The Skin Under Your Eyes Is the First Place To Show Signs of Aging
The skin around your eyes is super thin, and it gets thinner and thinner as you age. This means that it shows signs of aging faster than, say, your forehead or your cheeks. So if you're interested in taking the best care of your skin for the long haul, you've got to prioritize your eyes, explains Deirdre Hooper, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Louisiana.
"Eye skin is the thinnest skin on your face and on your body," says, Dr. Hooper. When skin gets thinner, it loses elasticity and has less support, making it more prone to wrinkles. "It's just like fabric, right? If you've got a thick leather pair of pants, they're not going to wrinkle that easily. But a little linen dress? That's going to wrinkle and you've got to be real careful."
To take care of your eye skin, there are three key things you need to keep in mind.
How to take care of your eye skin
1. Protect your eyes from the sun
"The sun is so powerful at removing both collagen and elastin, so exposure is going to make your eye skin thinner and less elastic," says Dr. Hooper. "My number one tip is to be sure you're applying sunblocks to your upper and lower lids, to the lashes, and reapplying to these areas during the day, because that's going to keep your skin as protected as possible." Up that protection by wearing sunglasses whenever you're outside, says Shani Darden, esthetician and founder of an eponymous skin-care line. Yes, even if it's not super sunny.
Sometimes, sunscreen can irritate your eyes when you apply it directly. To avoid this, Dr. Hooper recommends looking for gentle formulas. Generally, mineral sunscreens are better tolerated than chemical sunscreens.
2. Be gentle
Your eye skin is super delicate, so Darden says you have to be careful when you're touching it. "Use gentle movements when cleansing the eye area and gently smooth or pat when applying any products," she explains. "You never want to tug at the skin."
Not only can tugging at and rubbing your eyes cause irritation, but it can also cause the undereye area to darken, says Dr. Hopper. "Especially in patients with skin of color, one of the biggest complaints is, 'my eye skin is dark,' and a lot of the times it's dark because it's been rubbed chronically," she says. So if you've got itchy eyes, don't rub or scratch them—either pat them or apply something cool like an ice pack. If they're always itchy, she says to talk to your doctor about trying an antihistamine.
3. Apply products to both your upper and lower lids
Everyone is often focused on caring for their under-eye, but you don't want to forget about your eyelids. "Depending on your ethnicity and your genetics, you see problems on the under-eye starting around age, honestly, 30," says Dr. Hooper. "Then, the upper eyelid starts going on everybody in the mid-40s." If your goal is to delay signs of aging, Dr. Hooper says the sooner you start taking proper care of both your eye skin, the better.
4. Use products designed for the eyes
When shopping for a good eye cream, Dr. Hooper says to expect them to be a bit expensive. They tend to contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, which is what ups their price point, but Dr. Hooper confirms that the research and formulas that go into making higher-end products make them worth it. However, if shelling out for a top-notch cream isn't right for you, she says it's best to spend your money on the holy trinity of skin care—SPF, an antioxidant, and a retinoid. "Most products that are made for the face can absolutely translate their benefits to eyelid skin," says Dr. Hooper. "You don't have to purchase an eye cream."
But, if you want the best results and are okay spending a little extra money, get the eye cream.
"It’s best to specifically use products that are formulated specifically for the eye area," says Darden. "They are formulated at a lower molecular weight than moisturizers, which means they can penetrate the delicate eye area better. Additionally, eye creams are formulated with ingredients to specifically target fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles for brighter, more youthful eyes."
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