How to Deal With Dryness Under Your Eyes, According to a Dermatologist

When your skin is dry, the first thing you probably think to do is apply a heavy-duty dose of moisturizer. But when the area of concern is the delicate, sensitive region under your eyes, you might have some reservations on your go-to remedy.

Is any old moisturizer the answer? Is there anything I can do to prevent this issue from happening in the first place?

To answer those questions and find out exactly how to deal with dry under-eyes, we reached out to Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist.

According to Dr. Garshick, under-eye dryness is a common issue — one that can cause redness, flaking, and even changes in texture.

While there are a few different reasons why someone might be dealing with under-eye dryness, the aging process can play a part in the experience. As Dr. Garshick explains, the skin barrier gets weaker as we get older, which can contribute toward moisture loss and, therefore, dryness. And because the skin under the eyes is very thin and delicate, this moisture loss may be especially noticeable.

Things like ingredient sensitivities and certain skin conditions can also be culprits behind under-eye dryness.

So what's your next move in getting rid of this dryness? Dr. Garshick suggests looking for products with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, to attract moisture and ingredients to strengthen the skin barrier and prevent moisture loss, like ceramides.

"In some cases, applying a more occlusive cream or ointment, such as a petrolatum-based product, may be needed to provide a barrier to protect the skin as well as lock moisture in," Dr. Garshick added.

Because this area of the face is particularly sensitive, you'll also want to be sure the products you're reaching for are very gentle and won't cause further irritation for you — aka read those labels! When you're unsure of what to use without causing another problem, reach out to your dermatologist for advice.

If you believe that the dryness is caused by a new skin-care or makeup product you recently added into your routine, Dr. Garshick said to stop using the formula and let your skin heal.

"The eyes are a common area to experience irritant contact dermatitis as well as allergic contact dermatitis, suggesting that certain ingredients that come into contact with the skin can trigger a reaction," she added.

So, if you're experiencing dryness with other symptoms, like itching, irritation, or inflammation, Dr. Garshick recommends reaching out to your doctor for evaluation and treatment.

(Editor's tip: it's a good idea to only add one new product into your routine at a time so you can better identify what's causing you to react.)

There are also things you can do to help prevent dryness from occurring, including regularly moisturizing this area with gentle products and remembering to remove your makeup with mild cleaners, like micellar water.

Dr. Garshick also said you should avoid using harsher ingredients around your eyes. For some, this may consist of things like certain exfoliants and retinoids. "While some creams intended for use around the eye may contain these ingredients, it is always important to start slowly to ensure the skin doesn't experience a reaction."