What is Eyelid Dermatitis?
What Causes Eyelid Dermatitis?
1. Eye Makeup: Eye makeup has been attributed to only 4% of cases of eyelid dermatitis according to the North American Contact Dermatitis Society. See below for a list of many other often-implicated chemicals
2. Preservatives in eye care products: In contact lens solution (bezalkonium chloride) can cause eyelid dermatitis. Other preservatives (especially formaldehyde) are common culprits. Formaldehyde often cross reacts (meaning you can have an allergy to it and to other chemicals that it cross reacts with) with many formaldehyde releasers. Formaldehyde releasers include the following chemicals:
- Bronopol, also known as 2-bromo-2-nitroproane-1,3-diol
- Quaternium15, also known as chloroallyl methenamine chloride, N-(3-Chloroallyl)hexaminium chloride and hexamethylenetetramine chloroallyl chloride.
- Diazolidinyl urea, also known as N,N’-bis(hydroxymethyl) urea, Germall II, and 1-(1,3-Bis(hydroxymethyl)-2,5-dioxoimi- dazolidin-4-yl)-1,3-bis(hydroxymethyl)urea
- DMDM Hydantoin, also known as Glydant, or 1,3-cimethylol-5,5-dimethylhydantoin, and 1,3-Bis(hydroxymethyl)-5,5-di- methylimidazolidine-2,4-dione
- Imidazolidinyl urea, also known as imidurea, Germall 115, and N,N”-methylenebis(N’-(3-(hydroxymethyl)-2,5-dioxo-4-im- idazolidinyl)urea
- Tris nitro, also known as trimethylolnitromethane, nitroisobutylglycerol, and 2-nitro-2-(hydroxymethyl)-1,3- propanediol, tris(hydroxymethyl)nitromethane
- Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (Suttocide A)
3. Metals: Nickel (the most common), gold, cobalt and others. These metals are transferred to the eyelid on the hands. The eyelid skin is for some reason particularly sensitive to small amounts of these metals resulting in the dermatitis.
4. Preservatives in skin care & hair care products: including formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers (see above), MCI/MI, parabens and others.
5. Hair Dye: A chemical called paraphenylene diamine which is in most hair dyes and which is very carcinogenic has also been implicated in eyelid dermatitis.
6. Soaps: A chemical in most soaps called cocamidolpropyl betaine has been implicated in eyelid dermatitis. This is often seen when one uses a baby shampoo as an eyelid wash. Most baby shampoos contain frangrance, sulfates, cocamidopropyl betaine and other potential irritants and allergens.
7. Fragrances: Many different chemicals are considered to be “fragrances” on ingredient lists of products. A few fragrances include sandalwood, balsam of Peru, and masking fragrance. Itis important to understand that essentail oils also contain many of the fragrance chemicals in them and therefore are also a common culprit. Many other fragrance compounds have been implicated in many cases of eyelid dermatitis.
8. Eyelash glue & Artificial Nail Glue Acrylates: There are several reported cases of allergic reaction of the eyelids to the acrylate glues that are present in eyelash glue and artificial nails.
9. Topical Antibiotics: Bacitracin, Neomycin, and Polymyxin B, present in topical triple antibiotics, are extremely allergenic. Neomycin for example, was found to be the fifth most common skin allergen with ten percent of people who have a suspected allergic skin disease actually having an allergy to neomycin. Neomycin in fact, can be so allergenic that it can cause anaphylaxis in some people. The American Contact Dermatitis Society even nominated neomycin as the “Allergen of the Year” in 2010.
A common presentation of neomycin allergy is an eczematous rash (that may be anywhere that the neomycin is being applied including the eyelids). Often, people may develop a rash from an allergy to one of the above chemicals and will treat it with one of the topical antibiotics only to then develop a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotic. This allergic reaction is often confused for an infection and prompts a doctor visit and an oral antibiotic is prescribed. Meanwhile, the rash will persist or continue to worsen, sometimes triggering an even stronger antibiotic….when the problem was really an allergic reaction to the neomycin in a triple antibiotic in the first place.
Until the offending allergen is stopped and the rash is treated with a topical steroid like TrueLipids® Eczema Experts 1% Hydrocortisone Barrier Cream or a TMI(topical macrolide immunosuppressant) OR you wait long enough for the reaction to resolve, then this form of allergic contact dermatitis will not resolve.