Seborrheic Dermatitis Of The Eyelids: What Can You Do About It?

When you’re dealing with seborrheic dermatitis on your eyelids, you’re facing a condition that presents as red, flaky, and sometimes itchy skin in the area where your eyelashes grow. Known medically as seborrheic blepharitis, this condition specifically affects the delicate skin of the eyelids. It can be both uncomfortable and frustrating, as the eyelids may become swollen and greasy-looking, with flakes or scales that can be mistaken for simple dandruff.

Understanding the nature of seborrheic dermatitis is key to managing its symptoms. Your skin’s oil-producing glands play a central role, frequently leading to an overproduction of oil in certain areas like the scalp, face, and the eyelids. This overproduction can create an environment conducive to the overgrowth of a specific type of yeast called Malassezia found on the skin, which can exacerbate the issue.

If your eyelids are affected, proper eyelid hygiene can be particularly effective.

Let’s take a deep dive:

Does seborrheic dermatitis affect the eyelids?

Your eyelids don’t contain sebaceous glands, which produce the oil called sebum that Malassezia feeds on. Instead, the eyelids have meibomian glands that make a special type of sebum called meibum, which is also high in lipids like regular sebum. Unfortunately, meibum is also a food source for malassezia yeast.

Therefore, seb derm can also affect your eyelids. If you suspect that you have seborrheic dermatitis on your eyelids, it’s important to consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Bear in mind that it’s very unlikely for Seb Derm to only affect your eyelids and no where else. Eyelid Seb Derm usually accompanies Seb Derm on other areas of your skin. If you only have a rash on your eyelids, it’s probably something else.

Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis of the eyelids

Seborrheic blepharitis can be uncomfortable and affect your daily life. When you have this condition, you may notice several symptoms that affect your eyelids:

  • Redness: Your eyelids may appear reddish, signaling irritation.
  • Swelling: You might see some puffiness or swelling in the affected area.
  • Dandruff-like flakes: Small, white to yellowish scales may form on your eyelashes or eyelids.
  • Crusting: You may find crusting on your eyelashes, especially on waking.
  • Itching: An annoying itchiness often accompanies the other symptoms.
  • Greasy skin: The skin on your eyelids could feel oily or waxy.
  • Dryness: Conversely, the skin sometimes becomes very dry and might even peel.
  • Irritated eyes: Your eyes may feel gritty and look red, especially if your tear ducts are affected
  • Loss of eyelashes: While rare, it can happen. Damn.

Can seborrheic dermatitis cause eye symptoms?

Even though seborrheic dermatitis is primarily a skin condition, due to the proximity of your eyelids and eyes, you may get eye symptoms as well. Your eye symptoms may fluctuate with common triggers such as stress or changes in weather.

The most common eye symptoms are conjunctival redness (conjunctivitis), and itching, burning or gritty sensation in the eyes. You may also experience blurring of vision. If your vision is affected, please seek a proper diagnosis urgently. You don’t want to take risks with your eyesight.

Untreated seborrheic blepharitis can lead to complications like keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye whites), and even corneal ulceration.

How to treat eyelid seborrheic dermatitis

Given the delicate nature of your eyelids and eyes, it can be particularly hard to treat seborrheic blepharitis, and care should be taken when considering treatment options.

Your treatment plan should focus on reducing inflammation and managing scale buildup. Here’s a step-by-step approach to help manage symptoms:

Clean Gently

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Cleanse your eyelids twice a day with a mild, non-irritating soap like diluted baby shampoo. You can use cotton earbuds to be more precise. Pat the area dry with a soft towel.

Don’t use medicated shampoos like Head&Shoulders or even diluted tree tree oil to wash your eyelids. It will cause more irritation.


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Use a gentle eye cream to hydrate the skin and protect the eyelid’s delicate barrier. Give your super-power anti-aging eye creams a break. Retinol, Vitamin C and even niacinamide eye creams may be too irritating during a flare.

Just be sure to check that your eye cream doesn’t contain oils that can feed Malassezia. The AloDerma Aloe Eye Cream is a safe one to use.

Medicated Treatments

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While not officially recommended, you can use an anti-fungal cream like Clotrimazole on your eyelids. Use a cotton bud to smear a thin film of the cream on your eyelids twice a day. Avoid the immediate area around your eyes and definitely don’t apply antifungal cream to your eyelashes and eyeballs.

Hyperthermic Treatment

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Hyperthermic treatment involves applying heat to the eyelids. This can be achieved through the use of warm compresses or even just rubbing your palms together before cupping your hands over your eyes.

There are also specialized devices that deliver controlled heat to the eyelid area. The application of heat can help to soften and loosen debris, open clogged meibomian glands, and improve the overall health of the eyelids.

Professional Treatments

Some experts recommend in-office medical treatments like microblepharoexfoliation (BlephEx) treatment. In essence, this is a medical procedure performed by eye care professionals to remove scurf, debris, and bacterial exotoxins along the edge of the eyelids. This procedure involves the use of a patented handpiece that rotates a medical-grade micro-sponge along the eyelid margin to exfoliate and clean the area.

Key Tips:

  • Test products: Before applying anything new to your eyelids, do a patch test.
  • Avoid rubbing: When applying creams, gently dab, do not rub, to prevent further irritation.
  • Avoid irritating products: Avoid applying formulations with strong fragrances, essential oils, acids, tar or sulfur anti-fungal products.
  • Avoid eye makeup: Sorry, I know it’s annoying but cosmetics can cause more irritation and worsen the inflammation around your eyelids.

Remember, eyelid skin is sensitive, so always apply treatments with care. Proper management of seborrheic blepharitis can improve symptoms and prevent complications such as secondary infections or corneal ulceration. If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, please seek medical guidance.

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