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How to diagnose a skin rash under the eye

Updated April 17, 2017

A rash under the eye can be irritating and hard to cover up. Skin rashes under the eye can be a symptom of many conditions including allergies, dermatitis, or even cancer. The appearance and colour of a rash and its frequency will help your doctor make a diagnosis.

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  1. Determine if the rash is from an allergic reaction. According to Dr. Peter C. Schalock, MD, from Merck, contact dermatitis is a condition that is due to contact with irritants or allergens. Irritants or allergens could be from plants, soaps, shampoos and household cleaners. According to the National Institute of Health, even exposure to sunlight may cause a skin reaction. The rash may last for a few hours to a few weeks. Rashes usually appear in thin, sensitive areas, such as the skin under the eyes, and later spread to thicker skin. The substance causing the reaction must be removed for treatment to be effective. Moisturisers and medications are available to treat the itching and redness.

  2. Explore the possibility that the rash is atopic dermatitis if you have no known allergies. Merck defines atopic dermatitis as a chronic, itchy inflammation of the skin caused by emotional stress, environmental changes or bacterial infections. Diagnosis is based on the pattern of the rash and family history of allergies. Moisturisers and medications are available to treat the itching and redness.

  3. Contact a dermatologist immediately if the rash is persistent and does not go away. According to Melanoma.com, melanoma, a skin cancer, has a rash pattern that changes and darkens over time. It may or may not be itchy. The rash can spread to other parts of the body. Diagnostic tests may involve blood tests, chest X-rays, and MRIs. The melanoma must be removed surgically.

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About the Author

Ellice Lin graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. She continued her education and earned a master's degree from Rice University. She is an environmental consultant writing air quality reports in Southern California.

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