Dry Skin on the Eyelids and Brows: Causes and Treatment

Dry and Red Eyelid

Are there instances you have had to deal with dry skin? Dry skin can become more bothersome as you age, especially when it appears on the most delicate areas of the skin - your eyelids and brows.

Skin relies on water and oils that the body produces naturally to stay healthy and elastic. If this moisture is lacking for some reason, the skin can dry out. This usually results in itchy or scaly skin, feelings of tightness or stinging, or even peeling. Dry skin can prove uncomfortable, and for some people, it may even make them feel more self-conscious if the skin takes on a scaly or rough appearance, or if they scratch enough to cause bleeding.

Eyelid skin is 80% thinner than that of the rest of the body, so it tends to be a bit more vulnerable and easily irritated. If a medical condition is causing the dry skin, your eyes and vision may be affected. That is why MotherSage offers high-quality, invigorating and hydrating CBD skincare products made from the very best natural ingredients.

In this guide, we’ll inform you about what causes dry eyelids and brows and how best to treat and prevent the causes. With some extra attention, the skin around your eyes will look and feel much better in no time.

Let’s first unfold the basic eyelids and brows structure.


Eyelids and Eyebrow Skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It protects the body against germs, regulates body temperature and enables touch (tactile) sensations. Its main layers include the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis and is prone to many problems, including skin cancer, acne, wrinkles and rashes.

The skin of the eyebrow represents a transition zone between the thinner skin of the eyelids and the thicker skin of the forehead and scalp. The eyebrow skin is thick with a correspondingly thick layer such as that of the scalp, and it consists of more fibrous tissue than fat. Eyebrows protect the eyes from dirt, debris and sweat, and the blink reflex, which protects the eyes from foreign bodies.

On the other hand, the eyelids are essential to protect the eye. The surface of the eye (cornea) must remain constantly moist, so the eyelid is responsible for spreading the tear film evenly across the surface. When we sleep, the eyelids don’t simply block out light, they keep the cornea from drying out. The eyelid skin is the thinnest and most mobile skin in the body. This allows the formation of a thin upper eyelid skin fold and facilitates the spontaneous, quick blinking movement of the eyelid.

Causes of Dry Eyelids and Brows

There are diverse reasons as to why your eyelid and brow can get dry—some may be in your control, while others aren't. Let’s cover a quick overview of the most common eyelid and ‘dry brow’ causes.


While rubbing your eyes may feel great at the moment, especially during allergy season, eye doctors warn against rubbing your eyes. It can be hard to break the habit, but knowing that it can lower your risk of spreading infections and pink eye, offers one great incentive. 

Chronic eye rubbing can also weaken or distort your cornea, hence avoid it.

What Causes Itchy Eyes?


Dry Skin Naturally

If you naturally have dry skin, you should know that having extra-dry eyelids is not out of the ordinary. Because the skin is thinner and more susceptible to damage, it may be the first spot to dry out on your face.

What's more, plenty of people often forget about the eyelids and brows when layering hydrating serums and moisturisers on. While you should be more careful about which products you select, the eye skin does need some moisturising too. 


Another reason you might be experiencing dry skin around the eyes is that you’re getting older. As your skin matures, it produces less sebum — your skin’s natural oil — which may lead to dryness. 

Also, the fat around the eyes decreases with age, making the eyelid skin even thinner and more prone to dryness and irritation.

Environmental Factors

Some dry skin on the eyelids and brows may be seasonal—as fall and winter tend to lack humidity. Plus, a chilly breeze can give the delicate eye skin a wind rash, irritation, and dryness.

Additionally, if you are repeatedly exposed to hot water, you may also experience dry eyelids. This may be from hot showers or excessive face washing.

Sun Damage

If you're not going to put sunscreen on the eyelids, then you should be wearing sunglasses. 

Beyond the risk of accelerated skin ageing, excess sun can also cause precancerous lesions that can occur around the eyelid and brow region appearing as dry, scaly, sharp red bumps.

Contact Dermatitis 

Eyelids are a common location for contact dermatitis because the skin in this area is delicate, and we often touch our eye area - which means we are exposing this skin to potential irritants and allergens on our fingers.

Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when the area around your eyelids comes into contact with an irritating substance. You don't need to be allergic to the substance. 

For example, makeup, nail polish or eye cream may cause irritant contact dermatitis even if you aren't allergic to any of the ingredients.

Atopic Dermatitis 

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) can sometimes affect the eyelids. Even if you don't have eczema on your entire face, you can still have eczema patches on the eyelids. It’s extra important to use eczema-safe products in these areas.


Like eczema, rosacea can affect one part of the face such as the lids, brows or the face as a whole. Rosacea can show up as redness and sensitivity but also as small pimple-like bumps. 

In cases like these, be sure to see a dermatologist to determine whether or not you have rosacea before trying to clear it up on your own.


Blepharitis commonly occurs when tiny oil glands near the base of the eyelashes become clogged, causing irritation and redness. 

Several diseases and conditions can cause blepharitis. It’s often a chronic condition that's difficult to treat. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and unsightly. But it usually doesn't cause permanent damage to your eyesight, and it's not contagious.

 What Causes Blepharitis


The eyelids may be particularly sensitive to drying out. If you're lacking water - whether internal or external - that may be contributing to dry eyelids (and dry eyes, as well). 


Smoking can have many effects on the body, eyes included. Smoking causes decreased blood flow to the skin, which in turn inhibits optimal delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the skin. This can lead to dry, dull skin.


Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and eyeball. This membrane is called the conjunctiva. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become swollen and irritated, they're more visible. 

This is what causes the whites of the eyes to appear reddish or pink. 

Pink eye is most often caused by a viral infection. It also can be caused by a bacterial infection, an allergic reaction or - in babies - a partially opened tear duct.

Makeup Use & Sleeping in Makeup. 

The kind of mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow you wear all impact your eye health and the health of your eyelid and brow skin.f you sleep in your makeup (it happens to most ladies on occasion, but still try to avoid it when you can), your risk is even higher.

Sleeping in your makeup may increase the chance that the products drip into the eye itself or sit on the lid for too long and cause irritation. 


Symptoms of Dry Eyelids

Dry eyelid symptoms can range from tedious to severe, but no matter their severity, they can be incredibly frustrating. 

If your eyelids are irritated, you may experience some of these common symptoms:

  • Dry Skin
  • Scaly Skin
  • Flaky Skin
  • Roughness
  • Redness or discoloration
  • Itchiness
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Swelling
  • Soreness or pain

Related Reading: Common Dry Skin Symptoms, their Causes and How to Effectively Manage Dry Skin 


How do you Treat Dry Skin Around the Eyes?

To effectively treat dry, itchy skin around the eyes, your skincare routine needs to include natural products which do not cause any further deterioration in the skin’s ability to hold onto hydration and ideally would also replenish the skin’s missing natural moisture.

Cleansing Dry Skin Around the Eyes

Because the skin around your eyes is particularly delicate, to effectively cleanse the eye area without irritating you should use gentle eye make-up removers and cleansers. Opt for facial cleansers that contain no colourants or perfumes that can irritate the skin, and have been dermatologically tested on dry skin. 

It’s also best to avoid applying cosmetic products containing fragrances and preservatives to the eye area, as these may exacerbate any dryness and irritation.

Moisturising Dry Skin Around the Eyes

It is important to use moisturisers which restore the skin’s moisture balance but are also gentle enough to be used on the eye area. 

Moisturisers containing natural ingredients such as CBD, shea butter and jojoba oils bind moisture into the upper layers of the skin, helping keep the skin hydrated and soft.

How to Moisturise the Eye Area

Protect Dry Skin from Sun Exposure

To protect dry skin around the eyes from sun damage, it is advisable to reduce sun exposure by wearing sunscreen and protective sunglasses outside. 

When using sunscreen on dry skin, ensure that the product used is effective at blocking UV rays and also contains moisturising ingredients that hydrate the skin. Sunscreens which contain irritating perfumes and colourants should be avoided as these can irritate.

Avoiding Contributing Factors

In addition to having a good skin cleansing and moisturising routine, it is best to avoid contributing factors that can worsen dry skin patches around the eyes. 

Contributing factors could include:

  • Avoid both hot and cold climates by spending less time outside and using a humidifier indoors when indoor heating is on. 
  • Avoid washing your face with hot water. It is best to use warm water instead to prevent stripping the skin of its natural oils. Washing your face too frequently can also dry out the skin. Pat the skin dry instead of rubbing it.
  • Consult your doctor about hay fever medical treatments such as antihistamines if the dry skin around your eyes is being caused by a reaction to pollen.
  • Ensure that you drink enough water, especially those who are elderly as they are more prone to dehydration.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, including vegetables, fruits and antioxidant-rich foods. Avoid processed foods, fizzy drinks and refined carbohydrates.
  • Avoid standing or sitting close to heat sources like heaters or fireplaces.


When to See a Doctor about Dry Skin

Sometimes, dry eyelids and brows are severe enough that you may want to see an expert - like a dermatologist or an ophthalmologist - to figure out what's causing the dryness and how to treat it.

If your dry eyelids are the result of an allergic reaction, for example, your doctor can help pinpoint the allergen and suggest skincare products for sensitive skin. 

If caused by an underlying health condition, your doctor will be instrumental in finding the best treatment and can prescribe medication if needed.


The Bottom Line on Eye Area Dry Skin

More than just beauty for make-up, the eyelid and brow are a powerhouse of components with diverse functions as seen above. Attend to them with great hygiene and they will reward you with good eye health.

There’s no reason to panic if you have dry skin on your eyelids or brows. There are many different reasons the condition occurs, and many instances of dry skin on the eyelids can be treated at home and prevented in the future.

Underlying health conditions causing dry eyelids and brows should be treated by your doctor, especially those that persist or get worse with time.

There’s much more about skincare you can learn from our wide collection - if that's what you're looking for, check out our CBD skincare guide too.

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