While you might wish it weren’t so, the skin around your eyes is one part of your body that can show the earliest signs of premature aging, particularly without proper care.
But have you ever wondered why?
First, the skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate than the skin on other parts of your body. And because your eyes work a lot throughout the day, from blinking to expressing your emotions, this alone can cause premature aging.
Moreover, genetic reasons, ultraviolet (UV) rays, external stressors, and lifestyle choices can also cause the skin around the eyes to age more quickly.
Common eye area issues
- dark circles
- fine lines
- puffiness (including eye bags)
Yet no matter how old you are, it’s never too early or too late to give your eyes the love they deserve.
I’ve summed up some easy-to-follow tips that I personally subscribe to. Check them out below, and add them to your beauty routine today.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Moisturizing your skin is one of those underrated steps that often falls by the wayside but shouldn’t. Imagine our skin as a grape. When it loses water, it starts to shrink, and wrinkles can appear.
But once you put that water back in, it can help plump up and potentially reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The same applies for our eye area. Since they lack oil glands (our skin’s natural moisturizer), they can be more prone to dryness.
The most commonly asked question about moisturizing this part of your face is whether you can use your face moisturizer for the skin around your eyes. The answer is yes. As long as it doesn’t irritate your eyes and provides a sufficient amount of moisture, you’re good.
Keep in mind, however, that since the skin is thin around your eyes, it can be sensitive to regular face cream. If you feel a stinging sensation or your eyes turn watery or red, avoid using your regular face moisturizer, and instead invest in an eye cream.
Eye creams are often formulated with ingredients less likely to have an adverse effect on your eyes but contain enough active ingredients that may help reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Check the ingredients
When you’re on the hunt for the right eye cream, it’s important to know which ingredients to look for based on what you’re trying to treat. Below you’ll find ingredients I suggest choosing, based on your concern:
For fine lines
Aside from hydrating humectants, used to reduce the loss of moisture, you’ll want to look for ingredients that provide an immediate “plump up” effect.
For this result, opt for more potent ingredients that have been linked to stimulating collagen production. These include:
- retinoid (prescription-based)
- retinol (over-the-counter options)
- vitamin A derivate
- growth factors
For hyperpigmentation (dark circles)
To combat hyperpigmentation (dark circles) caused by the sun’s UV rays, you’ll want to look out for the following ingredients:
- kojic acid
- vitamin C
- niacinamide (vitamin B-3)
- azelaic acid
The remedy for puffy eyes can be as easy as getting enough sleep or drinking enough water. But when it comes to skin care ingredients, the following may help reduce puffiness:
- green tea and coffee berry polyphenols
- dipeptide-2 (Eyeliss)
- willow herb
For general concerns
For more general concerns about the skin around your eyes, look for antioxidants. These powerful ingredients help remove free radicals in the skin that are triggered by UV radiation, smoking, and pollutants. Moreover, they may also help put a brake on the aging process.
Look for the following:
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
- green tea
- vitamin B-3 (niacinamide)
Be gentle, always
From removing your eye makeup to applying products onto the skin around your eyes, it’s important to be gentle. As I mentioned above, the skin under your eyes is very thin. Because of this, the extra pressure from our daily activities has the potential to contribute to extra fine lines. The following are a few tips for ways to be gentler during your skin care routine:
When you remove your makeup
- Apply your favorite eye makeup remover to a cotton pad.
- Press the pad gently onto your skin.
- Slowly drag it in an outward motion.
- Repeat until your makeup is fully removed.
When you apply your products
- Apply your product to your pinky finger.
- Dab your products around the eyes, circling your eye area. Don’t forget the upper eyelid.
- Repeat until the product is fully absorbed into the skin.
Sun protection is a must
Sun exposure can play a big role in the skin aging process, and can lead the skin under your eyes to become darker.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen is truly an indispensable part of any skin care routine and should be applied every day. Even if it looks gloomy outside, UVA rays can still cause damage.
Also, don’t forget your upper eyelid. This is one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to applying sunscreen.
And if reapplying sunscreen on top of makeup, especially eye makeup, is too much of a hassle, consider investing in a pair of sunglasses that offers UV protection. This can help protect not only your eyes but also the skin around them from unwanted UVA and UVB rays.
Treat yourself to a massage
If you notice that your puffy eyes tend to come and go but look more obvious when you’re tired or haven’t been sleeping well, a simple massage might do the trick.
Other than some genetic factors, fluid retention can cause puffy eyes. This may be the result of a meal high in salt, lack of sleep, or even too much sleep.
Massaging under your eyes can help improve the circulation around them. The pressure from the massage may help drain excess fluid around this area and reduce puffiness.
And if you’re able to invest a bit of cash, a refrigerated jade roller may also help you relax the tension around this area and reduce puffiness.
Sleep, eat well, exercise, repeat
When it comes to changing your lifestyle habits and protecting the skin around your eyes, I’m a big advocate for what shows on the outside reflects what’s happening on the inside.
I subscribe to three lifestyle practices:
- get more sleep
- try to follow a healthy diet
I try to get at least six hours of sleep every night and regularly exercise to improve blood circulation. For me, when I don’t get enough sleep or exercise, not only do I feel fatigue much easier, but the skin around my eyes will become darker, puffier, and look “unhealthy.”
I also practice eating a balanced, healthy diet. Look for foods high in potassium, like bananas. Drinking enough water every single day is also important. My personal rule is eight 8-ounce glasses daily, though this may vary from person to person.
SMOKING AND SKIN CAREIf you’re looking to quit smoking, you’ve now got one more reason to: premature wrinkles. Smoking can speed up the normal aging process by impairing blood flow to your skin and damaging your levels of collagen and elastin, both of which contribute to your skin’s strength and elasticity.
Taking the nonsurgical route
While prevention should always be your first option, especially if you’re under the age of 30, genetics and age can still work against you.
If you’ve hit the point where topical treatments simply aren’t working, there are a number of nonsurgical options out there, from laser resurfacing and neuromodulation (Botox) to fillers. These procedures may help remove crow’s feet, aid in the loss of volume under your eyes, and provide an all-around “younger” look.
But while these fixes are quick, the price tag is often eye-watering. Botox can start from $550per session, while laser treatments can start from $1,031 per session. Paired with the fact that the outcome of these treatments isn’t necessarily permanent, consider consulting with a doctor first. They can discuss whether this is the right option for you.
There are so many different ways to give that much-needed love to the skin around your eyes. From moisturizing and sun protection to getting more sleep, implementing these game changers into your beauty routine, even if just one at a time, can help you on your way to improving the skin around your eyes.
Claudia is a skin care and skin health enthusiast, educator, and writer. She’s currently pursuing her PhD in dermatology in South Korea and runs a skin care-focused blog so she can share her skin care knowledge with the world. Her hope is for more people to be conscious about what they put on their skin. You can also check out her Instagram for more skin-related articles and ideas.