It’s often said that the eyes are the window to the soul but it’s no secret that the eye area is often the first to show signs of ageing. Given the very dynamic nature of smiling, the active but delicate eye area makes fine lines and wrinkles a top concern for many of us.
Our eyes are such a central part of our face and act as a communication tool to reveal our emotions and our state of well-being. When our eyes are bright, sparkly and the skin around them is radiant, we feel great about ourselves. On the flip-side, there’s nothing worse than being told you look tired or sad because the skin around your eyes isn’t quite as perky as it once was.
With mask-wearing becoming the new norm over the last 2 years, we’re all more focused on the upper half of the face than ever before, so what are the best ways to treat, reduce or prevent (ideally!) eye wrinkles?
What Causes Eye Wrinkles?
The skin around our eyes is the thinnest on the body, which means that it's highly susceptible to the effects of creasing due to the squeezing action of the muscle underneath - your orbicularis oculi muscle - which allows us to close our eyes and also crinkle up the skin when we smile. As the skin is thinner, that squeezing effect creates creases over time that eventually start to appear when the skin is also at rest.
Whilst the skin around the eyes contains elastin, which acts like lycra, allowing the skin to bounce back, because the skin is thinner around the eye, it also equates to less elastin there than in other parts of the body, making it more susceptible to the sagging.
With the combination of thinning skin as we age, muscle movement and an increasing loss of elasticity, the eye area can start to look tired, as lines get deeper and longer.
How To Prevent Eye Wrinkles? Preserve Your Elastin With SPF Around Your Eyes
Preserving your elastin is crucial to preventing and treating eye wrinkles, as it’s a highly precious protein in your skin that gives it its snap and recoil. Using sunscreen around the eye area is the most important thing to be protected against UVA rays but it’s often an area that gets missed when it comes to sunscreen application.
It’s essential that wearing SPF around the eyes becomes a daily habit and if you have sensitive eyes seek out a mineral sunscreen which tends to be less irritating. Look for a hydrating formula with your sunscreen because the eye area moves constantly throughout the course of the day, meaning that product will often try and find its way into creases if the product then dries out.
How To Treat Lines Around The Eyes? Collagen Stimulation
Collagen stimulation is key to improving the appearance of fine and wrinkles, and retinoids are the gold standard when it comes to tackling both as they power up the collagen-boosting fibroblasts. There is a lot of fear about using retinoids around the eye area but they can be your most effective tool, providing you are respectful of your skin's limits.
If you’ve read my blog on the retinoid scaries, you’ll know that retinoids can be irritating when first starting out. With the delicate eye area, use a dedicated retinoid formulated for the eye area to ease into things gently. If you’re using your normal retinoid, dose-reduce and buffer it accordingly. You can dilute your retinoid by applying moisturiser underneath, as a layer on top or even mixing it into your retinoid. These simple but effective hacks mean you tease your eye area into tolerating a retinoid, but slow, steady and incrementally is always the right way to go. Retinoids are excellent to thicken up the skin to make it more crease resistant, so less prone lines get etched in, which keeps the surface brighter, the area more light reflective, and you'll look fresher.
Vitamin C can also be beneficial when used in the morning to help with collagen assembly, brightening and as an antioxidant which further prevents UV damage.
How To Treat Lines Around The Eyes? Lifestyle Changes
When looking at lifestyle, one of the most important things you can do is to wear sunglasses diligently. A well-fitting pair of sunglasses with UV protection is a great asset when it comes to keeping the delicate eye area protected from UVA damage.
With your diet, when eating for healthy skin around our eyes, include antioxidant-rich food to help preserve collagen, such as berries, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and sweet potato. The best healthy foods for glowing skin are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients which help maintain bouncy collagen and help reduce the tendency to form wrinkles around the eyes.
Eating foods that will improve our skin’s hydration levels and barrier function is also a must. Try to incorporate nuts, flaxseed, avocado and oily fish which are a great source of essential fatty acids that build healthy cell membranes and ensure our skin barrier works well to reduce transepidermal water loss, keeping skin looking dewy and hydrated.
Hopefully, these tips will help you on your way to fall back in love with your peepers. It’s important to remember that lines around the eyes are completely normal and also signify happy emotions, which is why so many people don’t want to do anything at all. But if you feel that wrinkles around your eyes are bothering you, the simple approach of combining skincare with lifestyle changes can make a significant difference. And, if they're bothering you a lot, there are more advanced treatments such as Botox. I believe that the small but meaningful steps we implement ourselves and have control over every day offer the best approach for most of us when it comes to managing the problem.