Causes of Allergy Eyelid Rash

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Allergy eyelid rashes are a relatively common medical issue and there are a variety of causes of eyelid rash. The skin that makes up the eyelids is very thin, making is especially vulnerable to allergy-induced rashes. It is important to know about the different causes of eyelid rashes caused by allergies so that patients can identify and then avoid the triggers.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis that affects the eyelids is relatively common. It usually occurs due to an allergic reaction to cosmetics that are applied directly to the eyelids, such as eyeliner and eye shadow. Cosmetics may contain a variety of different antigens that may cause a rash, such as quaternium-15 or formaldehyde. Cobalt or nickel may be present in blue or green-colored cosmetics, and these are commonly known for causing contact dermatitis.

In addition to makeup, conditioners and shampoos may also cause this condition, as can other hair hair products, if any of the product comes into contact with the eyelids.

Chemicals on the hands may cause eyelid rashes if the hands come into contact with eyes.

Atopic Dermatitis

This condition can lead to eyelid dermatitis, usually due to pollens or allergies, mold spores, pet dander, and dust mites. The eyelids may be affected by themselves, but other parts of the body are usually affected, especially in adults. Food allergies may also result in this condition, especially in children, which can possibly include the eyelids and the face.

Other Eyelid Rashes

There are other possible causes of allergy eyelid rashes. Autoimmune diseases may cause eyelid rashes, such as systemic lupus erythematosis and dermatomyositis. If an autoimmune system is the cause, there are usually other symptoms present, such as night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, fevers, and muscle pain and aches.

Eyelid Eczema

This condition causes flaky, itchy, red patches on the upper part of the eyelids. It is usually present in those who experience eczema elsewhere on their bodies. It may also accompany hay fever and other seasonal allergies. Antihistamines are often effective in controlling this condition.

Treating Eyelid Allergies

If atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis are the cause, there are a variety of skin creams available that may be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms. Low-potency topical steroids, such as the hydrocortisone creams available over-the-counter, may be effective, but must only be used short-term and very sparingly. Extreme caution must be used when applying it. Alternative creams include topical calcineurin inhibitors. These are generally safer than topical steroids. These usually do not cause many side effects and they do not lose how effective they are when used long-term. They can be used on most patients older than two years old.


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Hogan, D.J. MD. (2010). Contact Dermatitis, Allergic. Retrieved on January 30, 2011 from eMedicine: