James thanks his dubious genetics for his many frustrating skin-related ailments.
Many conditions lead to dry flaky skin either enveloping or appearing in isolated patches around the eye or eyelid.
Fortunately, despite being a frustrating and aesthetically unpleasant experience, these skin conditions are rarely serious and can be treated effectively with some easy-to-do home remedies (although not entirely cured in all cases).
In any case, an on-site medical diagnosis is a sure-fire way to know the nature of your enemy.
Due to the nature of these conditions, and the numerous symptoms and causes, I will attempt to narrow our search via some self-diagnosis. I will later expand upon the remedies the more common ailments have access to.
Here I'll discuss:
- Symptoms of Dry Flaky Skin
- Self-Diagnosing Dry Skin
- Home Remedies for Flaky Dry Eyelids
- Popular Commercial Creams and Gels
- Preventing Flare-Ups
- When to See a Doctor
Symptoms of Dry Flaky Skin
Most dry-skin conditions are exacerbated by the natural sensitivity of the eyelid. Your typical symptoms can include:
- Inflammation and redness.
- Burning sensations or unpleasant warmth.
- Swelling and pain.
Self-Diagnosing Dry Skin
In order to better understand what kind of condition we're dealing with, let's ask ourselves the following questions and rule each out as it no longer applies.
Do You Suffer From Allergies?
Have you recently changed or bought a new product? These could include:
- Hair Dye (if you have, look out for the ingredient p-Phenylenediamine—a well-known hyper-allergenic substance)
- Facial Cleansers
- Insect bites
- Contact lens solutions
If you suspect that dry skin is being triggered by something specific, suspending or changing the product will likely resolve the problem almost immediately.
Bear in mind that sudden discontinuation of a long-term moisturizer can also exacerbate dry skin.
Types of Dermatitis
These skin conditions require a medical diagnosis to be sure but feel free to take a guess.
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- Blepharitis: Accompanied by a distinct swelling of the eyelids caused by bacteria.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis: Itchy rash. Usually looks like a red patch on light skin or a dark patch on light skin. Can be triggered via stress.
- Atopic Dermatitis: Red, flaky, and very itchy. Tends to be a chronic condition with occasional flare-ups. Entails small red bumps which can leak when cracked or scratched.
Other Common Causes
- Psoriasis: A trip to the dermatologist will be necessary to provide you with adequate and targeted treatment.
- The weather: Exposure to the cold or heat or a mere changing of the seasons can lead to a bout of dermatitis.
- Pollution: Pollution contains irritants that can upset the fragile and sensitive skin on the eyelids.
- Demodex Mites: Do you share makeup? These mites are contagious and are often unwittingly shared. Can lead to severe eye irritation and blepharitis.
- Diabetes: Compromised tear production can lead to irritation of the skin due to rubbing or scratching.
- Aging: As you age, there is generally a reduction in the production of natural oils that moisturize the eyes. This doesn't happen overnight, however. Look for a gradual change.
10 Home Remedies for Flaky Dry Eyelids
By now you should have a vague idea of what you're dealing with.
The good news is there's a great deal we can do to improve our symptoms and prevent them from reoccurring. The bad news is some of these conditions are chronic, and the best we can do is manage our flare-ups.
A Word of Caution
None of these remedies should be used directly on the eyelid. The best solution for dry eyelids is improved self-care. Drinking water, decreasing alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking are all examples of healthy lifestyle choices that can help improve your eyelids.
Only apply the following substances on the area of the face surrounding the eyes after performing a small patch test to be sure you aren't allergic.
1. Jojoba oil
Mimics your skin's own oily sebum and both moisturizes and cleanses.
2. Rose water
Used extensively in perfume and moisturizer products, it suits our needs because of its anti-inflammatory nature.
3. Warm compresses
Lossen clogged oils by placing a warm compress on the affected area for a couple of minutes. Add some pressure to attempt to squeeze trapped oils out.
4. Coconut oil
Works similarly to jojoba oil. A natural emollient you can use to moisturize your face and eyelids naturally.
5. Olive oil and honey scrub
An effective moisturizer and anti-inflammatory solution. Mix 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoons of organic honey to create the paste.
6. Shea butter scrub
You can whip up a paste by adding coconut or avocado oil to the butter and a few drops of vanilla extract.
7. Avocado oil
Used by itself or in combination with shea butter. Avocado oil contains a high number of anti-oxidants to help reduce oxidative stress.
8. Milk Compresses
Milk contains lactic acid which is a mild natural exfoliant. Don't use it on cracked skin or visibly damaged skin.
9. Aloe vera
If you grow the plant yourself, you can cut and prepare your own gel.
10. Oatmeal soak
Add a cup of oatmeal to a warm bath and soak the skin. Helps soothe and moisturize.
5 Popular Commercial Creams and Gels
You'll want to research whether or not the OTC cream is a fit for your symptoms.
1. Aloe vera gel
You'll want to spread a little gel on the dry skin. Make sure it is alcohol-free before applying!
A popular commercial cream that is clinically proven to repair irritated or cracked skin.
A carbamide-containing cream that alleviates coarseness, dryness, and itching.
4. Calcineurin inhibitors
A cream that is used to treat inflammatory disorders, can also be taken orally.
5. Hypochlorous acid
Hypochlorous Acid is a cleansing solution that kills bacteria, toxins and reduces inflammation.
A few easy tips can greatly improve existing flare-ups and prevent them from reoccurring.
- Avoid dehydration. No excuses here. Drink plenty of water!
- Moisturize. Even when everything is feeling the way it should.
- Avoid rubbing dry eyes. That itch will only get worse.
- Wear shades and use sunscreen. Over-exposure will damage the skin and cause dry patches. Make sure you aren't allergic to sunscreen before applying!
- Double-check your cosmetics. Some cosmetics contain irritants that will trigger certain people and not others. Also, remove makeup daily to avoid irritation.
- Get a humidifier. Add moisture directly to the environment around you.
- Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. Cut down on processed food and switch to an anti-inflammatory diet (it's easier and tastier than you think).
- Drink milk. Do not apply milk directly to your face if you have cracked or broken skin, instead, drink a glass as you normally would. Some studies have shown the phospholipids contained in milk improve skin barrier function.
- Limit warm baths or showers. Exposure to hot temperatures over time can damage the skin.
When to See a Doctor
There may, unfortunately, come a point where either nothing seems to be working, or your condition deteriorates and medical intervention becomes necessary.
Here's a little checklist:
- If your symptoms aren't going away.
- If your skin is chronically cracked (secondary risk of infection).
- If none of these home remedies are working.
- If your vision is affected.
- If you are seeing signs of infection (skin is cracking, signs of pus, swelling, pain e.t.c).
If you notice some or all of the above, a trip to the doctor is advisable.
- Maul, J.-T., Maul, L. V., Kägi, M., Cheng, P., Anzengruber, F., von Laue, M., Chen, Y., Kägi, M., & Navarini, A. (2020, December). Skin recovery after discontinuation of long-term moisturizer application: A split-face comparison pilot study. Dermatology and therapy. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7649173/
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, January 25). Dry skin - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/symptoms-causes/syc-20353885
- Improvement of mild inflammatory changes of the ... - dr. Jetske Ultee. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.dr-jetskeultee.nl/download/common/artikel-winter-huid-2.pdf
- WebMD. (n.d.). Special care for damaged and broken skin. WebMD. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/eczema-heal-cracked-skin
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2011 James Nelmondo
Mike on February 05, 2012:
I have this condition and my doctor advised using a 'polytar' or coal tar shampoo such as Neutrogena T/Gel along with applying some over-the-counter cortisone topical ointment. Back to normal after 4-5 days..
James Nelmondo (author) from Genova, Italy on July 21, 2011:
Rose Frankie on July 21, 2011:
Nice informative Hub
James Nelmondo (author) from Genova, Italy on July 17, 2011:
Thanks for the feedback guys, Moon: glad to see you nailed it.
Victor Mavedzenge from Oakland, California on July 17, 2011:
Good information.Thanks for sharing,as a typical man, I get stunted when it comes to skin care.This will come in handy at some point
moonlake from America on July 17, 2011:
I had this problem with dry skin on my eye lids never had it before. I figured out it was a new shampoo I was using.