Ageing is a constant battle, however there are some areas of the face which reveal the signs of aging or skin problems more than others, and the eyes are the most apparent of all.
Yet we all notice eyes more than almost any other part of the body, which his why they are referred to as the windows to the soul.
Having healthy, youthful and nourished skin around the eyes can knock years of your real age and make the entire face appear younger and brighter.
Which is why looking after the skin around your eyes is crucial for staving off the years and keeping a youthful appearance.
Here is a practical 4-step guide on the main causes of ageing and skin problems for the skin around the eye and what types of products and tips are best for treating those problems and preserving and enhancing the skin around your eyes.
These are often the first sign of ageing and can start in your late 20’s if you don’t; look after the skin around your eyes.
Crow’s feet develop because the skin around the eyes is thinner and drier than on other areas of the face, which is why they develop lines first. Lines develop in this area from UV damage, facial expressions, over use of cosmetics and rough make up remover or cleansing habits.
For protecting eye skin from the early development of crow’s feet the best eye creams to use are emollients containing mild retinol (vitamin A) ingredients and an SPF of at least SPF20 on a daily basis from mid 20’s onwards. Vitamin A helps collagen production, which is crucial for around the eye skin as it’s typically less elastic than skin elsewhere on the face.[quote]For skin that is very sensitive vitamin C peptides can be a gentler and less irritating alternative to vitamin A, which can irritate very sensitive skins.[/quote]
ALL anti-ageing eye creams should also contain at least one powerful antioxidant.
The area around the eye should be regularly, 1-2 times a month, exfoliated to encourage skin renewal. Eye exfoliating products containing glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids are a gentle and progressive way to slough off dead skin around the eyes and encourage skin re-generation.
During the days following eye exfoliation, use a higher SPF eye cream product to protect the newly exfoliated skin from UV damage.
Tip: It is advisable with retinol skin products to begin gradually with lower doses until the skin gets used to it and then slowly increase the strength of the retinol content.
Problem – Dark Under Eye Circles
These tend to develop with age, and can begin to develop from early 30’s onwards. Dark under-eye circles are mostly caused by the thinning of the skin around the eye making blood vessels below the eye more visible and also due to some leakage of those blood vessels resulting in permanently discoloured skin. UV pigment damage and hormonal disruptions such as pregnancy and menopause can also make dark under-eye circles worse.
Eye creams with lightening ingredients can lighten the appearance of dark under eye circles. Chemical skin lighteners suitable for around the eye include hydroquinone and niacinamide. Natural skin lighteners include liquorice extract, vitamin C and kojic acid.
In addition camouflage cover up eye creams with light reflecting technology in them and tints can help deflect the appearance of dark circles and also camouflage the skin colour.[quote]New technology known as Nanoblur has recently been developed which uses tiny glass balls suspended in a cream to reflect light off the skin and also ‘fill in’ fine lines at the same time and is highly effective for use under and around the eye to mask the effects of both dark under-eye circles and for reducing the appearance of crow’s feet.[/quote]
Tip: Apply an under eye concealer that is one shade lighter than your normal foundation or tinted moisturiser as this gives a brightening effect to the skin around the eyes. Avoid using powder or powder compacts around the eyes as it can settle in fine lines and actually make them look worse.
Problem – Dryness & itching
The skin around the eyes contains also no oil glands an so it is very prone to extreme dryness. Dry and flaky skin around the eyes is very common and can cause itching and discomfort as well as make eyes look older than they really are by accentuating crow’s feet. In addition daily and heavy use of cosmetics and eye make up remover products can also strip the already delicate skin around the eye of moisture and cause dryness and irritation.
If you are at all prone eczema or dermatitis then the skin around the eyes and on the eye lids is likely to be one of the first places that is effected. With age the skin around the eyes naturally becomes drier, so many people find themselves developing eye eczema or dermatitis later in life.
Eye creams containing Hyaluronic acid are good for locking in moisture if the skin around the eyes is very dry. However if the skin is both dry and itchy, its likely that eczema or contact dermatitis from cosmetics are the cause of the problem and therefore treating the itch is more important than the dryness.[quote]Steroids are often used to treat eczema and dermatitis but they are not suitable for use on the delicate skin around the eye as they can permanently discolour the skin. A natural phytosteroid called Cardiospermum has been found in many studies to help relieve the itching and irritation of dry eye skin while being suitable for use around the eyes.[/quote]
Tip: after applying dry and itchy skin products around the eyes, cover eyes with warm damp compress or warm damp towel for 15 minutes to help lock in the moisture.
Problem – Puffiness
Puffy skin both above and below the eyes can make you look older as it shrinks the size of eye itself which has an instant aging effect. Puffy eyes can be caused by many factors from hormone changes, tiredness and dietary deficiencies to mild skin allergies to foods or skincare products and cosmetics. Allergies, even mild ones, can have a very visual effect on the eyes as the skin is very delicate and susceptible to swelling around the eyes.
Puffy eyes tend to be more of a problem in the mornings than during eth day or evenings. Eye creams containing caffeine used immediately in the morning can help reduce puffiness as caffeine helps constrict blood vessels under the eye and so reduce fluid retention. In addition calming eye gels containing aloe vera or chamomile can also help calm down puffiness.
Tip: If you suffer from frequent puffy eyes, put eye products in the fridge over night as the coldness of the cream when applied also helps constrict blood vessels and can reduce puffiness.
Other helpful eye care habits
- Wear sunglasses all year round to reduce squinting and to protect against UV damage. . Have multiple inexpensive pairs on hand in your car and bag. Oversized shades offer more eye protection to a larger part of the face. Also have sunglasses with lenses for both bright sun and darker days so you always have a pair that is suitable for the weather conditions.
- Do not be tempted to use greasy or thick emollients meant for other areas of eth face or body around the eyes. Although these may have great moisturising effects, the eyelash follicles are very delicate and can easily block wit greasy which can lead to infection. Heavy face creams uses around the eye run the risk of blocking the lash follicles and can also cause more puffiness.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach or side, which can lead to your skin becoming creased against your pillow for hours and contribute to the formation of crow’s feet
- Use a silk pillowcase, which help your skin stay smooth as you sleep.
- Sleeping with your head slightly raised above the rest of your body can help prevent fluid from pooling beneath the eyes and help prevent puffiness
- High salt content in your diet can also cause puffiness around the eyes.
- Always remove makeup before bed as sleeping in make up can cause puffiness and irritation.
- Try to sleep with a little heating on as possible at night as central heating while sleeping drains the skin of moisture and the eyes will suffer most.
- If using contact lenses, always cleanse away lens solution from around the eye area immediately after putting lenses in.
- Avoid washing the area around the eyes with water. Water can be abrasive to delicate eye skin. Make up removers can also lead to dryness and irritation. Instead opt for a mild and moisturising cream cleanser to remove make and direct from this area.