Dry Skin Under and Around Eyes

Dry Skin Under and Around Eyes - Why?

By SkinCabin

Before we get into the causes for dry skin under and around the eyes, we need to talk about a couple of key points about the skin under the eyes:

  • The skin under and around the eyes is thinner than the skin in other parts of our body. Thin skin is more prone to inflammation, irritation and sensitivity.
  • The glands around the eye area do not produce sebum. Sebum plays an important role in the skin's barrier function. Sebum, along with other fats and lipids, helps the visible layer of skin in preventing water loss through evaporation and prevent environmental nasties from attacking the skin. With no sebum, there is not much barrier function happening around the eye area. This makes the eye area more susceptible to water loss and attacks from external irritants. This causes the skin around the eye area more prone to dehydration, dryness and irritation.
When skin becomes irritated and inflamed, its ability to work as an effective barrier reduces until it recovers. In the case of under and around eyes, irritation and inflammation further, weaken an area that already has a weak barrier, to begin with. A weak barrier makes skin dry and dehydrated.

Now to the reasons for dry skin around and under the eye area:

  • Medical Conditions:
    Dermatological conditions like eczema, psoriasis and blepharitis can lead to dry and inflamed skin. You might need a prescription to treat these. Consult a doctor.

  • Contact Dermatitis:
    An inflammation/dryness that occurs when skin gets in contact with an irritant is called contact dermatitis. The response can be delayed - the inflammation can occur a day or two later. Here are some of the irritants:
    1. Skincare Products
      • Denatured alcohol: Check the ingredients in your skincare products and make sure this is absent. This includes any eye creams you might be using.
      • Surfactants: Certain ingredients in your cleansers can cause irritation. These cleansers include your micellar water too.
      • Makeup removers / Eye makeup removers: Includes solutions and wipes. These can have some harsh ingredients.
      • Acids: Vitamin C serums, acne spot treatments like benzoyl peroxides, chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid and retinol products, can cause irritation around the eye area.
      • Fragrance: Fragrance in your skincare products leads to irritations in many people. Please be aware that some brands mask their fragrance ingredients - so you might not be able to smell them in these products but it is present. Your eye area can detect these even if your nose can't detect them.

      Check the ingredients and try to understand what each ingredient in the product does. Alternatively, type in the product's name in the search bar of skincabin.com and we will tell you what each one does.

    2. Makeup
    3. The solution is to be mindful of the ingredients in the products you are using. Some of the products you should look into are:
      • mascara
      • eyeliner
      • eyelash extensions
      • eye shadows
      • concealers
      An ingredient in these products might be causing irritation. Or maybe the product has expired (check the date). Irritations lead to dry and flaky skin.

    4. Metals
    5. This is an often overlooked area. Certain metals when they come in contact with the eye area can irritate the skin there. Examples of metals your eye area maybe coming in contact with:
      • jewellery item
      • eyelash curler
      • metals in makeup

    6. Nails
    7. A nail polish you are using, the artificial nails, shellac, nail hardeners...something in here can be a cause too.

    8. Hair Products
    9. It could be a shampoo or one of the other hair products you are using.

  • Environment:
    1. Pollen: Allergy to pollen is a common cause of irritated and inflamed skin.
    2. Candles: If you are allergic to fragrances in skincare products, scented candles will cause an allergic reaction in you too.
    3. Pollution and Dust
    4. Airconditioning and Indoor Heating

Do not rub your eye. This can further exacerbate the irritation.

It is important to remember that something that you have been completely fine with in the past, can all of a sudden trigger an allergic reaction in you.

Your reason can be one or more of the above points. The eye area needs extra care. Moisturiser, sunscreen and sunglasses will help.