Eyelid dermatitis – itchy swollen eyelids – often is the result of two common culprits – nickel and gold.
The problem is the combination of gold and nickel from jewelry and titanium dioxide. Many cosmetics contain titanium dioxide so the mix can cause the release of metal which in turn irritates the eyelid skin.
“If I am wearing a gold ring, and I put this on my eyelids using my finger, the gold will be more easily released, and I will be more likely to get a reaction on my lids,” said Dr. Atwater, of the department of dermatology at Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Nickel also commonly causes eyelid dermatitis, Dr. Atwater said. Nickel frequently “hides” in tools that come into contact with eyelid skin – think eyelash curlers. Even if you know you have a nickel allergy you won’t always find nickel in the disclosures of such item.
A simple dimethylglyoxime test can show you if a product contains nickel. Can be found online to order.
Other sources of nickel
- sunglasses with metal frames
- paper clips
- other weight-lifting equipment
- silver colored coins
- kitchen utensils
- Common items to test for nickel
Other products that can cause eyelid dermatitis
- products that contain fragrance, including balsam of Peru
- neomycin (typically found in antibacterial eye drops)
- preservatives in cosmetics, skin care products, and topicals
If you are experiencing swollen itchy eyelids and you doubt it’s seasonal pollen allergies, get checked by a dermatologist. Constant rubbing or eyelid skin can stretch and thicken the skin that isn’t easily reversed.