Common causes of eyelid rashes

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A rash on the eyelids is a common problem, especially in people who wear eye makeup. They can be caused by anything from an allergic reaction to an autoimmune disease .

The skin of the eyelids is very delicate and especially vulnerable to breakouts and infections. Also, makeup or facial cleansers can sometimes make eyelid rashes worse.

This article explains the conditions that can cause eyelid rash and how to treat them if it occurs.

Get Medication Information / Brianna Gilmartin

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an itchy red rash. This happens when your skin comes into contact with something that irritates it.

This type of rash is common in people who wear eye makeup. Many cosmetics contain allergens. These include substances like quaternium-15, which release the chemical formaldehyde.

Green or blue eye makeup often contains nickel or cobalt. These are also common allergy triggers. Even some applicators, like those for mascara, can contain nickel.

And it's not just the makeup that causes problems. Certain chemicals used in shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes, hair sprays, and other hair products can penetrate the skin and cause a reaction.

In fact, anything you touch can make contact with your eyelids if you scratch or rub your eyes. This includes detergents, perfumes, metals, or food allergens .

Contact dermatitis can affect the upper and lower eyelids. It can occur on one or both sides of the face. The rash is usually itchy, often with a dull burning sensation.

The rash itself will be red and scaly. It can also cause the skin to become thick and leathery ( lichenification ).

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a common skin condition that causes an itchy, scaly rash. This is generally associated with asthma, hay fever ( allergic rhinitis ), and food allergies.

Allergens are not believed to cause atopic dermatitis, but they can make it worse. Some people find that their eczema worsens when exposed to environmental allergens like dust mites and pollen.

Although eczema most often affects the skin folds under the armpits or below the knees, it can develop anywhere on the body. Sometimes it develops only on the eyelids.

People with eyelid eczema usually have this condition since childhood. They may also have a long history of allergies or hay fever.

Itching ( itching ) often accompanies a red, scaly rash. The itching can be very intense and often maddening.

Incessant itching and scratching often make the skin on the eyelids appear moist. There may even be noticeable hair loss on the eyelashes or eyebrows.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is often associated with dandruff. It mainly affects the scalp, but it can also cause dry, scaly patches to appear on other oily parts of the body. It can be the face, upper back, and chest.

The reason is not fully known. But it is believed to be the result of a fungus found in sebum called Malassezia or an autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune disease

Other autoimmune diseases such as dermatomyositis and lupus can also cause a rash on the eyelids. These rashes have more symptoms than allergies. These include weight loss, fever, fatigue, night sweats, muscle aches, and joint pain.

Dermatitis treatment

Both contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are usually treated with topical creams or ointments. Also, low-dose steroids are sometimes used for short periods of time.

Always follow your doctor's instructions when treating eyelid dermatitis.

You can use an over-the-counter, low-potency hydrocortisone cream like Cortaid. However, you should only use it under medical supervision and for no more than 10 days.

Two non-steroidal eczema creams known as Elidel and Protopic are safe for the eyelids. They can be applied twice a day until the rash is completely gone.

Severe cases may require oral administration of low-dose corticosteroids, such as prednisone . This medicine is usually given for no more than one to three weeks to help relieve symptoms.

Summary

A rash on the eyelids is quite common. They can be caused by an allergic reaction, eczema, fungus, or autoimmune disease.

Because the skin on the eyelids is sensitive, you should always consult your doctor for advice on treating eyelid rashes. Treatment may include topical ointments and short-term corticosteroids.

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