Seborrheic Dermatitis Eyelids | Understanding The Causes & Treatments


If you are currently struggling with dry, itchy eyelids, you may have a condition called seborrheic dermatitis. The constant urge to rub and scratch the area around your eyes can be damaging to your eyes if not treated.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Eyelids

Do your eyelids look red and inflamed? Does the skin look dry and flakey? This condition affects all ages and can be very painful and frustrating to deal with. While seborrheic dermatitis might never fully go away, there are multiple ways to keep the number of flare-ups to a minimum.

While stress and diet play a role in controlling the severity of this skin disease, you can also be susceptible to this condition through heredity or by having a sensitivity to other medications you are taking. Even dry weather can cause a flare-up.

It is important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Your doctor can determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are in need of over-the-counter or prescription remedies to help you live and work comfortably again.

If you are currently wearing contacts or makeup it is recommended that you stop using these products if you think you have seborrheic dermatitis. These products can make the condition worse. Until you deal with the root cause of the flare-up, you will need to keep your eye area clean and free of debris. Once your seborrheic dermatitis is treated properly, you should be able to continue use of contacts or cosmetics within reason.

However, sometimes these products are the root cause of your eye discomfort. If you have discontinued use of these products and see a huge improvement without the use of any medications or creams, you may only have an allergic reaction to your everyday products. If this is the case, stop using these products and search for items that may be more suited for your sensitive skin.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis since the main cause of it is unknown. Some segments of the population have a greater risk of developing the disease but the condition is present in all age ranges.

Related: Eyelid Irritation Causes and Treatment Options

Seborrheic Dermatitis Causes

The root cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. However, there are similarities in people who struggle with seborrheic dermatitis. There can be one of these present or a combination of symptoms including stress, genes, yeast that lives on the skin’s surface, medical conditions, medication or simply cold, dry weather.

Segments of the population that are most likely to have seborrheic dermatitis are newborns (in which it’s known as cradle cap) and adults that are between the ages of 30-60. Men and people with oily skin are also more susceptible.

If you have one of the following pre-existing conditions — acne, AIDS, alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, epilepsy, heart attack, stroke, Parkinson’s, psoriasis or rosacea — you could also suffer from seborrheic dermatitis more frequently.

While you may primarily have seborrheic dermatitis on your eyelids, you can also see signs of it on your face, in areas around the nose, eyebrows or behind your ears. This condition can also show up on other parts of the body such as skin folds, buttocks, and groin areas.

If you are suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, you should notice your skin looking red and having an itching or burning sensation. The scales that flake off the skin should be moist or oily and white or yellow in color.

Seborrheic dermatitis can be difficult to self-diagnose. It is important to see your doctor if you think you may have this condition. A dermatologist will be able to evaluate your medical history and look closely at the affected areas of your skin.

If your condition is fairly easy to diagnose by your doctor, you may receive immediate treatment. However, sometimes your condition can still be unclear to a trained eye. Additional testing may be required to properly diagnose your condition.

When the condition is present on the eyelids, you will notice inflammation in the eye area with visible irritation, swelling and redness. It is can affect only one eye or both.

If the condition worsens, it can cause an even bigger issue with your eyelids, known as lichenification. This occurs when your eyelids appear thickened over time.

If you are genuinely experiencing seborrheic dermatitis, you will notice that your eyelids are dry, flakey and inflamed. It can be very painful to deal with on a daily basis, especially if you work outside the home or have trouble sleeping.

There are many treatments available that can suppress symptoms and will help reduce the redness and swelling of the eye area. A seborrheic dermatitis eyelid treatment will also help reduce the urge to rub and scratch your eyes. Many of the treatments can also be used on other parts of the body where dry skin is present.

Related: Eyelid Dermatitis Treatment and Explanation

Seborrheic Dermatitis Eyelid Treatment

Most of the time, seborrheic dermatitis will clear up on its own with proper diagnosis and care. It is possible that the disease will continue to randomly flare up and then clear again.

Good skin care is key to suppressing this disease. Although this skin condition can linger for years, there are many ways to keep it from affecting your everyday life.

No matter what type or severity of seborrheic dermatitis you have on your eyelids, you should always aim to keep the area clean and not directly touch or scratch your eyelids. The more you touch or irritate the area, the greater chance of increased irritation or infection.

In order to avoid flare-ups, you should consider not using the following products: makeup brands that have excessive chemicals, preservatives or fragrances, sunscreens, perfumes, swimming goggles, eye drops with preservatives, false eyelashes, or contact lenses. You should also avoid airborne allergens such as dust and smoke whenever possible.

There are three main ways to properly care for your seborrheic dermatitis: using moisturizers, calcineurin inhibitors and corticosteroids.

Using a moisturizing cream can relieve everyday symptoms such as dryness and itching. These types of creams can be purchased over-the-counter or with a prescription. Creams are best used to treat mild cases of seborrheic dermatitis.

Calcineurin inhibitors are used to aid in the treatment of inflammatory disorders. Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are commonly diagnosed inflammatory disorders that these inhibitors are used for. Calcineurin inhibitors come in the form of a cream or oral medication. This treatment is for more severe cases. This medication should be used only for those who truly need it, as it may suppress your immune system.

Corticosteroids are often a cream-based treatment applied directly to the eyelids. This cream will reduce dryness and inflammation. If you have seborrheic dermatitis in multiple areas of your body, a pill form is available. The strength of the medication can vary based on the number of symptoms you have and what your doctor believes will work for you.

If you use corticosteroids for a long period of time, it is important to note that you will have an increased risk of developing glaucoma. The cream is meant for short term use and will lose effectiveness after your body adapts. Only use when needed.

Corticosteroid cream can cause new acne to appear, hair growth on treated areas and skin thinning. High dosage tablets have even greater side effects including high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Recommended Products for Seborrheic Dermatitis Eyelids Treatment

There are a range of products on the market for seborrheic dermatitis eyelid treatment. We have chosen a few of our favorite sprays, creams and oils. It is recommended that you consult your doctor before using any of the below products, especially if you are currently taking medications for pre-existing conditions. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment is right for you.

If you are unsure about cream formulas on your eye area, we recommend the Heyedrate Lid & Lash Cleanser. This cleanser is great when you have a busy routine and the spray also travels well if you need to take it with you on the go. Since you only have to use the spray once every 12 hours, it is easy to apply and you don’t have to worry about symptoms reappearing while you are at work or making dinner.

Heyedrate Lid & Lash Cleanser

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Over 30 million Americans suffer from chronic dry eye. Use Heyedrate’s Lid & Lash Spray to gently cleanse your red, itchy and inflamed eyes.

Heyedrate’s eye products are organic, vegan and all-natural so you do not have to worry about putting toxic chemicals near your eyes. The cleanser is non-irritating to even the most sensitive skin. It contains a proprietary hypochlorous acid and aids in fighting bacteria.

While the cleanser can be used for eye issues such as dry eye, styes, blepharitis, and demodex, it also has additional uses and was originally used for wound care. You can use this product before and after eye surgery, when wearing contact lenses, or on other parts of your body that need healing from scrapes, cuts, scars or wrinkles.

Ingredients: Hypochlorous Acid, Electrolyzed Water, Sodium Chloride (Heyedrate’s Lid & Lash Cleanser does not contain alcohol, fragrances, parabens, sulfates or preservatives.)

To use: Make sure your eyelids are clean and free of any debris or makeup. Spray your closed eyelids with the cleanser 1-2 times. You can gently rub your closed eyelids to spread out the solution or just let it dry. Repeat the process every 12 hours for best results. If you are experiencing visible inflammation on other parts of the body, follow the instructions above, as this formula can be used on all external parts of the body to rid the skin of bacteria and toxins.

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Creams for Seborrheic Dermatitis

The majority of products available to suppress seborrheic dermatitis symptoms are creams. Healing creams help nourish the skin and provide a barrier so that elements from the environment cannot irritate your eye area. Creams should be free of toxins, parabens and preservatives to be most effective over a long period of time.

A good dermatitis cream often contains Manuka honey or aloe vera and a combination of essential oils that help naturally boost the skin’s immunity to outside toxins and inflammation. The cream should also be able to be used on other parts of your body as seborrheic dermatitis can often flare up in other areas besides the eyes.

Creams should be safe for the whole family to use. They should contain ingredients you can pronounce and recognize. If you have any hesitation of using a cream in your eye area, always try the cream on a different area of your skin before applying it to your eyelids. Once that test is complete and there is no allergic reaction or irritation, try using a very light layer of cream on your eyelids and sitting for a few minutes before opening your eyes or doing any work.

A cream should not feel uncomfortable or burn. If you experience these symptoms, talk with your doctor. It is also possible that your condition is severe enough that the product will burn for the first few applications until your skin can be restored to a more natural state.

The pricing for dermatitis creams can vary widely. Take into account the budget you have for the severity of your condition as you will likely be buying the cream on a monthly basis. Using the cream long-term will help prevent flare-ups and increase your skin’s natural barrier.

Organic Manuka Honey Eczema Cream

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Manuka honey is known for its ability to heal the skin. It is created when bees pollinate the Manuka bush.

Manuka honey protects against bacteria and stimulates cells to repair damaged skin, infection and rashes. Use this healing New Zealand Manuka honey blended with organic nut-free oils and beeswax to create a surface barrier and guard the skin from unwanted toxins.

There are only six ingredients in this skin cream including certified organic New Zealand Manuka Honey, Manuka oil extract, organic olive oil, grape seed oil, organic beeswax and filtered water.

All of the ingredients are 100% pure, organic and GMO-free. It does not contain fillers, chemicals, medications or artificial ingredients, and it’s safe for the whole family to use.

The cream balm works great on sensitive skin. It’s perfect for dry, itchy, red skin and can be used to treat small wounds, cuts and burns. The balm applies in a thick layer on the skin but does not feel greasy. It also provides anti-bacterial properties to help keep out and neutralize dirt and toxins.

Ingredients: Organic Olive Oil, Organic Beeswax, Filtered Water, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Active 16+ New Zealand Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil Extract

To Use: apply the cream twice daily or as needed

Seborrheic Dermatitis Cream by pHat 5.5

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pHat 5.5 is a skin and hair care brand with over 25 years experience. All of their products maintain a 5.5 pH (as their name suggests) to match your skin’s pH for optimum results. The products work with your skin’s surface to heal itself instead of being irritated by excess chemicals and toxins.

pHat 5.5’s creams will soothe and treat your seborrheic dermatitis, preventing flare-ups and reducing the redness of unsightly dry patches. It does this without the use of drugs or harmful chemicals.

It does take time to see results but you should notice a reduction in redness and itchiness fairly quickly after you start using the cream. By giving yourself time to heal and ridding the body of harmful chemicals, your skin can get healthy again.

Feed your skin with natural ingredients such as Manuka honey, aloe Vera, blue green algae, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter.

All of pHat 5.5’s products are made in the USA, cruelty-free and eco-friendly. They also do not contain any sulfates, gluten or parabens.

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Gel (Aloe Vera), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Leptospermum Scoparium Mel (Manuka Honey), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cehami (Centipeda Cunninghamii), Glycerin, Emulsifying Wax, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Spirulina Maxima (Blue-Green Algae) Extract, Aphanizomenenon Flos-Aquae (Blue-Green Algae) Extract, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea Fruit (Olive) Oil, Methylsulfynolmethane (MSM), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Oat Amino Protein, Frangipani (Plumeria) Extract, Sacchromyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment Hydrolysate, Saccharomyces/Potassium Ferment, Adenosine Triphosphate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca) Starch, Sodium Hydroxide, Titanium Dioxide, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Gluconolactone, Glucose, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol

To use: apply the cream twice per day or as needed

TrueLipids Eczema Experts Anti-Itch 1% Hydrocortisone Barrier


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TrueLipids provides a barrier cream that will help you fight common skin irritations including itchiness, inflammation and mild rashes.

For maximum effectiveness, use in conjunction with TrueLipids Relieve & Protect Ointment.

The cream is dermatologist approved, safe for the whole family, non-toxic and medical grade. It is free from 88 of the top allergens so you will not have to worry about breaking out from the formula.

Ingredients: Hydrocortisone 1%, Inactive ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut), Petrolatum, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Polyglyceryl - 10 Pentastearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Glyceryl Stearate, Isostearyl Isostearate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, 1,3 Propanediol (from Corn), C 10-C30 Cholesterol/ Lanosterol Esters, Ceramid e 3 , Phytosphingosine, Candelilla Wax, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Niacinamide, 1 ,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA , may contain Gluconolactone

To use: apply to affected area 3-4 times daily

Thena Natural Wellness Redness Relief Face Moisturizing CreamSeborrheic dermatitis eyelids

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Thena Natural Wellness Redness Relief Cream is great for soothing your dry, tight, itchy skin. It provides long lasting relief from stinging and inflammation with smooth moisturizing cream.

Thena Natural Wellness uses a proprietary plant-based formula full of essential oils to mimic natural skin. The cream encourages new skin cell growth and increased collagen production.

Since the ingredients in the moisturizing cream are natural, there is no need to worry about any toxic chemicals getting near your eyes. Key ingredients include: organic aloe Vera, white willow bark, calendula, chamomile, colloidal oatmeal, licorice, feverfew extract, clary sage and witch hazel.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Oranic Aloe Vera Juice, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cetearyl Alcohol NF, Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate (GMS), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Coloidal Oatmeal, Hydrolized Oat Protein, Oat Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Herbal Extracts of White Willow Bark, Calendula, Comfrey, Chamomile, Licorice, Nettle, Feverfew, Witch Hazel, Marshmallow Root, Cats Claw, Horse Chestnut and Red Clover, Ricinus Communis Castor Seed Oil, Lavender Oil, Raw Honey, Amaranthus cruentus (Amaranth) Oil, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Vit B5 Panthenol, Rice Bran Oil, Soy Lecithin, Titanium Dioxide, Vitamin A Retinyl Palmitate, Rosehip Oil, Vitamin E Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin C Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sandalwood Oil, Frankincense Oil, Blue Chamomile Oil, Clary Sage Oil, Neem Oil, Idebenone, Geranium Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Rosemary Extract

To use: it is recommended to start with a test area of skin before using this product on a large area of skin or your face to make sure your skin will not react adversely. Do not use the cream to heal open wounds. If you have any pre-existing conditions consult your doctor before using this product.

While this product may be a monthly investment in your everyday eyelid and skin health, it is backed by a full refund guarantee. The company stands behind its product when purchased directly and is happy to address any questions or concerns.

Demodex Mites

Demodex mites or eyelash mites are naturally occurring on humans. These mites live in the eyelashes and feed on dead skin cells. Small amounts of these mites are normal but abnormally large amounts are thought to cause skin issues.

We recommend using a tea tree oil based soap to help prevent Demodex as Demodex eyelash mites do not like tea tree oil. In the shower, use this tea tree soap to wash your face, body, and head.

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Demodex Lotion Eyes n Mites

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Demodex Lotion Eyes n Mites is specifically for the treatment of eye irritation caused by demodex mites. It can be used on the eyelids, eyelashes and eyebrows to relieve itching and irritation.

Eyes n Mites uses tea tree, neem, lemon grass and other natural oils to suppress symptoms associated with demodex mites.

The lotion is made in the USA and comes in a one-ounce bottle. Do not overuse the product. Oils are extremely concentrated; you only need one drop for effective treatment. 

It is important to note that if your eyelids are extremely irritated prior to treatment from the irritation of rubbing or scratching, the first 2-3 applications of Eyes n Mites will initially burn when applied. This should go away shortly on its own. Discontinue use if burning continues or gets worse with continued application.

Ingredients: Demodex oils (tea tree and neem oil), herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals

To use: wash the affected eye area with Demodex Control Facial Wash. Dry the skin gently with a clean cloth. Close one eye and apply a single drop of the Demodex Eyes n Mites lotion to your closed eyelid and eyelash area. Only use a thin layer of lotion. Applying too much product will result in negative results. After applying do not open your eye immediately, wait approximately a minute before opening. Repeat on the remaining eye if necessary.


It is important to talk to your doctor if you think you have seborrheic dermatitis. Your doctor can accurately diagnose your condition by viewing your eye area and talking with you about your symptoms.

Once you have been diagnosed, searching for a seborrheic dermatitis eyelid product that has natural ingredients is essential. Using products with toxic chemicals near your eyes for a long-term period can cause damage to your eyes and the thin, delicate layer of the skin around your eyes. Consider choosing a product that has very few ingredients so you know exactly what you are applying to your face (and body).

While there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, it is a very manageable condition with the right product(s). Take a look at your current diet and stress levels to help prevent severe flare-ups. Using natural products that work with your skin’s makeup can aid in managing your discomfort and moving forward with your everyday life.

FAQs about Seborrheic Dermatitis

Most of the time, seborrheic dermatitis will clear up on its own with proper diagnosis and care. It is possible that the disease will continue to randomly flare up and then clear again, indicating that there may be a specific trigger in your life. Good skin care is key to suppressing this disease. Although this skin condition can linger for years, there are many ways to keep it from affecting your everyday life. Using a moisturizing cream can relieve everyday symptoms such as dryness and itching. These types of creams can be purchased over-the-counter or with a prescription, and we recommend the Heyedrate Eye Cream and Face Moisturizer. Creams are best used to treat mild cases of seborrheic dermatitis. Calcineurin inhibitors are used to aid in the treatment of inflammatory disorders, including some skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are commonly diagnosed inflammatory disorders that these inhibitors are used for. Calcineurin inhibitors come in the form of a cream or oral medication. Corticosteroids are often a cream-based treatment applied directly to the eyelids, and your doctor may prescribe this for you. This cream will reduce dryness and inflammation. No matter what you decide, moisturizing with a gentle, natural cream is the first priority.
Inflammatory dermatitis can definitely affect the eyelids, which can in turn affect the eyes. Usually, the skin of the upper eyelids becomes affected, and this can lead to blepharitis issues and dryness of the eyes as well. This condition affects all ages and can be very painful and frustrating to deal with. While seborrheic dermatitis might never fully go away, there are multiple ways to keep the number of flare-ups to a minimum.
Occasionally, doctors may prescribe steroid creams for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Used sparingly and for a short period of time, this can be an effective way to combat eyelid inflammation. You can use over-the-counter hydrocortisone or you can have a cream prescribed for you by your doctor - either way, take caution not to get the cream in your eyes. In addition to this, steroid creams can cause skin thinning over time, so it's best to use sparingly.
Seborrheic dermatitis is also called dandruff, and seborrheic eczema or psoriasis. In infants, the condition is known as cradle cap. No matter what you call it, it can be irritating and unsightly. Fortunately, it is possible that the dermatitis will resolve on its own. For many people, however, this condition will never fully go away. Often, flare ups will occur so it's best to keep up with a proper eyelid hygiene and moisturization regimen. We highly recommend using the Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser twice daily and following it with the Heyedrate Eye Cream and Face Moisturizer.
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