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The Real Reason for Your Itchy Eyelids (Hint: It's Not Your Makeup!)

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Are your eyelids ever itchy, red, or swollen? Chances are it's contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction to an irritant. But before you ditch your eye cream or mascara, consider this: "One of the most common cause of eyelid dermatitis is often overlooked," says Ahmet Altiner, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College who practices at UWS Dermatology & Skin Care in New York City.

The surprise culprit? Your nails!

"Nail polish contains chemicals that can irritate the delicate skin on your lids," says Altiner. "So when you touch your eye, it can lead to a reaction." The main irritant, he says, is formaldehyde. He suggests removing your polish for a few days and seeing if the rash or redness clears up. (For advice on getting pretty buffed nails, visit our guide.) Or try a formaldehyde-free brand, like Zoya or Butter London.

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