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What Are the Common Causes of Flaky Eyelids?

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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
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Common causes of flaky eyelids include blepharitis, dermatitis, and allergies. Blepharitis is a medical condition characterized by an inflammation of the follicles of the eyelashes. This condition can result in red, dry, and flaky eyelids. In addition, eyes and eyelids that are chronically dry can cause itchiness, inflammation, and a "foreign object" sensation in the eyes. Once the cause of flaky eyelids has been determined by a physician, an effective treatment plan can be put into place.

Applying a warm compress to closed eyelids can help soothe the eyes and improve the appearance of flaky eyelids. The compresses should be applied at least two times a day, with a soft washcloth for 10 minutes. Using a warm compress will help to restore moisture to dry, flaky eyelids and speed up the healing process. Flaky skin around the eyes and eyelids is often called eyelash dandruff, however, it is not generally associated with the same type of dandruff common to the scalp.

Using a mild cleanser, such as diluted baby shampoo, on the eyelids can help remove crusts and flakes on the eyelids. Wiping the eyelids with a swab dipped into diluted baby shampoo is a widely recommended treatment for blepharitis, and since the condition can be chronic, this method should be done on a routine basis to maintain skin integrity and hygiene.

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Constantly rubbing the eyes may also cause flaky eyelids. This can occur when the eyes are excessively dry and irritated. Using lubricating eye drops can significantly restore moisture to the eyes, relieving itching and irritation. Moisturizing eye drops can be purchased over the counter and are often referred to as artificial tears. It is important to note, however, that people should not self-treat themselves with eye products until a diagnosis has been determined. Doing so may promote permanent eye damage.

Moistening the eyelids with petroleum jelly or baby oil can also help improve the look of flaky eyelids. These products may not be recommended if the cause of flaky eyelids is blocked follicles, however, as they may aggravate the condition. There are, however, prescription moisturizing gels that can help provide relief and an eye doctor can determine which type of gel is appropriate for the condition.

When allergies are thought to be the cause of eyelid flakiness, antihistamines may help to relieve symptoms. Allergies can cause itchy, watery eyes, along with redness and irritation. In addition, they can cause profound dryness to the skin around the eyes and cause flakiness. Although antihistamines can help improve symptoms of allergies, they can also prove very drying to the skin. Patients should talk to a doctor before taking antihistamines to determine if they are an appropriate alternative.

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