tears burn my face

Why Do My Tears Burn My Face?

Has this ever happened to you? You’re going about your day when suddenly your eyes begin watering uncontrollably. But rather than feeling soothed, your skin burns from the seemingly acid-like tears streaming down your cheeks. Have you ever thought about this Why Do tears burn your face and skin?

Has the burning sensation from your Tears streaming down your cheeks ever agonized you?

Why Do My Tears burn My Face?
Why do my tears burn my face?

It may surprise you, but this agonizing experience stems from a minor plumbing issue in our intricate ocular irrigation systems.

Have you ever wondered why tears can sometimes cause a burning sensation on your face? It’s an intriguing question that has puzzled many.

Read on to discover what causes tears to burn your face, along with actionable solutions restoring comfort.

Demystifying the Complex Tear Film Causing Facial Burns

Meanwhile, to solve the mystery of fiery tears, we must first unpack the anatomy responsible for ocular lubrication and hydration. Surprisingly, up to 10 different structures secreting water, mucous, and oils interdependently generate each therapeutic teardrop.

Why tears burn eyes

Tear Film Layers

  • Mucous – Traps fluids but deficiencies let tears burn skin.
  • Aqueous – The middle tier provides moisture. Also, reduced levels allow tear acidity.
  • Lipid – Outer barrier preventing tear evaporation and facial burns.

This trilaminate structure bathes the ocular surface, protecting delicate tissues from irritation. But when deficiencies develop in any tier, the tear film destabilizes – triggering a cascade of unwelcome symptoms.

Causes of Burning Tears Down Faces

While oozing eyes can stem from various factors, the culprit combines compromised lipid layers with irritated trigeminal nerve fibres. Let’s break down how this one-two punch packs a painful sting.

Evaporative Dry Eye

Meibomian glands secrete the fatty outer tear layer thus also safeguarding moisture balance. But dysfunction – often due to inflammation – thickens this sealant into toothpaste-like secretions unable to flow properly. Widened gaps between oil droplets accelerate water loss.

As protective lipids evaporate faster than aqueous replenishment occurs, osmolarity spikes. The resulting hypertonic saline solution activates pain nerves – causing burning and stinging sensations.

Trigeminal Nerve Irritation

This cranial nerve conveys pain, temperature, and also touch signals from the eyes, face, and mouth to the brainstem. When sensory fibres become directly exposed from inadequate lubrication, normally innocuous stimuli like light or wind trigger searing discomfort.

So in essence, deficient oils destabilize tears into an evaporative vortex, while unprotected trigeminal nerves amplify pain.

Additional Trigeminal Irritation Sources

The trigeminal nerve can become irritated by other factors undoubtedly. Allergens, air pollution, and also eyestrain from digital devices or harsh lighting often cause inflammation that sensitizes these pain fibres.

Even blinking irregularly allows more evaporation that exacerbates nerve exposure. People with chronic sinus conditions, migraines, or underlying autoimmune issues tend to experience enhanced trigeminal sensitivity too.

When this cranial nerve has suffered excessive repeated stimulation, the threshold for firing signals drops drastically – so even gentle airflow feels like razor blades.

Understanding all the ways trigeminal nerves activate, and subsequently calm them, proves critical in alleviating ocular discomfort.

Demodex Mites

Microscopic demodex mites naturally live on our eyelashes and also thrive on oils. But when their numbers explode, they infringe on blood vessels and meibomian glands – eliciting inflammation while depleting lipids. This exponentiates dry eye and trigeminal nerve irritation.

Contact Lens Deposits

Protein buildup, calcium scales, and lipid plaques accumulating on lenses wreak havoc. These inflammatory deposits rob moisture, foster giant papillary conjunctivitis, and also scrape the cornea – sending trigeminal fibres into overdrive

Tear Film Imbalance Cascades

Like dominos colliding, one perturbation disrupts the entire tear system. Diminished corneal sensation reduces reflex blinking – further evaporating limited fluids. Poor lid closure at night allows tear drainage and surface drying. Lash misdirection from floppy lids or distichiasis also introduces friction irritating the nerves.

Key Causes of Burning Tears on Your Face

why tears burn my face?

Various following factors initiate the cycle of the unstable tear film and trigeminal nerves that lead to fiery tears burning facial skin:

Aging – Oil glands atrophy, aqueous production drops to 60% after menopause.

Digital Eye Strain – Less blinking at screens increases tear evaporation and facial burns.

Environment – Low humidity, and pollution sap moisture allowing acid-like tears.

Medications – Antihistamines, birth control, more disruptive tear film.

Inflammation – Blepharitis, allergies commonly create burning tears.

Hormonal Shifts – Menopause fluctuations destabilize lubrication.

Chronic Disease – Autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and thyroid dysfunction exacerbate dry eye disorders.

Contact Lens Overwear – Materials complicate meibum flow, and lubrication.

When tear film harmony falters and sensory nerves kindle, Flushing those noxious irritants out with watery tears seems logical. But the ensuing chemical chaos often exacerbates matters.

Why Do Tears Meant to Soothe Instead Burn Your Face?

Inflamed eyes produce higher salt-content tears in response to irritation. But this further damage already disrupted trigeminal nerves, continuing the cycle of painful acidic tears streaming down faces. What factors allow soothing tears to become skin-searing acid from the eyes down the cheeks?

Osmolarity Spikes

Like the Dead Sea, fiery tears dehydrate surface skin cells attempting to balance the astronomical salinity levels burning facial skin.

Toxic Metabolic Byproducts

Inflamed dry eyes release more destructive MMP enzymes dissolving collagen matrix supporting cells. They also dump reactive oxygen species eroding lipid membranes.

Trigeminal Sensitization

Those exposed pain fibres mentioned earlier? They don’t simply transmit discomfort but upregulate receptors so THE SLIGHTEST TOUCH ignites torture. This process called peripheral sensitization engrains chronic burning and sensitivity.

Neurogenic Inflammation

Not only do bare trigeminal nerves amplify signals, but they also release inflammatory neuropeptides intensifying irritation in surrounding tissues – initiating a self-perpetuating cycle.

Corneal Damage

When lubrication falters, friction from eyelids scrubs the corneal surface raw – breaching protective cell junctions. Nerves embedded in these superficial layers ignite with the slightest provocation.

Meibum Inspissation

Those toothpaste-like meibum secretions don’t just widen gaps between oil droplets. Their concrete-like consistency also prevents clear meibum near gland openings from flowing out properly. This stagnation concentrates on irritants that backflow onto the ocular surface during blinking.


Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9) represents destructive enzymes activated by osmolarity spikes and also inflammation. By dissolving collagen holding cells together, MMP9 causes surface irregularities and discomforting sensory fibres.

Vicious Inflammatory Cycle

Once this cascade activates, it becomes challenging to reverse. Like a forest fire consuming endless kindling, inflamed eyes keep manufacturing higher salt content tears dousing already fried trigeminal nerves. This endless loop continually fuels the flames.

That’s why home remedies like rinsing with water or saline drops increase irritation – they can’t offset the underlying imbalance. Only strategic treatment regimens customized to each person’s unique deficiency state can break this relentless cycle.

Achieving Soothing Tear Film Again

Achieving Soothing Tear Film Again

Now we understand that Why tears burn your face, we can also strategically remedy the root of irritation. Follow a multi-pronged approach:

Relieve Dry Eye
Implement hot compresses, eyelid scrubs, and overnight ointments melting meibum while hydrating. Reduce screen time.

Cool Inflammation
Ice packs, cucumber slices, or chilled chamomile tea bags can immediately calm searing skin.

Lubricate & Soothe
Thicker gels and ointments like Refresh Optive or Systane provide barrier protection.

Avoid Triggers
Eliminate unnecessary medications, irritants, or contact lenses allowing recovery.

See Your Eye Doctor
Ophthalmologists diagnose subtle causes missed by general practitioners – and then customize targeted treatment regimens addressing identifiable deficiencies.

Modify Environment
Add air humidifiers, avoid forced air heating/cooling, take frequent breaks from screens, and wear computer glasses to reduce evaporation.

Address Nutrient Shortfalls
Ingest omega oils fixing lipid imbalance, L-carnitine improving meibum flow, Vitamin A promoting aqueous tears, Vitamin D calming inflammation, and more.

Treat Associated Conditions
Allergy medications, sinus rinses, migraine prevention, hormone balancing, blood sugar stabilization, and autoimmune modulation all intersect with ocular discomfort.

Seek Advanced Therapies
Prescription anti-inflammatory drops, plugs occluding ducts, serum tears, scleral lenses, intense pulsed light, LipiFlow melt clogged meibum, and autologous serum tears made from the patient’s blood.

Consider Systemic Medications
Oral tetracyclines like doxycycline inhibit MMP9 while reducing lid inflammation. Macrolide antibiotics treat meibomian gland dysfunction. Xiidra stimulates tear production.

Explore Regenerative Approaches
Several emerging modalities show tremendous promise in restoring harmonized tear film function. Umbilical cord serum, amniotic membrane grafts, platelet-rich plasma, and adipose-derived stem cells deliver growth factors regenerating damaged surface tissue while calming inflammation. Early literature indicates excellent efficacy with minimal side effects.

Within a month of diligent adherence stabilizing tear deficiencies and comforting irritated nerves, the surface sensitivity subsides. Tears transform back into the soothing, healing elixir intended to bathe our eyes in blissful relief.

Why Do My Tears Burn My Face? Recap

Moreover, Don’t dismiss painful acidic tears scalding your cheeks as normal. Implement solutions soothing the delicate surface identifying dysfunctions prompting burning tears Tracking treatment efficacy ensures progress in resolving the discomfort from unstable tear film composition corroding the facial surface.

With proper adjustments, tears become soothing balms rather than inflammatory acids inflaming the skin.

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  1. The Ocular Surface Journal – Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society. (n.d.). Tear Film Overview. https://www.tearfilm.org/tearfilm/
  2. Kumar, P. (2021). Sensory innervation of the cornea: basic concepts and clinical perspectives. Experimental Eye Research, 210, 108570–108570.
  3. Bron, A., Benjamin, L., & Snibson, G. (2020). TFOS DEWS II clinical trial methodology report. The Ocular Surface, 18(3), 475–510.
  4. Villani, E., Garoli, E., Canton, V., Pichi, F., Nucci, P., & Ratiglia, R. (2019). The role of Meibomian gland dysfunction in ocular surface disease. Seminars in Ophthalmology, 34(1), 47–51.
  5. Jones, L., Downie, L. E., Korb, D., Benitez-Del-Castillo, J. M., Dana, R., Deng, S. X., Dong, P. N., Geerling, G., Hida, R. Y., Liu, Y., Seo, K. Y., Tauber, J., Wakamatsu, T. H., Xu, J., Wolffsohn, J. S., & Craig, J. P. (2017). TFOS DEWS II Management and Therapy Report. The ocular surface, 15(3), 575–628.

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