Summary of the issue

Eyelid eczema

Your eyes itch, your eyelids swell and redden. This may be a sign of an eczema flare-up. Eyelid eczema is common and can affect both the upper and lower eyelids as well as the eye area. This particular location is rather disabling and noticeable. Solutions exist to prevent and soothe the condition.

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What are the signs of eyelid eczema?

 Eyelid eczema manifests through the appearance of red patches and flaky areas on the upper or lower eyelid. Above all, it’s very itchy and causes an irrepressible urge to scratch. This prolongs and aggravates the inflammation and promotes the formation of oedema. In other words, the eyelid is swollen and fragilized.

Eyelid eczema can be very painful. The dryness of this very thin skin can feel tight with every blink, preventing you from opening your eyes properly and therefore from seeing.

Stéphanie MerhandFounder of the French Eczema Association

The causes of eye and eyelid eczema

Eyelid eczema is most often contact eczema. The cause can be direct or indirect contact with the allergen.

Contact direct

The allergy that triggers eyelid eczema is sometimes caused by cosmetic products applied around the eyes. But it can also be caused by contact lenses, shampoo or eye drops.

Indirect contact through hands or air

By rubbing the eyes, certain allergens on the hands can trigger eyelid eczema. These may be nail polish or skin care creams. Indirect contact can also occur via the air. Fragrances, pollens or animal hair can be involved.

Atopic eczema

Contact eczema


The right care for the eyes and eyelids

When eczema occurs on the eyelids, your doctor may prescribe a cortisone cream to soothe the itching, taking into account the fragility and thinness of the eyelid skin. Cortisone therapy on the eyelids is a prescription that must be adhered to very strictly. Another treatment is possible: an ointment with an immunosuppressive effect. This helps to reduce the inflammation by locally calming the excessive action of the immune system. Then, as the skin needs to be restored and relieved, an emollient care product adapted to this fragile area of the body should be applied gently with the fingertips. Finally, when the outbreak is caused by an allergen, it is imperative to identify it in order to avoid any further contact.

Moisturizing rules for adults

The best habits to avoid irritating your eyes and eyelids

The skin around the eyes is particularly fragile. In order to protect it and prevent the occurrence or recurrence of an eczema flare-up, take a few precautions:

  • Wash your face with soap-free, fragrance-free and preservative-free products
  • Use medical make-up 
  • Avoid touching your eyes. And if you do, wash your hands beforehand and touch gently, without rubbing;

Hygiene for adults

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To relieve the sensation of heavy eyelids, you can apply cool thermal water compresses for a few minutes in the morning and/or at bedtime.

Stéphanie MerhandFounder of the French Eczema Association
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