Should I Apply Skincare Products On The Upper Lid?

by Gio

is it safe to apply skincare products on the upper lid

Do you ever read instructions on your skincare products?

For the longest time, I didn’t. I mean, it’s a cream. How difficult can it be to apply? Pick it up with your finger and pat it on your skin. Done. Hardly rocket science.

But last week I was bored enough to take a better look at the packaging of a few of my skincare products. You know what I noticed? A lot of them tell you NOT to apply the cream to the upper lids. Even eye creams tell you this!


Ok, I’ll be completely honest with you (as always): I had never applied my lotions and potions on my upper lids. But before that day, I had never questioned way. It was just what I did.

So, I got curious enough to investigate. Why does everyone tell you not to apply your fave creams on your upper lid? Here’s what I found out:

Why you shouldn’t apply skincare products on the upper lids

Sometimes, when I’m tired or sleepy, I rub my eyes more vigorously than I should. And, ouch! I just accidentally helped some of my moisturizer enter my eye. Now it burns like hell.

That’s why you shouldn’t apply skincare products to the upper lid. During the day, especially if it’s sunny and hot, those lotions and potions can slither their way down and inside your eyes, irritated them.

Why risk it if your upper lids ain’t dry in the first place? But, what if they are? Then, yes, you should apply the tiniest layer of moisturizer there. But, be careful! Choose a simple one with no fragrance or other irritating ingredients. Just in case.

What about sunscreen?

Every rule has its exception. But is this it?

We have to apply sunscreen on every part of the body that is exposed to sunlight. That’s NOT optional. So, the question is: is the upper lid exposed to sunlight? Not much.

As dermatologist Dr Neal Schultz points out,when we have our eyes open (and there really isn’t any reason to close them, unless you want to sleep), most of the skin of our upper lid is “retracted underneath another piece of skin and the little part that is showing, it’s actually shadowed and protected by the bone up here which is also the orbital bone.”

Because of it, the upper lids don’t get much sun exposure at all, so sunscreen isn’t needed. If you want to protect this delicate area from the sun, wearing a pair of sunglasses when outside would be a better option.

So, no you don’t need sunscreen there. Personally, I’m relieved because sunscreen can sting the eyes pretty badly. But if you don’t feel like going without sun protection, wear sunglasses. They’ll do the job without irritating your eyes.

The Bottom Line

Unless your lids are super dry and badly in need of moisture, don’t bother applying your skincare products there. You’ll probably just end up stinging your eyes for no reason at all.

Do you apply skincare products on your upper lids?

Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

Screenshot from 2017 04 30 11 51 35

Get access to the “Pro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine “cheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams - even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.

Powered by ConvertKit



Regn March 12, 2013 - 4:09 pm

I apply skincare products on mu upper lids and haven’t encountered any irritations yet. I have hooded eyes and it seems to me that without nourishing and protecting them I could end up with saggy eyelids too soon. Is there something about it or it’s just me worrying?

beautifulwithbrains March 12, 2013 - 8:31 pm

Regn, I’m glad you didn’t experience any side effects yet. I believe that, because this body part doesn’t get much sun exposure, it may not get as damaged as the rest of the face, but of course it will sag with time anyway. Unfortunately, that’s a normal process and there’s only so little skincare creams can do for that anyway.

Trisha March 12, 2013 - 6:13 pm

I always put skin care products all over my face, including my upper lids, but it’s funny that you bring up it melting into your eyes. That only ever happens to me when I use sunscreen, and BOY does that sting!

beautifulwithbrains March 12, 2013 - 8:32 pm

Trisha, sunscreen in the eyes is very painful, isn’t it? That’s the only part of my body I avoid applying sunscreen to. I prefer to wear sunglasses instead, it’s safer.

Monica P March 12, 2013 - 6:39 pm

I apply skin care products to my eye lids after I’ve used the gel, lotion whatever on my face, so what ever is left on my fingers I’ll apply over my eye lids.

I don’t apply sunscreen to my eye lids as most sunscreens (even ones for face only) are too irritating. Gotta wear those polarized sunglasses 😉


beautifulwithbrains March 12, 2013 - 8:35 pm

Monica, that’s a good way to make sure you don’t apply too much and thus minimize the risk of it getting into your eyes. And I agree, when it comes to eyelids, sunglasses are better than sunscreen. 🙂

Janessa March 12, 2013 - 11:49 pm

I have dry skin and my eyelids aren’t oily. I apply a thin layer of Shiseido sun cream which is already really matte for my skin type and setting it with some eyeshadow ensures it doesn’t ever melt or crease. Works well so far! As for moisturizers, I just use whatever is left on my fingertips and lightly pat the eye lid area but I don’t specifically dispense product just for the eyelid. I once applied an oil/beeswax blend product on my eyelid once and it melted into my eyes overnight. It didn’t sting (I don’t remember so) but it was irritating and blurred my vision until I put some eye drops. Not fun!

beautifulwithbrains March 13, 2013 - 8:17 am

Janessa, ouch! I’m sorry to hear that, must have been a nightmare. You need to be so careful with what you apply on the upper lid because this part can get easily irritated and, if you use just a bit too much product, it’s gonna end up in the eyes and sting so much!

Katie March 13, 2013 - 12:12 am

This is good to know, though I tend to avoid my eye area in general anyway because it gets so blooming sensitive. Even getting moisturizer too close to my under eye area after cleansing stings 🙁

beautifulwithbrains March 13, 2013 - 8:20 am

Katie, I’m so sorry to hear that. This area can be very sensitive and in some cases, it’s best not to apply anything at all there.

Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog March 17, 2013 - 9:50 am

I also apply skincare and sunscreen onto my upper lids. However for sunscreen, I use one specifically designed for the eye area to avoid irritations.

beautifulwithbrains March 17, 2013 - 9:30 pm

Angela, I agree that it’s best to use one specifically designed for the eye area. You can never be too careful when it comes to this delicate area.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.