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Dry Skin Patches Around the Eyes

Dry Skin Patches Around the Eyes Dry Skin Patches Around the Eyes

Overview

Whether it's a temporary or chronic problem, dry skin around the eyes can be painful and irritating. There are a variety of conditions and environmental factors that can cause symptoms to occur -- some that require the attention of a doctor. Because dry eye skin can be distressful and sometimes even disfiguring, it is important to understand its causes and treatment options.

Symptoms

Dry patches of skin around the eyes can be accompanied by a variety of symptoms including tightness, flaking, peeling, a rough texture, fine cracks and lines, redness and itching. In some situations, the skin can appear dehydrated or shrunken. In addition, cracks can develop deeply in the skin -- and in severe cases, they can bleed. Besides the eye area, dryness can also appear on other parts of the face and body.

Causes

According to the Medline Plus website, dryness around the eyes can occur during periods of cold weather when forced or heated air is used. This warm air can draw moisture out of the skin, causing irritation and dryness. Harsh facial cleansers, acne products and soaps also can damage the delicate skin around the eyes, stripping away the skin's water and lipids and causing it to peel. Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis also can cause dry skin in the eye area

Treatments

To treat patches of dry skin in the eye area, the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology suggests applying a moisturizer to the face immediately following a facial cleansing or shower. This will help trap moisture into your skin. Run a humidifier in your house, especially during the winter. This can help your skin absorb the moisture it needs. In addition, drink at least eight cups of water every day to hydrate the body from the inside out.

Tips

Avoid harsh facial cleansers and soaps and use caution around the eye area. Use deodorant and fragranced soaps only on the body. Look for facial cleansers that contain moisturizers or emollients to encourage hydration. Although oil-based moisturizers are very effective at trapping moisture into dry skin, they can also clog the pores and cause skin irritation. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests looking for facial products labeled "noncomedogenic" and "oil-free."

Warnings

Dry skin around the eyes that is left untreated can morph into a serious skin condition such as cellulitis. This dangerous infection can travel beneath the skin, affecting the blood vessels and the lymphatic system. Visit a doctor if dry skin is chronic or painful. He can prescribe an ointment or cream containing hydrocortisone. He can also apply an astringent dressing to the area to prevent infection and encourage healing.

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