The eye area is often the first place where signs of aging appear on the face. One of the key ways you can tell the difference between a 30 something and 40 something is the appearance of their eye area. 40-somethings are a lot more likely to have fine lines and bags under the eyes – some will even have the beginnings of crow’s feet. So, if we want to keep your skin looking fresh and ageless, you will need to take special care of your eye area.
First, lets look at how the eye area is different from the rest of your face:
- It has virtually no sebacious glands, which makes it highly prone to dryness.
- It is much thinner and more sensitive than other facial skin.
- It overlies a particularly dense capillary network and has minimal fat padding, which makes the eye area prone to puffiness.
- It is stressed by frequent eye movements and squinting.
Because the eye area skin is particularly fragile it requires extra efforts for optimal protection and preservation. Here are some key things to remember when caring for the eye area:
Avoid squinting: Squinting creates motion wrinkles known as crow’s feet. Many people squint without knowing it. Ask people who see you every day to let you know when you’re squinting (I did this and I was shocked by how much I was squinting without realizing it). Squinting is common among people who are nearsighted and either do not wear glasses or have insufficiently strong ones. You also may be squinting when you’re outside and not wearing sunglasses – even when its not particularly bright out. Be aware of your squinting and invest in glasses or contacts that are the right prescription for you and always have sunglasses handy (in general, the larger the better).
Use UV protection: The eye area skin is particularly sensitive to UV rays. It is critical to protect against both UVA and UVB rays by wearing sun screen around the eye area (don’t forget your temples) and sunglasses. In addition, make sure to follow our seven basic sun protection guidelines.
Watch out for skin irritants: The skin around the eye is highly prone to irritation and inflammation. Some skin care products may be too irritating to the eye area. For example, retinols (i.e. Retin A) often causes skin dryness and irritation, particularly in the eye area. If you are using a retinoid treatment but have persistent dryness and irritation around the eyes, it is likely that you are doing more harm than good. With any eye product, test it first on the inside of your arm (also a relatively sensitive area) before putting it on your face.
Use eye makeup sparingly: Makeup products often contain skin irritants. For the sake of long-term skin health, it is best to use makeup in moderation, particularly in the eye area. Long-lasting makeup may be particularly harmful because it tends to contain harsher chemicals and also requires highly irritating solvents for its removal. If eye make up is an essential for you, make sure you are cleansing the area thoroughly at night and removing all traces of make up. PH balanced cleansers are generally the best.
Invest in the proper products to care for your eye area. The following set of three products will ensure your eyes are properly cared for – they are ranked by order of importance:
1. Sun protection to prevent further damage. Make sure to use sun screens that are gentle, designed for the face and won’t irritate the eyes – like our Day 25 Cream.
2. Eye cream for hydration. Eye creams are formulated differently than regular moisturizers or face creams – they tend to be heavier than regular moisturizers and because of this can leave a visible residue after application. Eye creams are best used in the PM before bed.
3. Firmness/tightening treatment products (if needed). There are many great products designed to firm and tighten the area. Last year we developed our Eye Q Gel, a lightweight eye treatment gel that contains a dynamic combination of GABA (topical botox), DMAE, vitamin K and hyaluronic acid that instantly tightens and brightens the eyes. It’s one of my favorite products (see the video below)!
Another helpful at-home toning/firming trick is to use an ice cube of frozen green tea at the beginning of your cleansing routine. A combination of cold and caffeine in the tea tones the underlying blood vessels, and possibly the skin itself albeit modestly.
For more, read our post on how to get rid of under eye bags and dark circles here.