The eye area is complex in its needs.
We move the skin around our eyes a lot in the course of a day. Smiling, squinting, frowning.
This takes its toll because it’s thin, meaning it’s wrinkle-prone. Then we have to think about dark circles, eye bags and hollowing - the list of cosmetic concerns is long.
It’s also exposed to UV rays a lot and we’re often a bit less thorough about protecting it for fear of stinging due to rubbing SPF accidentally into our eyes.
The eye area is sensitive. Eyelid irritation is often the earliest sign that we’re reacting to something. And it might not even be something we’re using directly on the face - the eye area is often the first to show signs of allergens that we are in contact with through our hands.
Finally, we use cosmetics with a unique format in the eye area, like mascara and eyeliner, which are typically hard to shift.
So how do we go about building a great routine to mitigate for the ordeal it goes through?
How to cleanse the eye area
The answer - cleanse with care!!! In particular, take care with active or foaming cleansers - or skip altogether. I’m a fan of gentle surfactants and find micellar water works well for this. I always recommend removing any residue with water to avoid irritation in those who have very sensitive skin.
How to hydrate the eye area
Thin skin is subject to increased trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and can dry out over the course of the day. That means creased concealer. The secret is to use occlusives-rich moisturiser - a dedicated eye moisturiser is not needed. Do try using “moisturiser goggles” to shield eye area from actives, especially initially.
How to activate the eye area
My trifecta for a strong, resilient eye area is Vitamins A, B and C!.Vitamin A (or retinoids) are desirable for their skin-thickening, collagen building effects.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which neutralises aging free radicals and brighten dark circles.
Niacinamide (or vitamin B3) helps brighten and boost barrier function, making the eye area more tolerant of actives.
Dosing is key -take care with application and be sparing - you need less than you think.
Build up extra-slowly and increase frequency slower than you might for the rest of the face.
You’ll also need to use a lower strength than you’d use on the rest of the face, at least initially
How to protect the eye area
The most important step is the most-often missed.
Choose broad-spectcrum SPF that’s hydrating to avoid it finding fine lines - and choose mineral filters to avoid stinging.
Combine with antioxidants, especially vitamins B + C. This is especially important if you live in an urban environment. Finally, wear sunglasses unless its raining!
What to eat for eye health?
Certain vitamin deficiencies can contribute to dark circles - both vitamin B12 and iron deficiency can be problematic. Unsurprisingly, it’s beneficial to eat an antioxidant-rich too. Lycopene-rich fruits which are also loaded with flavonoids are winners - think watermelon, berries and tomatoes.
Finally vitamin K may help, strengthening the delicate eye capillaries. That means doubling down on greens like brussel sprouts and broccoli.
What procedures are popular for the eye area?
The eye area is molto complicato. Perhaps the most simple and frequently performed treatment is Botox, to treat crows feet.
Beyond that, there’s everything from tear trough filler to blepharoplasty (upper and lower) and then more complex surgical interventions to tackle under - eye bags. The most important thing here - see someone who does these kinds of procedure all the time. Oculoplastic surgeons work constantly in this area and I think are the best people to treat these concerns. You need technical ability and a good aesthetic eye. Enquire on the number of procedures performed per year, complication rate and get a couple of opinions before committing.
As with all things, a good skincare routine for the eye area builds great foundations for a healthy, youthful eye area. Those daily steps matter and compound over time, so there’s no time like the present to take action!