A painfully devastating condition for millions of people around the world, dermatitis can affect any area of the skin. The eyelids are just one area that is highly susceptible, with limited options for relief.
There are many prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, ointment, lotions, and home remedies that have been used throughout history in the effort to combat eyelid dermatitis with varying degrees of effectiveness. Treating eyelid dermatitis with essential oils is one way to alleviate the symptoms and ease the suffering.
What Is Eyelid Dermatitis?
Also called eczema, dermatitis is a term that includes many skin conditions but is most often diagnosed by the appearance of the affected skin. The irritated area is usually dry, flaky, and more pink than the surrounding skin and can range in severity from a mild itchy patch that clears up on its own, to burning, raised areas with blisters. Dermatitis that is isolated to the eyelids can usually be diagnosed as either:
- Contact dermatitis – when an irritant comes into direct contact with the eyelid.
- Atopic dermatitis – when the skin around the eye comes into contact with an allergen.
The eyelids are more sensitive than the rest of the body due to their increased vascularity, a thin epidermis layer, and very little fat. Because people touch their face more than they think, both the upper and lower eyelids can be affected.
The skin is the largest organ and is the first line of defense against disease and illness. It is always important to seek the advice of a doctor with questions about the health of your body. An allergist or dermatologist will perform some standard tests and ask questions to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor can gain the needed information to discover what allergens need to be avoided with a patch test, a radioallergosorbent test, and an intradermal allergy test.
Irritants and allergens are everywhere, and they can cause devastating, disfiguring, life-altering symptoms for some. The pads of your fingers have oils to keep the skin healthy. Flare-ups can start in infancy and continue into adulthood.
With contact dermatitis, discovering which irritant is causing problems and avoiding it is a good way of preventing the symptoms. Some of the most common contact irritants are:
- very cold or hot air – such as a blow dryer
- nail polish
- shampoo and conditioner
- the metals found in tweezers
- eye makeup
- face cleansers
- eye drops
Removing allergens is also an effective way to prevent atopic dermatitis. Some of the most common allergens are:
- pet dander
- antibiotics and corticosteroids
- contact lens solution
- dust mites
Hand washing and staying diligent on how often the skin around the eyes is touched are important ways to help prevent flare-ups. At this time there is no cure for dermatitis, but becoming more aware of the condition goes a long way towards gaining control of the symptoms.
Using Essential Oils Safely On Eyelids
Due to the fact that essential oils are so potent and concentrated, diluting them with a carrier oil will make them safe to use on the skin for eyelid dermatitis. The recommended ratio is two to four drops of essential oil to every ounce of carrier oil.
Depending on which carrier oil you use, they have different properties and perform different functions. Oils that are high in fat content are good carriers while being gentle enough for the delicate eyelid skin. Let’s now look at three of the best carrier oils for eyelid dermatitis.
Best 3 Carrier Oils For Eyelid Dermatitis
1. Raw Shea Butter
Extracted from the seeds inside the fruit of the shea tree native to West Africa, raw shea butter makes a smooth, calming cream. This is a cell regenerating semi-hard oil that has moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. The components are able to penetrate deep into the tissue to hydrate dry, flaky skin and relieve the itchy redness of dermatitis.
2. Virgin Coconut Oil
Extracted from the fruit of the coconut palm, the meat of the coconut makes coconut oil very high in fat. Due to this high concentration of fat, the oil is semi-hard at room temperature and contains anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties along with antioxidants that nourish and cleanse the skin with antibacterial properties. This helps to prevent infection while moisturizing dry, flaky skin.
3. Avocado Oil
Extracted from the fruit of the avocado tree, this oil has the same properties as human fatty tissue, making it easy for the body to absorb. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties soothe the burning, itchy, dryness of dermatitis with deep penetrating moisturizers that promote collagen growth, reducing the time for wounds to heal.
Raw Manuka Honey
While not a carrier oil itself, manuka honey can be added to carrier oils. Extracted from the nectar of the Manuka tree growing in New Zealand and Australia, it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that soothe and help reduce and/or heal red, irritated skin while balancing pH levels with amino acids that slough off dead skin cells. Raw Manuka honey moisturizes while oxygenating the skin, removes bacteria, and inhibits the growth of enzymes that destroy collagen.
Working With Semi-Hard Carrier Oils
Whenever you are using a super fatty carrier oil in a semi-hardened state, melting it down before adding the essential oils will ensure a better application for the proposed treatment. To bring the carrier oil to a liquid state, follow these instructions:
- Use a glass jar, bowl, or a pyrex container that can withstand heat.
- Use a pan deep enough for the container and fill with a few inches of water.
- Put semi-hard carrier oil into the container and place the container into the water.
- Bring water to a boil, stirring the oil until it becomes a liquid, then add any other carrier oils.
- Use potholders to handle the hot container and remove it from the water.
- Wait a few moments for it to cool down before adding two to four drops of the essential oils and stirring. Be sure to mix well.
- Place in the refrigerator and allow it to cool until it starts to harden, approximately fifteen minutes.
- Use an electric mixer and beat until creamy, then store the result in a cool, dry place inside a clean container.
Do not melt the carrier oil in the pan over direct heat or it will scorch and be careful not to get water into the oil.
For best results, apply a small amount of cream to the affected areas several times a day.
Top 6 Essential Oils To Treat Eyelid Dermatitis
Many essential oils treat dermatitis, but the following six are noted for effectively relieving the dry, itchy red skin of eczema on the eyelids. Remember, however, that before applying essential oils to your face, first place a tiny amount of the oil on to the back of your hand to ensure you have no allergic reaction to it. And yes, this rule applies to carrier oils as well.
1. Eucalyptus Oil
The oil is extracted from the native Australian Eucalyptus tree and has strong anti-microbial properties that help prevent the growth and spread of bacteria. Good for treating pain and inflammation, eucalyptus oil has anti-bacterial, anti-infectious, and antiviral moisturizing agents that help heal the dry, flaky, patch and the burning sensation that often accompanies dermatitis. Eucalyptus oil helps heal wounds and blisters.
2. Frankincense Oil
Frankincense is extracted from the resin of the Boswellia tree native to Somalia. The boswellic acids in the oil have very strong anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness and pain and protect healthy skin cells with a soothing effect on the nervous system. Frankincense moisturizes and heals dry, flaky skin while reducing the painful, itchy burning of eczema. It also boosts the immune system and heals infection. The antiseptic and disinfectant properties keep bacteria and germs from forming on the skin, while the oil helps strengthen cartilage tissue to improve the elasticity of the skin.
3. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is extracted from the petals of lavender flowers. The oil is known to have calming qualities that are believed to relieve stress while also soothing pain and repairing damaged skin with certain strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that promote healing. The natural moisturizing abilities of the oil relieve burning and itching while rehydrating dry, flaky skin. Lavender oil improves blood circulation and reduces inflammation and rashes.
4. Thyme Oil
Thyme oil is extracted from the perennial herb, thyme. The oil has high antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain, protect wounds from bacterial growth, and relieve itching. Thyme oil improves circulation and reduces the appearance of scars while simultaneously promoting healthy tissue growth. It’s antifungal properties help to prevent dermatitis flare-ups.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the tea tree native to Australia. This is the most commonly used essential oil to treat eyelid dermatitis and has so far demonstrated great results. With regenerative properties that heal broken skin, tea tree oil soothes pain and relieves the dry itchiness associated with dermatitis. The anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties of this oil also fight MRSA, a staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics.
6. German Chamomile Oil
German Chamomile oil is extracted from the tiny chamomile flowers that grow in the Bulgarian countryside. This oil has strong antiseptic properties that fight infection and contains a healthy amount of antioxidants. It helps to heal broken skin and relieves swelling and pain while soothing dry, itchy skin with antiseptic properties that prevent infection. Chamomile oil also has cooling properties that soothe burns.
The Final Word
Mixing several carrier and essential oils together will create a wonderful smelling, soothing lotion that will alleviate many symptoms of eyelid dermatitis. The first line of defense against flare-ups, of course, is obtaining a proper diagnosis of your condition from a qualified doctor. From there, your doctor will provide you with all the information you’ll need to choose the right oils for your specific situation.
By using the right essential oils in a safe manner, you’ll be able to find natural and effective relief for eyelid dermatitis.
As always, hit me with any questions you have.