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Should your eyelids be pink?

Have you ever noticed that your eyelids look pink? Many people do have a pinkish hue to their eyelids. But is this normal or a cause for concern? In this article, we’ll explore whether pink eyelids are common, what causes them, and when you should see a doctor about this symptom.

What Causes Pink Eyelids?

There are a few potential causes of pink eyelids:

Thin Skin

The skin on our eyelids is the thinnest skin on our bodies. Since it is so thin and translucent, the blood vessels underneath can show through, giving the eyelids a pink or reddish appearance. This is perfectly normal for many people.

Contact Irritation

Irritation from contact lenses, eye makeup, or other products can cause the eyelid skin to become inflamed and pink. This is usually temporary and will resolve once the source of irritation is removed.


Blepharitis is a common condition where the eyelids become inflamed, red, and greasy. It’s caused by a buildup of bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil on the lids. Blepharitis can result in pink, irritated eyelids.


Seasonal or environmental allergies may cause eyelid irritation, swelling, and redness. Rubbing the eyes due to allergies can also lead to pink eyelids.


A chalazion is a lump that forms due to a blocked oil gland on the eyelid. It may appear as a pinkish bump or nodule on the lid.


Styes are infected eyelid bumps caused by blocked glands near the eyelash follicles. The infected bump may turn pink or red as it becomes inflamed.


Viral or bacterial conjunctivitis (pinkeye) can cause significant pinkness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane lining the inner eyelid and front of the eye.


This rare condition causes the eyelid skin to become loose, saggy, and stretched out. The thin, stretched skin may take on a reddish-pink color.

Periorbital Cellulitis

This is a serious eye infection of the eyelid tissues and surrounding skin. It causes swelling, redness, pain, and warmth around the eye area. Antibiotics are needed to treat it.


Eczema, a skin condition characterized by itchy, inflamed skin, can sometimes affect the delicate skin of the eyelids. The irritated eczema patches may appear pink.


Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that often affects the face. It can cause visible blood vessels and pinkness around the eyes.

Sun Damage

Overexposure to UV light can damage the thin eyelid skin over time. Sun damage may cause the eyelids to appear wrinkled, loose, and pink.

When Should You See a Doctor?

In most cases, having pink eyelids is nothing to worry about. However, see your doctor promptly if you notice any of the following:

  • Eyelid redness combined with pain, itching, swelling, or vision changes
  • Pus, crusting, or oozing from the eyelid
  • Extreme eyelid redness that doesn’t improve with aloe vera or a cold compress
  • Red spots or bumps on the eyelid that enlarge or worsen
  • Warmth, tenderness, and redness around the eyes
  • Fevers, headache, or illness accompanying the eyelid redness

These could be signs of a more serious condition like an infection or inflammatory condition needing medical treatment. Don’t hesitate to get it checked out.

Home Treatments

If your eyelids are pink due to minor irritation or thin skin, here are some home remedies you can try:

Cool Compresses

Applying cool, damp tea bags or a clean wet cloth to your closed eyelids can help soothe inflammation. Do this for 15 minutes a few times per day. The cold temperature can shrink blood vessels and reduce discoloration. Don’t rub your eyes while doing this.

Eyelid Scrubs

Use a gentle eyelid cleansing pad or plain water to scrub debris from your eyelashes and lids. This removes irritants that could be causing inflammation. After scrubbing, apply a warm compress to relax the blood vessels.


Dry skin on your eyelids can become pink and irritated. Gently applying an over-the-counter eye cream can hydrate the skin and protect it from environmental irritants. Look for calming ingredients like aloe, green tea, or chamomile.

Allergy Medication

For pinkness caused by allergies, take an oral antihistamine like Zyrtec or Claritin. This controls inflammation and stops allergy-related rubbing. Be patient, as it may take several days for eyelid redness to improve.

Remove Makeup

Ensure you remove eye makeup thoroughly each night. Left on too long, makeup residues can clog pores and irritate the thin eyelid skin. Never sleep in your makeup!

Protect from Sun

Wear sunglasses outdoors and use broad spectrum sunscreen on the eye area. This prevents UV damage that can cause premature wrinkling and pinkness of the eyelids over time.


Make sure you get enough rest, as fatigue can exacerbate red eyes. Keeping your body well-rested will support healing.

Limit Eyelid Rubbing

Rubbing your eyes can worsen irritation. Try to break the eyelid rubbing habit if you have one.

When to See an Ophthalmologist

If home treatments don’t reduce eyelid redness after 1-2 weeks, make an appointment with your eye doctor. They can properly diagnose the cause of your pink eyelids and provide prescription treatments if needed.

An ophthalmologist may prescribe the following for inflamed eyelids:

  • Antibiotic or anti-inflammatory eye drops
  • Oral antibiotics for infections
  • Steroid creams for severe irritation
  • Eyelid cleansing scrubs
  • Prescription-strength eyelid moisturizers

In rare cases of severe blepharitis or rosacea, oral medications or in-office procedures may be recommended.

Medical Treatments for Chronic Pink Eyelids

For certain medical conditions causing stubborn eyelid reddening, your ophthalmologist may recommend:

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment

IPL devices direct concentrated light energy into the skin to destroy blood vessels and reduce redness. It requires multiple treatments but can significantly improve appearance.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing removes outer layers of damaged skin to promote regeneration of smoother, healthier skin. It can reduce visible blood vessels and even out eyelid skin tone.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels use acid solutions to peel off outer skin layers. This reveals fresher skin and can minimize red spots, scars, wrinkles, and uneven pigment.


This eyelid surgery removes excess skin, fat, and sagging muscles from the upper and lower eyelids. It can eliminate stretched out, discolored skin and give the eyelids a rejuvenated appearance.

These in-office treatments are typically used for chronic eyelid inflammation caused by rosacea, sun damage, allergies, or aging. Discuss all your options with your ophthalmologist.

Makeup Tips for Pink Eyelids

If you want to camouflage reddened eyelids temporarily, here are some tips:

  • Use a color correcting primer before face makeup. Green-tinted primers counteract redness.
  • Apply a concealer with yellow undertones to neutralize the red and pink hues.
  • Use a fuller coverage foundation and finishing powder to hide discoloration.
  • Avoid shimmery shadows near the lashlines which attract attention to Lid redness.
  • Try nude, light brown, or peach eye shadows to color-correct pink lids.

With the right products and techniques, minor redness can be hidden until it resolves. Always remove makeup gently each night.

When Eyelid Redness Needs Medical Treatment

While pink eyelids are normal for many, certain symptoms warrant seeing an ophthalmologist right away. Contact your eye doctor promptly for:

  • Eyelid swelling affecting your vision
  • Extreme redness and pain in one eye
  • Pus or discharge coming from the eyelid
  • Red streaks extending from the eyelid
  • Fever over 101 F
  • Unexplained redness lasting longer than 1-2 weeks

These may indicate a bacterial infection or more serious eye condition needing prescription medication. Don’t hesitate to get concerning eyelid symptoms evaluated.

The Takeaway on Pink Eyelids

It’s common for eyelids to appear pinkish due to the natural translucency of the skin. Mild redness may also result from singular events like injury, crying, or irritated contacts. However, chronic noticeable eyelid redness could signal an underlying problem needing medical treatment. See an ophthalmologist if home remedies don’t improve symptoms or if you have any vision changes with eyelid redness. With proper care, your eyes and vision can stay healthy and comfortable.

Cause Symptoms Treatments
Thin skin Normal pinkish hue to eyelids None needed
Contact irritation Red, swollen eyelid after contacts placed in eye Remove contacts, use preservative-free eye drops
Blepharitis Inflamed, greasy eyelids and lashes Eyelid scrubs, warm compresses
Allergies Itchy, watery eyes and pink eyelids Oral antihistamines, allergy eye drops
Chalazion Round, pink bump on eyelid Warm compresses, possible steroid injection
Periorbital cellulitis Swollen, tender eyelids and tissues around the eye Oral or intravenous antibiotics
Rosacea Redness and visible veins along the eyelid margins Oral medications, laser treatment