Rash around eyes: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

A rash can develop around the eyes for different reasons, including dermatological conditions and infections. Examples include atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and cellulitis.

Doctors may find it difficult to diagnose skin problems around the eyes because many conditions may cause a rash. To diagnose a rash around the eyes, doctors require a detailed examination of the affected area and complete medical history.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of a rash around the eyes.

Eczema is a chronic skin condition. Doctors have identified several different types of eczema, one example being atopic dermatitis (AD).

AD is a skin condition that usually appears in childhood and can develop on any area of the body, including the face and around the eyes.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) state that researchers have identified the following factors that may play a role in causing AD:

People with AD may have an itchy rash. The AAD state that typically a person may first experience itchy skin. When a person scratches, a rash begins to appear.

The appearance of AD can vary depending on how old the person is:

In babies

In infants, the rash typically appears on the cheeks, scalp, and face. The skin may become dry or scaly. Sometimes, the rash may form blisters and then ooze and weep fluid.

In children

Children may develop AD in the elbow and feet creases. Other locations include:

  • neck
  • wrists
  • ankles
  • crease between buttocks and legs

Some accompanying symptoms in children may include:

  • bumpy-looking skin
  • darkened or lightened skin around the area of the rash
  • thickened or leathery skin

In adults

Approximately 2–3% of adults experience AD.

If it persists into adulthood, people may have fewer rashes. However, they tend to have:

  • extremely dry skin
  • skin that is easily irritated
  • hand eczema
  • eczema on the eyelids
  • cataracts

Adults with AD around the eyes may have darker, thickened skin circling the eyes, which may be very itchy.

Treatment

A person can make changes to their skin care routine and use certain medications to help treat AD.

Learn more about the treatment options for AD here.

Contact dermatitis is another type of eczema. There are two types of contact dermatitis:

Allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a person comes into contact with an allergen, such as:

  • nickel
  • latex
  • poison ivy
  • makeup

Symptoms include:

Irritant contact dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when a person comes into contact with something that damages the skin, such as:

Symptoms of irritant contact dermatitis include dry and chapped skin. If the exposure to the irritant continues, a person may notice inflamed, scaly, and swollen patches of skin.

Treatment

Treatment for either type of contact dermatitis may include antihistamines, moisturizers, and topical corticosteroid creams.

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, seborrheic means that the rash affects greasy skin zones. Seborrheic blepharitis affects the eyelids.

Seborrheic blepharitis typically occurs due to an overgrowth called Malassezia, which is a type of harmless yeast. It can also occur due

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