What Causes Rashes Around Eyes?

Sometimes a red, really dry and itchy rash can develop around the eyes causing a lot of discomfort and pain. There may be many reasons that cause the appearance of the rash around the eyes; from inflammation of the skin or dermatitis, allergic reactions to external agents or indication of a disease like skin cancer. For a better diagnosis, it is important that a dermatologist closely examine what the rash looks like, its color and the frequency with which the rash appears.

Common Causes of Rash Around Eyes

1. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Atopic dermatitis is a common type of eczema, it is chronic in nature and results in skin irritation and dryness along with redness, peeling, hardening, breaking and bleeding of the skin. Atopic dermatitis frequently affects the skin of the scalp, hands, feet, neck and chest. The rash coats the skin of the face particularly around the eyes and the eyelids. Although it is non-contagious, it has recurring characteristics, which makes it impossible to ignore.image001

Condition description

The immediate causes of atopic dermatitis are unknown but some of the common causes are: poor immune system, contact with allergens like pollen grains, colder climates and low humidity, perspiration caused by high temperatures and exposure to skin irritants like certain kinds of soaps.

There is not much evidence suggesting that atopic dermatitis is a genetic condition. Atopic dermatitis worsens with emotional disturbances like stress, anger and frustration.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include: dry scaly patches appear on the affected area, persistent itching of the skin, crusting of the skin which eventually leads to bleeding and redness on the skin causing inflammation


  • Medications

Corticosteroid creams or ointments: Corticosteroid creams or ointments are one of the common treatments of atopic dermatitis; they help in reducing the itching feeling and the redness caused by the conditioned. These creams are of low potency but one needs to follow the doctor’s order, excessive use of these ointments can cause discoloration of the skin, infections and make it susceptible to bruising.

Antibiotics: Those people who have very sensitive skin and easily become victim to the ruthless allergens present all around them might require some antibiotics to help them.

Oral antihistamines: Oral antihistamines provide ease in case of severe itching. Sedating antihistamines like Benadryl come in handy when the patient is unable to sleep due to severe itching.

Oral or injected corticosteroids: This medical treatment comes in last when nothing else works. Some of the possible side effects of corticosteroids include glaucoma, gastrointestinal discomfort, osteoporosis and weakness in the muscles.

Immunomodulators: They help retain the normal appearance of the skin and reduce inflammation caused by atopic dermatitis. Immunomodulators like tacrolimus and pimecrolimus come second in line for the treatment.

  • Anti-itch cream or calamine lotion

A bottle of calamine lotion stacked in the medicine cabinet at home can come in useful when the dangers of atopic dermatitis strike. It helps in protecting and soothes the skin when it is irritated. This topical medication works wonders for the people suffering from the hideous rash and the constant itching. If applied in time, it also helps to reduce the onset of the rash and all the discomfort its prevalence might cause. Application of calamine lotion on the affected area of the sufferer relieves him of the itchiness and prevents further scratching which might cause aggravation.

  • Cool compress

A cold compress is an effective succor when it comes to treating atopic dermatitis at home. An easy way to make a cold compress for the eyes is to use a clean cloth or cotton, soak it in cold water, gently press the cloth or cotton to remove excessive water so that it does not drip and apply it on the affected area. An hourly application of the cold compress ends the burning sensation.

  • Moisturizer

One of the major problems of atopic dermatitis is dryness that causes rash and itching. The solution is to keep skin well moisturized to prevent further deterioration. Pursuing good skincare is one of the essential elements that help in the treatment process. Moisture in the skin retains by applying generous quantities of a good lubricant immediately after taking a bath before the skin starts drying up. Patients suffering from atopic dermatitis should apply emollient creams twice a day, as they are not greasy. Moisturizing creams work best in time since they are better at rehydrating the skin.

  • Humidifier

During the winter season, the air lacks moisture and becomes dry which acts as an open invitation to atopic dermatitis to do its worst. A home humidifier ensures that the moisture in the air retains and assists in keeping the skin lubricated.

2. Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction could be due to the hypersensitivity of the body’s defense system against a particular substance. When an allergic reaction occurs, there is dryness, rashes and inflammation of the area around the eye.

Condition description

There are a number of causes of rash around eyes caused by rashes: food allergies from substances like peanuts, fish, milk, eggs and wheat, any skin contact with pollen and plants like western and eastern poison oak and poison ivy, insect bites, fur of an animal and certain kinds of medications

Symptoms include: watery eyes, redness around the eyes, feelings of itch and presence of hives.


The skin needs moisture treatment in case of a developing allergic rash. The inflammation and the pain or distension caused by the allergy is treated with cooling and healing remedies using a mild baby shampoo. Cotton is soaked in the baby shampoo and use to cleanse the affected area it helps to protect the eyes. In case of severe allergic rash spreading on the lashes, it requires washing out with cotton-soaked-shampoo. Cucumbers are another one of the home remedies that work to reduce the burning sensation caused by allergies. Putting the cucumber slices on the eyes rehydrates them and aid in getting rid of the dryness.

3. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is the exposure of the skin to allergy causing agents or skin irritants. It is either allergic or irritant in nature. Any contact with the allergens or irritants sets off a skin reaction that causes redness, irritation, and inflammation.

Condition description

It is one of the commonest prevailing reasons for a rash around eyes. People who have previously had atopic dermatitis are likely at risk of developing it. This condition is not transferable but has the tendency to induce a lot of pain and discomfort.

Some causes of contact dermatitis are: contact with nickel, certain kinds of soaps, deodorants and detergents, skin contact with rubber, some kind of medicated creams, peel of the citrus fruit

Symptoms include: burning red patches, thinning of the skin, dryness and crusting of the skin and blisters.


  • Drugs

For acute contact dermatitis, many dermatologists recommend drugs like corticosteroids. They relieve the sufferer from persistent itching and inflammation.

  • Anti-itch cream or calamine lotion

During contact dermatitis the moisture of the skin strips off causing irritation, calamine lotion restores this moisture to limit the occurrence of rash. It is proficient in soothing any inflammation the sufferer might experience.

  • OTC antihistamine

OTC antihistamines have the ability to present relief from the symptoms but patients who elect them must bear in mind the long-term side effects that cause sensitivity reactions. They should not be chosen for larger areas of rash, or when there is cracking of the skin.

  • Moisturizer

Creams containing natural ingredients like aloe vera prove to be beneficial. Usage of moisturizers lead to noteworthy up gradation of the skin, the lipids present in the moisturizers remove acetone from the skin, which is the main reason behind the aridness of the skin.

4. Lyme Disease

A transmittable disease spread in humans by the bite of a bacterium called spirochete or Borrelia burgdoferi. The callous bite of the insect provides a break in the protective barrier that permits it to inject the infection in the body.

Condition description

It is prevalent in people who act as hosts to tick manifestation; these ticks harbor the bacterium, which later find their way to the human skin with the bite of the insect. This tick borne disease is present in abundance in the northern hemisphere.

Symptoms are: itchy rash, fever, headaches, fatigue and impairment of the nervous system.


  • Drugs

A few weeks of intravenous antibiotics are valuable in treating all stages of Lyme disease. Depending on the nature of the symptoms, the antibiotics are either taken orally or injected into the veins. Different kinds of antibodies provide cures for the different stages of the disease.

  • Insect repellents

Preventive steps for Lyme disease include the usage of insect repellents. The insect repellents produce a repelling scent for the ticks, thus limiting their invasion of the skin.

5. Other Causes

Hay fever is amongst the many possible reasons for a rash around the eyes. Hay fever occurs due to airborne allergies and exhibits symptoms of watery eyes, chest congestion and patches of red, itching rashes. Histamines are the commonly known cure for this type of skin allergy.

The rubber from swimming goggles might be the reason. People who swim often wear the goggles a bit too tightly, causing a reaction from the rubber around it.

When to See a Doctor

It is time to seek an expert opinion when your rash around eyes:

  • You have patches of reoccurring rash around your eyes.
  • Your skin itches terribly and you feel a burning sensation.
  • The condition of your skin is making you lose precious sleep.
  • Nothing works. You have tried and tested all the home based remedies.
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