Expert Advice: Help for Itchy, Puffy Eyelids

Dr. Jessica Wu, Hollywood dermatologist to the stars, shares her advice on all things beauty!

Q: I'm supposed to go to a party tonight, but I woke up with puffy red eyelids. Help!

A: Several of my patients have come to the office recently with itchy, swollen eyelids. There are several possible causes, including hay fever, allergic reactions, and sinus problems. Here's a rundown of the most common reasons for this condition:

Seasonal allergies (hay fever) can cause itchy, red, watering eyes (also known as allergic conjunctivitis) as well as swollen eyelids. The eyelids can develop itchy, red, scaly patches, especially the upper inner eyelids. This is particularly common in those with a history of eczema rashes. I typically recommend antihistamines such as dye-free Benadryl or Claritin, as well as topical anti-inflammatory creams, like Elidel. If possible, I try to avoid prescribing cortisone creams on the eyelids because the skin is very thin.

Contact dermatitis is typically caused by a reaction to a skin cream or cosmetic. However, it can also be caused by a new soap or shampoo that you use in the shower, as well as new hair products or sprays that can come in contact with the skin. Eyelid rashes can also be caused by products like nail polish, which can be transferred to your eyelids when you touch your skin, so it's useful to think about everything new you've used, even if it's not something you apply directly to your face.

Sinus problems can also cause eyelid swelling. Typically, other symptoms will accompany sinus congestion, such as a stuffy nose and pain or pressure across your cheekbones. The skin usually looks normal and doesn't itch or flake. It's important to treat the underlying problem, whether it's an infection, a structural problem (like a deviated septum), or other cause. If it's a mild sinus infection, sleeping with your head propped up on an extra pillow and avoiding salt can help reduce the puffiness.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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