Contact dermatitis is characterized as a red-colored rash that occurs upon contact with a skin irritant or an allergic reaction. The rash can swell or ooze along with itchiness, bumps and scaling. In some cases, the rash can disappear in a span of a day or two but most cases require treatment to fully heal.
The skin in the eye area is considered delicate, thus if an irritant gets in contact with this area, it can cause the formation of rash on the eyelids or the skin surrounding the eye. Take note that a rash can form right away after initial contact with the substance or after extended or repeated exposure.
First aid care for contact dermatitis in the eye area
You have to deliver the appropriate first aid care once contact dermatitis develops in the eye area.
- Determine the source of the irritation or allergy. You have to ask the individual if there was anything applied to the affected area such as an eye cream or anything on the hands that he/she has touched on the eye. Fabric softeners or detergents that are used on sheets and pillowcases can also be considered as culprits. Once you have determined the cause, prevent any further contact between the substance and affected area.
- As much as possible, do not touch the eye area using your hands. If you have to touch the area, you have to wash your hands first thoroughly using water and soap.
- Instruct the individual not to scratch the rash since it will increase the risk for infection in the area.
- When cleaning the affected area, you should only use mild or gentle creams and cleansers that are free from dyes or perfumes. Avoid using any anti-aging creams, eye makeup removers or harsh cleansers. Additionally, make sure that cosmetics do not come in contact with the rash.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream to moisturize the area as well as minimize the itchiness and soothe the affected skin.
- Apply a cool gauze compress over the affected area to relieve the burning sensation and itchiness. Another alternative is to use a freshly cut cucumber slice on the area. Allow the natural juice to moisten the area before applying a cream or moisturizer since it will help soothe the area and minimize the redness.
When to consult a doctor
If the rash does not seem to heal or continues to spread, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Once you are faced with a case that appears severe, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with the doctor since the eye area is a delicate region. The doctor might prescribe a cream or an oral antihistamine or corticosteroid.
Take note that common irritants that are used around the eye area usually include acids such as glycolic acid or alpha hydroxyl, detergents, solvents, cleaning products, plants, certain perfumes and cosmetics.