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Causes of Dry Skin Around The Eyes

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A woman looking into the mirror and pointing her fingers under her eyes where she has dry skin.

If you feel like the skin around your eyes is drier than usual, you aren’t alone—this is much more common than many think. The skin around your eyes is extremely delicate, which can make it more susceptible to drying out, usually due to:

  • Allergies
  • Reactions to Food
  • Problems with oil production
  • Environmental factors
  • Skin conditions or other medical problems
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Poor skincare

Fortunately, dryness around the eyes can be treated by your optometrist. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam, determine what is causing your skin problems, and recommend a personalized treatment plan.


Allergies occur in response to many different triggers and are often one of the most common causes of dry skin around the eyes. No matter the cause, allergies are your immune system’s response to foreign materials it perceives as threats by releasing antibodies.

These antibodies can lead to inflammation and irritation, especially in more delicate or sensitive areas—like the skin around your eyes. Extended inflammation can lead to the skin temporarily losing the ability to function properly, meaning it has more difficulty retaining water or moisture, leading to dehydration and dry, itchy skin. 

Reactions to Food

If you’re allergic—or even sensitive—to foods that include dairy, sugar, or gluten, this may be causing your dry skin. For example, if you have an allergy to dairy, your body releases histamines every time you consume it. This causes inflammation, which can disrupt how healthy your skin is—especially in sensitive areas like around the eyes.

Similar to an allergic response, your body reacts to foods that you may have an intolerance for. When your body has a reaction to something it can’t tolerate, like sugar or gluten, it often leads to inflammation that can affect overly sensitive areas.

This can be particularly noticeable around the eyes, as the skin is thin and sensitive to change. Inflammation in this area caused by allergic reactions or food intolerances can lead to redness, itchiness, and irritation.

Reduced Oil Production

As we age, our skin undergoes all kinds of changes. One of these changes leads to a reduction in how much oil your skin produces. The skin around your eyes is particularly vulnerable to aging. 

Skin & Medical Conditions

Skin or medical conditions can also play a part in developing dry skin around the eyes. These often include:

  • Eczema: An inflammatory skin condition causing itchiness, dry skin, rashes, scaly patches, and blisters.
  • Blepharitis: Inflammation of the eyelids causing flakes on the eyelashes, loss of eyelashes, eye redness, dry eyes, light sensitivity, and eye irritation. 
  • Psoriasis: A chronic autoimmune condition characterized by red elevated patches and flaking silvery scales.
  • Hyperthyroidism: A condition that prevents the thyroid from releasing enough hormone. It can lead to various issues, including dry skin. 
  • Rosacea: A chronic skin condition primarily affecting the face, causing redness, zits, and patches of dry skin, especially around the eyes.

Poor Skincare

Your skincare routine may be contributing to your dry skin. Avoid using harsh cleansers or products that aren’t designed specifically for your skin. Exfoliating too much or not protecting your skin from the sun can also lead to problems.

A dermatologist can help develop a personalized skincare routine for your skin.

Lifestyle Habits

Your skin is like an open book, and various lifestyle factors can affect its condition. These include:

  • Excessive alcohol use: Alcohol causes dehydration and contributes to dry skin. Remember to stay hydrated—especially if you plan on drinking.
  • Smoking: Smoking narrows blood vessels and restricts oxygen flow, leading to dry skin and premature aging.
  • Poor diet: Your diet and nutrition are important in every aspect of your body, especially your skin. Eat a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats to support the health of your skin.
  • Poor sleep: Sleep is essential, and insufficient sleep can impact your skin. Try to get between 7–9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Chronic stress: Stress can disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance, leading to water retention and dry skin.

Environmental Factors

Dry skin around the eyes can also be caused by external environmental factors like:

  • Cold weather
  • Low humidity
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Exposure to moving air, like wind, fans, or air conditioning units
  • Hot showers or baths

To promote hydrated, healthy skin, use a humidifier when indoors and sunscreen to protect your skin when outside. 

An optometrist performing a slit-lamp exam on his patient.

Treating Dry Skin Around the Eyes

When dealing with any condition in or around the eyes, your first step should be to visit your optometrist. As an eye care professional, they can examine and diagnose the cause of the dryness and recommend a personalized treatment to address your specific concerns.

At See and Be Seen Eyecare, we know how irritating dry skin around the eyes can be. Book an appointment with us today, and let’s work together to find out what’s causing your dry skin.

Written by Dr. Ritesh Patel

Some people grow up wanting to be a famous athlete, an astronaut, or even the Prime Minister of Canada. Dr. Patel’s childhood ambition was to be an Optometrist. His dream leads him to live and practice all over the world, but his heart has always been in Toronto.

Dr. Patel was born in Toronto and grew up in the Markham area. After completing his Bachelor of Science in 2003 from the University of Waterloo, he went on to study at the prestigious New England College of Optometry in Boston, MA.

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