skin
  • Red bumps
  • Blisters
  • Oozing or crusting
  • Inflammation
  • Burning
  • Tenderness

3. Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic condition that causes dry skin. It’s common in young kids but can happen to anyone.1

Eczema may flare up occasionally, but it’s not a contagious condition.1

Other Symptoms

The following symptoms may also accompany atopic dermatitis:

  • An itchy rash
  • Cracked or scaly skin
  • Oozing or crusting
  • Raised bumps that may be red
  • Inflammation
  • Thickened skin
  • Darkened skin around the eyes
  • Raw skin from scratching
  • Heightened sensitivity from scratching

4. Blepharitis

Blepharitis refers to inflammation of the eyelids that can make the skin feel dry. It’s a common disorder caused by bacteria or other skin conditions like dandruff or rosacea.2,3

Other Symptoms

Other common symptoms of blepharitis include:2,3

  • Irritated eyes
  • Itchy skin around the eyes
  • Dandruff-like scales in the eyelashes
  • Burning eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Red eyelids
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Crusting around the eyelids
  • Difficulty seeing clearly

5. Dehydration 

Dehydration happens when you use up or lose more fluids than you take in. So, if you’re not drinking enough water, you can become dehydrated. 

Dehydration can lead to a host of health issues, including dry skin.

Other Symptoms

Dehydration is also commonly associated with the following symptoms:

  • Heightened thirst
  • Infrequent urination
  • Dark or cloudy urine
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches

How to Get Rid of Dry Skin Around Eyes

Dry skin isn’t necessarily a big deal, but healthy skin is important. There are some steps you can take to treat dry skin around your eyes, whether you have chronic dry skin or just irritated skin.

Home Remedies

Here are some home remedies to help combat dry skin or prevent delicate skin from becoming dry:

  • Develop a daily skincare routine. Using fragrance-free facial cleansers, soap-free cleansers, moisturizers, and other products can help.5, 7, 9
  • Avoid processed foods that can take a toll on your skin health. Instead, maintain a healthy diet diverse in antioxidant-rich foods for healthier skin.
  • Stay away from using harsh chemicals on your face. This includes harsh soaps to remove makeup. Choose a gentle cleanser or face wash that’s softer on your skin.
  • Avoid dry air. If you have sensitive skin, consider a humidifier to maintain moisture.8 
  • Use a cold compress to relieve dry skin. Cold compresses can also fight flare-ups.6 
  • Try overnight eye creams. Eye creams with hyaluronic acid can relieve dryness.9
  • Get your nutrients. If you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency due to dietary needs, take supplements to manage dry skin.

Professional Treatments

Some professional treatments can also help maintain healthy skin around your eyes:

  • A dermatologist can prescribe you ointments and creams with active ingredients that can treat an underlying skin condition
  • A nutritionist can help you plan healthier lifestyle habits to improve your skin and prevent flare-ups
  • An eye doctor can help treat any eye or eyelid conditions causing dry skin and other symptoms

Preventing Dry Skin Around Eyes

If you’re worried about developing dry skin around the eyes, follow these tips to prevent it:

  • Eat a healthy diet full of nutrients for your skin
  • Keep the air in your home humid
  • Adopt a regular skincare routine with products that are safe for your skin

Outlook 

Dry skin around the eyes isn’t necessarily a sign of something worse. It’s usually just a product of your environment, a sign of aging, or a symptom of a treatable eye condition.

Follow the above tips to treat and prevent dry skin around the eyes.

Summary

Many factors can cause dry skin around the eyes. They may be external, environmental factors like the air you breathe, or internal factors like your diet. 

Be mindful of the products you use on your skin and the nutrients you put (and don’t put) in your body. Call your dermatologist if your dry skin isn’t getting better or if it’s getting worse.

10 Cited Research Articles
  1. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 5 Aug. 2022.
  2. Blepharitis.” AOA.org.
  3. Blepharitis.” National Eye Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  4. Dermatitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Sept. 2021.
  5. Draelos ZD, et al. “Tolerance of Fragranced and Fragrance-Free Facial Cleansers in Adults with Clinically Sensitive Skin.” Cutis, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  6. Liu, Boyi, and Sven-Eric Jordt. “Cooling the Itch via TRPM8.” The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2018.
  7. Moisturizers: Do They Work?Harvard Health, 29 May 2019.
  8. O, Reinikainen LM, et al. “The Effect of Air Humidification on Symptoms and Perception of Indoor Air Quality in Office Workers: A Six-Period Cross-over Trial.Archives of Environmental Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  9. Purnamawati, Schandra, et al. “The Role of Moisturizers in Addressing Various Kinds of Dermatitis: A Review.” Clinical Medicine & Research, Marshfield Clinic, Dec. 2017.
  10. Skin Care and Aging.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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