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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien

Dr. Eva Simmons O’Brien received her MD from Yale University and is a board-certified dermatologist. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked for hospitals, established her own private practice, and consulted for organizations such as the FDA. Today, Dr. Eva runs her own practice in addition to serving as our Chief Science Officer.

How To Soothe Irritated Skin Around Eyes

How To Soothe Irritated Skin Around Eyes

How To Soothe Irritated Skin Around Eyes



Rubbing your eyes when you wake up should be completely gratifying, but if you experience itching, burning, discomfort, or flaking, you’ve got irritated eye skin. 

The often forgotten skin that surrounds your eyes is subject to infections, irritations, and even the occasional pimple. However, eye skin is seriously different from the skin anywhere else on your body. 

We’ll explain why, help you figure out what’s causing your eye skin to be so extra, and give you some tips on how to soothe eye skin once and for all. 

Eye Skin 101

Your skin is pretty thick, and we don’t mean your innate ability to let insults bounce right off your ego. Men’s facial skin is thicker and tougher than women’s skin. This is partly because we’re really burly, but mostly because our skin grows facial hair. 

The skin around our eyes, however, isn’t so tough. The skin that surrounds your eyes is the thinnest of any skin on your body. It's less than .2mm thick

Your eyelid skin is more susceptible to injury than other skin, but luckily, is usually protected during activities that could risk your eyesight. Thank you, safety glasses. 

Eyelid skin also differs from the rest of the skin on your face because it doesn’t contain nearly as many sebaceous glands. Your sebaceous glands control how much oil your skin makes. Your skin’s oil, called sebum, is a waxy substance that protects your skin and keeps it hydrated. 

Because your eyelids don’t have as many sebaceous glands, it doesn’t make as much oil, and has a harder time staying hydrated than your facial skin. This can make it especially easy for eye skin to dry out, peel and flake. 

Collagen and Elastin

Collagen and elastin are two major building blocks that make up your skin. Together, they keep your skin plump and firm, and help it snap back into place when it is stretched. As you get older, collagen and elastin production begins to decline. One of the first places you’ll notice hollow areas is under your eyes.

Loss of collagen and elastin can cause crow’s feet, and also cause dark hollows to form under the eyes that make you look tired, even if you’re getting plenty of sleep. 

Why Eye Skin Gets Irritated

The skin of your eyes gets irritated very easily, because it is so thin. There are several reasons why this can happen. Let’s cover them and then talk about what you can do about the irritation. 

Harsh Products

Some of the products you use on your skin could be doing damage to your eyes. Even eye creams can irritate skin if they contain ingredients that aren’t gentle on your skin. Traditional products (we’re talking drug store brands) can contain a mix of compounds that deplete your skin of moisture and can leave your skin begging for mercy. 

External Stressors

Maybe you spend a lot of time in a chlorinated pool, salt water, or in the sun. The activities we love or the jobs we do can take a toll on our skin, especially if we aren’t wearing protective eyewear or using good products after we’re done. 

Summertime can mean more time in both the water and sun, which can cause your fragile eye skin to flake and peel. 

Some Anti-Aging Products

We’re all for anti-aging products, but some ingredients can be too harsh, especially for the delicate skin around your eyes. For instance, you never want to use a retinoid cream around your eyes. It’s too strong, and will cause serious irritation and peeling. 

Glycolic and salicylic acids are two anti-aging ingredients that can be sourced from plants and diluted into other products so that your skin tolerates them, but using them around your eyes isn’t a good idea. It’s best to use products that are gentle and formulated, especially for the eye area. 

Eczema or Dermatitis

Just like you can develop eczema on other areas of your skin, it’s possible to develop eczema on the delicate skin of your eye area. Symptoms of dermatitis around the eyes usually look like red irritation on the eyelids and under the eyes, combined with peeling, flaky skin.

You may develop this type of dermatitis from a specific product or dry weather conditions. You can even develop dermatitis around your eyes from indoor heating and cooling systems. One thing is certain, flaky eyelids don’t scream “sexy.” 

How To Soothe Eye Skin Irritation

Peeling, flaking eye skin isn't a good look, not to mention they’re seriously uncomfortable. Here are # ways to soothe eye skin and stop your eyelids from snowing. 

Use Products for Sensitive Skin

Even if your skin isn’t sensitive, it’s a good idea to use sensitive skin products if you’re dealing with sensitivity around the eye area. Your cleansers and moisturizers have a habit of traveling around your face, even if you’re pretty careful about how you apply them. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got your back. Disco’s entire skin care line is formulated with ingredients that are safe, plant-based, and generally well-tolerated by even the most sensitive skin types. 

Added bonus, our products are all formulated to work perfectly with the pH balance of a man’s skin, which means you’ll have better success with them than you’ll have with any lady brands. 

Use Products Formulated for the Eyes

The same products you use on the rest of your face won’t work as good on your eyes. Not only will they cause irritation, but they also may not even be as effective, which can leave you irritated, too. 

Ingredients like Pycnogenol, a maritime pine tree extract,  helps even your skin tone and lessen the appearance of dark circles. Niacinamide combines with caffeine and pycnogenol to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes while deeply hydrating the skin and keeping your eye area soothed. 

Use a Humidifier

Your eye skin irritation could be from a lack of moisture in your environment. Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night can help ensure the air doesn’t leech moisture out of your skin while you sleep. 

If you still feel like your eye area is particularly dry, using a thick, healing cream for a day or so may help alleviate some discomfort. Be careful as most ointments and healing creams on your first aid aisle have strict rules about whether they can be placed near your eyes. 

Let’s Disco

Eye skin irritation is...irritating. It can cause your skin to flake, peel, and it can be very uncomfortable. Not to mention, it’ll make your eyes look like you’re constantly pulling all-nighters.  

If you aren’t already using a solid skin care routine, now is the time to start. Disco makes it easy with products designed to get your skin clean, clarified, and hydrated in record time. We’ll even help straighten out that flaky eye situation. 



The Tricky Tear Trough | NCBI 

Treating Dysfunctional Meibomian Glands | Review of Ophthalmology 

Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base | NCBI


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