Skin Care & Your Eyes
This post originally appeared on the Denver Style Magazine Blog here on March 31, 2017
When I talk to people about aging, or really about skin in general, a frequent concern that comes up is the eyes, or rather the areas around the eyes. Many of my clients are concerned about dry skin, puffiness, weird little bumps, dark circles and wrinkles. The eyes are the focal point of your face and tend to capture a lot of attention. They also age easily and show age easily. That's what makes taking care of this area very important. There are a lot of things you can do to minimize these concerns with proper attention to your skin care.
Yes, you probably need an eye cream
First things first. Although I understand wanting to skip the expense and the extra step in your routine, a good eye cream is well worth the investment. It's a fact that the skin around your eyes is extremely delicate compared to the rest of your skin. There are less layers of skin and other tissue there. This area produces little to no oil but receives a lot of exposure, so the moisture barrier there is easily damaged and is harder to recover with age. The tissues break down more easily, too. Wrinkles start to appear as collagen production decreases. You should start using an eye cream as early as your 20s.
Eye creams are specifically formulated with all of this in mind. The most basic of eye creams will contain gentle hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, which is the important part for keeping this area looking youthful. You can only minimize certain concerns so much, but prevention is key. Still many eye creams go above and beyond this. New formulas are being developed every day utilizing peptides, hyaluronic acid and even retinoids. Industry technology has made it possible to treat around the eyes with potent ingredients, while buffering them enough to not be irritating to the eye.
One thing that is important to know about the eyes is that many common concerns (like dark circles) are genetic and not entirely avoidable. That said, you can still absolutely minimize the severity of a concern simply by keeping your skin happy and healthy. Here are a few specifics on what to aim for, based on your concerns:
For dark circles, vitamin c, vitamin k, licorice root and certain peptides are good for minimizing their appearance. The same goes for a good concealer. But to truly combat dark circles your best bet is drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest. (You'll find this is a common theme as we go on.)
For puffiness you want to avoid salty foods and partying. Lack of sleep or even certain sleeping positions can also be the culprit. Other things like allergies and hormones are unavoidable. Not to worry. Ingredients like white tea and caffeine can help with swelling, but you can also do a lot to minimize puffiness simply by placing a cool compress on the area. (I'm a fan of what I call "Freezer Spoons"). This is the same idea behind cucumbers or tea bags on your eye. It's all about reducing swelling with the cold.
For wrinkles and fine lines you can exfoliate very gently around your eyes (never on the lid!) to keep the area turning over and producing healthy cells. Just be very cautious not to over do it. Some eye creams contain very buffered retinoids for this purpose. Peptides can be a good ingredient to look for, as they act as communicators with your skin. They can signal the production of more collagen to help plump out the area. Basic hydration will also help plump out fine lines. Look for eye creams with hyaluronic acid for that extra boost.
Dry or dehydrated under eyes can be just that - dry and flaky - or they can also give way to issues like milia or other strange little bumps. These issues have a lot to do with internal hydration so start there. But then also be sure to moisturize the area externally. Some hydrating serums can be used up to the last line for this reason. Ingredients like vitamin E and hyaluronic acid help with rebuilding the moisture barrier, which will then usually sort out the issues that come with dryness.
Other things to know about eye cream
By now, you've probably heard that you should only use your ring finger to apply product around the eye. This is true, but additionally, you want to be careful when applying makeup or taking it off, not to pull on the skin too aggressively. Always use a light touch when dealing with your eyes and apply product along the orbital bone (the line where your eye socket begins) not too close to your actual eyes. You will also want to check to see whether or not your eye cream can be applied to the lid or brow area. Some creams are really only designed for underneath the eye, but others can be used around the whole area.
You can apply eye cream morning or night, or even both as long as your eye product is appropriate for your skin type and doesn't cause irritation or breakouts. If you only want to apply eye cream once day, I'm a fan of doing it first thing in the morning, so that you reap the benefits all day. But there's nothing wrong with doing it at night. If you want to get extra fancy, try layering two of your favorite eye creams or pair an eye serum under an eye cream. You could also use one cream in the morning targeted to one concern and a different product at night. There's really no wrong way.
Other Tricks On a day-to-day basis, caring for your eye area should involve drinking plenty of water, applying your eye cream of course, but also applying SPF to prevent further breakdown of tissues due to sun damage. Wearing sunglasses is perfect for protecting your eyes, not only from direct sun exposure but from squinting, which can cause wrinkles. Also, be sure not to neglect your eye area when cleansing and removing makeup. Letting makeup sit overnight in the creases, can make fine lines worsen over time.
If you just need a quick-fix to perk up your eyes on a particularly tired day or to make them appear more bright and youthful for an event, there are a few ways to fake it. The aforementioned Freezer Spoons trick is one I use a lot. Gently placing a cool compress on the areas that are puffy or swollen. Eye masks which are all the rage these days, are also great. They provide a boost of plumping hydration, while soothing the eye area with ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid. Short of that, a good highlighter and mascara, can usually be a brilliant fix. Calling attention away from your problem areas and accentuating your the rest might be all you need.