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Eczema around the eyes is one of the most common places you’ll find the skin condition. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the most visible.
At a young age we’re taught to “look people in the eyes”, however eye eczema can make us want to avoid eye contact. We apply lotions and plenty of make-up in efforts to hide our skin. Sometimes the same products we apply also make eczema worse (red and itchy).
Today I’ll share how to treat eczema around the eyes and I’ll share natural remedies that have worked for me. I grew up with eye eczema and 30 years later I still have it. It can be frustrating. This article should provide some ideas to help reduce eczema quickly.
The Various Stages Of Eye Eczema
Most people who experience eczema know the feeling but don’t fully understand the stages. In my experience there are four main stages:
- It begins with an itch
- Then becomes red
- The skin may or may not weep
- Last is the dry, peeling skin as the skin toughens up
For me the worst stages are the red, weeping skin. It looks and feels awful and if the skin is damaged it can lead to infection.
Although the final stage (dry skin) is unsightly, it can usually be managed with proper moisturizing. I carry moisturizer with me and apply it around my eyes 2-3 times per day.
The treatment can take up to a week but my eczema is usually clearing within 2-3 days.
Most Common Treatment For Eczema Around The Eyes
Most people treat their eye eczema with one of three products; lotion, cortisone cream, or Vaseline. These three options are easy to find in our medicine cabinets and are useful for dry skin, rashes, and scar healing.
Although they are useful and might help your eczema they aren’t the best natural remedies. Let’s look at each option.
There are tons of lotion brands to choose from. Many are scented. Most have synthetic ingredients. And all have different consistencies (thick, watery, creamy).
As a general rule, scented lotions aren’t usually a good idea around thin, sensitive skin. If you experience eczema regularly you want to avoid scented lotions.
The ingredients of lotions can be confusing and difficult to pronounce. I’m not sure why so many synthetic ingredients are used but I know they can’t be the best option for skin. There are plenty of reports about sunscreen lotion ingredients being found in urine samples so we know that your skin absorbs the moisturizers we apply.
When I use lotion I use Cetaphil, a non-scented, non-greasy lotion that is made specifically for eczema. I’ve used Cetaphil for years on my body but I still try to avoid using it around my eyes where the skin is thin.
When I was young cortisone cream was my go-to product on my face. Cortisone cream does work well to make eczema go away however it’s a steroid hormone and there are cases of skin and eye damage if used long-term.
The steroid in cortisone cream helps reduce inflammation of the skin and significantly reduces the itchy feeling.
Although cortisone cream is an over-the-counter medicine it has warnings for side-effects which include among others:
- Adrenal suppression
- Skin thinning
There are many more potential side-effects. The instructions recommend not using around the eyes but it might be tolerable if for a short period of time.
I used cortisone cream around my eyes for years before realizing that I probably wasn’t a good idea.
In my opinion, cortisone cream should be viewed as a treatment option only for severe cases of eye eczema.
Vaseline is a natural substance a by-product of oil extraction (yes you read that correct). Vaseline can be a great option for dry skin and to create a seal over the top of the skin.
Applying Vaseline to eczema depends on the stage of eczema. I’ve made the mistake of applying Vaseline to red, itchy, weeping skin and created more problems for myself because my irritated skin couldn’t breathe – the Vaseline was smothering my irritated skin.
Vaseline can stain pillows and clothes. It also happens to make the face shiny so it was never an option I used in public. Occasionally I applied Vaseline to my eyes at night to soothe dry skin, however, I’d only recommend using Vaseline during the healing stage and not when the skin around the eyes is irritated.
Natural Remedies For Treating Eczema Around the Eyes
Ice and Milk
I began icing my eyes on days that I experienced bad allergies – allergies caused my eye eczema. Ice helped reduce inflammation and soothe the itch however when I wiped away the moisture my skin became more dried out.
I learned about combining ice cubes and a paper towel dipped in milk and/or using ice cubes made of milk. Milk contains oils, lactic acid, and vitamin A which are great for nourishing dry irritated skin.
When my eyes break out with eczema the milk and ice is the first action I take to calm and soothe the skin (more good ideas for skin around eyes).
Natural oils like grape seed oil and coconut oil are effective natural remedies to help heal eczema around the eyes.
Some oils like those from olives are heavy and won’t rub in as well, but grape and coconut can rub into the skin and won’t leave your face shiny (just give it 10 minutes or so to soak in).
My nightly routine includes applying a few drops of grapeseed oil to my entire face in the morning and before bed. I prefer it to lotions because it’s natural and doesn’t have a scent.
Plus these oils are loaded with fatty acids and vitamins E, C, D. You can feel good about using them because they only have 1 ingredient!
Treatment Tips For Eczema Around The Eyes
Understanding your eczema is key before trying to treat it. Below are a few of my best tips for treating eczema around the eyes.
Understand The Dry/Wet Feeling Of Eczema
Know the stages of eczema. Sometimes eczema around your eyes will feel wet and weepy, while other times will feel dry and chapped.
The healing process usually includes dry skin and that’s when moisturizers can be most beneficial.
Timing Is Important (Bathing and Sleeping)
Moisturizing after bathing and before sleeping is extremely important to minimize dry, scaly skin. I always take a bath rather than shower and I make a point to moisturize within a few minutes of exiting the tub.
Over the course of 8 hours of sleep, your skin will dry out. Be sure you moisturize your eyes thoroughly right before sleeping to help your skin heal overnight.
Before you leave for work in the morning be sure to apply more moisturizer to the skin around your eyes.
Keep Extra Moisturizer In Car and At Work
I always keep an extra bottle of moisturizer at work and in the car. It works well for treating eczema throughout the day when the skin around the eyes dries out.
Dry skin will feel and look bad. A light moisturizer will help keep skin supple and not make you appear greasy.
How Your Activities Affect Your Eyes
One of the most important things to consider is why you are getting eczema around the eyes.
If it’s an uncommon occurrence then there’s no need to worry. But if you’re like me and experience eczema around your eyes year-round then knowing the reason is important.
It took me years to discover that allergens (pollen, dust mites, and mold) were causing my eczema to flare. I knew I had eczema but I didn’t understand why it was always inflamed.
My allergies and eczema had a synergistic effect on my body and when the allergens entered my eyes it caused my skin to flare.
I addressed my allergies and have my eczema under control. Eczema can be related to environmental allergies and food allergies.
If eczema around your eyes is chronic I recommend investigating why it occurs. I waited too long to find out!
Treating eczema around the eyes is an important step to take. Many people don’t know which moisturizer to apply or whether they should ice or wash their face.
Once you understand the four stages of eczema you can better treat the skin around your eyes. The skin on our eyelids is thin and delicate.
Depending on your individual situation it might be a bad idea to apply synthetic lotions and cortisone creams around your eyes.
I prefer using natural remedies like ice, and milk, as well as grape seed oil or coconut oil. These options give me peace of mind knowing they won’t harm my skin or body.
Be sure to understand the stages of eczema, apply moisturizer after bathing and before bed, and always keep extra moisturizer in your car and at work to minimize the potential for dry, scaly skin.
Most importantly, try to understand why you’re experiencing eczema around your eyes. For me it was allergies. Understanding why allows you to better treat eczema around your eyes.