Dealing with Dry Skin Around Eyes: Causes and Effective Solutions

Dinesh Patel
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Dr. Kaushal

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dry skin around eyes

Dry skin around eyes can be irritating, uncomfortable, and concerning, but it’s a common issue many people face. 

The skin around our eyes is delicate and sensitive, making it prone to dryness and irritation.

The dryness around the eyes can be caused due to aging, weather, and underlying skin conditions like Eczema, Blepharitis, or contact Dermatitis.

Understanding these causes and how to treat them effectively can help you achieve healthier and normal skin around the eyes.

This article will look at the causes, symptoms, and solutions for dry skin around eyes.

Symptoms of dry skin around eyes

Dry skin around eyes has symptoms ranging from mild to severe:

Mild dry skin around eyes may present with:

  • Patches of scaly skin
  • Roughness and tightness
  • Flakiness and itchiness

Severe dry skin around eyes may include:

  • Red, sore, and damaged skin
  • Stinging or burning sensations
  • Peeling and swelling
  • Cracked skin, susceptible to infections
  • Premature wrinkles due to reduced elasticity

Causes of dry skin around eyes

Dry skin around eyes can result from various factors:

Environmental causes

sunlight exposureSource: Doucefleur from Getty Images
Sunlight exposure

Some weather conditions and environmental factors can cause dry skin around the eyes:

  • Harsh weather conditions: Cold, dry winters and hot, arid climates can strip the skin of moisture
  • UV sunlight exposure: The delicate eye area is often exposed to UV light, contributing to skin aging and dryness

Underlying skin conditions

Dry skin around eyes can often be attributed to underlying skin conditions. 

Here are some of the underlying skin conditions discussed in the article that can cause dry skin around the eyes:

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Atopic Dermatitis is a common type of Eczema and can affect the eyelids and the skin around the eyes. 

It typically leads to dry, itchy, and swollen skin. Over time, the affected skin may become thicker and darker. 

The Muller muscle, a tiny muscle in the eyelid, is very thin, measuring only 0.1 to 0.5 millimeters thick, making it more susceptible to dryness.

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

Eczema primarily affects areas with a high concentration of oil-producing glands, including the eyelids. 

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis can result in dry, scaly skin around the margins of the eyelids. 

It is often associated with a “gritty” feeling in the eyes.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis can cause dry skin around eyes when the skin comes into contact with irritants or allergens found in skincare products, makeup, or hair dye. 

Rubbing the eyes after touching an irritant or allergen can transfer it to the eyelids.


Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid skin, often linked to bacterial reactions on the skin. 

The eyelids become red, and itchy with dandruff-like scale, crusting around the eye, and dry eye.

Neglecting Blepharitis can result in complications like Styes (painful lumps on the eyelids), Corneal damage, or chronic Dry eye syndrome. These conditions can cause lasting discomfort and may require more intensive treatment.

Allergic Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

While not a skin condition per se, Conjunctivitis can also contribute to dryness around the eyes. 

Allergic Conjunctivitis, triggered by allergens like dust mites or animal fur, is often treated with eye drops designed to alleviate symptoms. 

Paradoxically, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction to these very eye drops, a condition known as contact dermatoconjunctivitis. 

This allergic response can leading to dryness and soreness of the eyelids.

Treating dry skin around eyes

Effectively treating dry skin around eyes involves addressing its underlying causes and implementing a suitable skincare routine:


Moisturizing is an important part of skincare to keep the dryness away. 

  • Select eye creams or moisturizers that are gentle enough for the eye area
  • Look for products containing compounds like Urea and Lactate to bind moisture and keep the skin hydrated.

Sun protection

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sunlightSource: robertprzybysz_from_Getty_Images

The UV rays from the sun have the potential to damage the skin over time, including dry eyes.

  • Wear sunscreen and protective sunglasses to shield the eye area from UV damage
  • Opt for sunscreens without perfumes and colorants.

Underlying conditions

Dry eyes caused by underlying skin conditions often require specialized care to alleviate symptoms and improve eye comfort.

  • Atopic Dermatitis: It requires a skincare routine, moisturizers, and topical medications like Corticosteroids or immunomodulators. Consult a doctor if eye-related complications occur
  • Blepharitis: Managing Blepharitis includes warm compresses, gentle eyelid massage, artificial tears, and temporarily avoiding contact lenses
  • Contact Dermatitis: Discontinuing the use of the triggering product usually resolves contact dermatitis. Mild creams and emollients are recommended, with the possibility of steroid or calcineurin inhibitor creams in severe cases
  • Conjunctivitis: Home treatment with cold compresse may help. Medical treatment, including antiviral medications, may be necessary in some cases
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  • Conclusion

    Dry skin around the eyes can be a bothersome condition, but understanding its causes and adopting effective solutions can lead to healthier, more comfortable skin. 

    The skin around our eyes is thin and sensitive, making it prone to dryness and irritation, and various factors can contribute to this issue.

    Environmental factors like harsh weather conditions, UV sunlight exposure, and seasonal changes play a role, as do skincare habits. 

    Furthermore, underlying skin conditions such as Eczema, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis, Contact Dermatitis, and Blepharitis can also lead to dry skin around eyes.

    To manage Dry skin effectively, it’s essential to use moisturizers and sunscreens. 

    Tailored treatments and medical advice may be necessary for those with underlying skin conditions. 

    By taking proactive steps and understanding the unique nature of the skin around the eyes, you can maintain healthy and comfortable skin, reducing dryness and discomfort.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What causes dry skin around eyes?

    Dry skin around eyes can result from various factors, including environmental conditions like harsh weather, UV exposure, and seasonal changes. Furthermore, skincare habits, underlying skin conditions like Eczema, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis, Contact Dermatitis, and Blepharitis.

    How can I maintain long-term eye-skin health?

    To maintain healthy eye skin, adopt a gentle skincare routine, use suitable products, stay hydrated, and protect your skin from UV damage. Additionally, consult a healthcare professional for any underlying skin conditions.

    Can stress cause Dry skin under the eyes?

    Yes, stress can indeed lead to Dry skin under the eyes. When stressed, our bodies release the hormone Cortisol, disrupting the skin’s natural barrier function. This disruption can decrease natural moisturizing factors’ production, leading to skin dryness.

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