The eyes may be the window to the soul, but the skin that surrounds them is some of the thinnest on the body. It has no subcutaneous (fatty) layer, not much support structure and very few oil glands. For these reasons, it is especially vulnerable, wrinkles easily and needs to be protected and handled with care.
“The sun can lead to aging skin, which is often reflected in the delicate skin around the eyes,” according to Dr. Susan Resnick, O.D. FAAO in New York City. “Squinting can exacerbate and/or cause wrinkles around the eyes,” she continues. “Wear sunglasses when outside to avoid the need to squint from bright sunlight. Also, use an eye cream and facial moisturizer with SPF every day to help minimize and prevent sun damage.”
The skin on your eyelids can also burn and, according to Dr. Resnick, the eyelids are one of the most common sites for non-melanoma skin cancers. “Apply your facial sunscreen to your eyelids (taking care not to get into the eyes) to protect them from daily sun exposure, and always wear sunglasses when outside,” she says.
It is also crucial to be gentle with skin in the eye area. When you apply eye makeup or put in your contact lenses, do not tug on the skin. You may not see it now, but over time, the effects build up and can lead to increased sagging and wrinkling.
Apply eye cream, once or twice a day, with your fourth finger, which is the weakest and exerts the least pressure. Pat the cream on, back on forth, below the eye. Do not rub or pull, and avoid applying eye cream to the upper lids, especially at night, when it can potentially smear and irritate the eyes.
A good eye cream will help keep the area smooth and relatively free of lines and wrinkles. If your skin is oily or puffy, try an eye gel, which won’t clog pores and lead to breakouts like a cream might. If you need a more intensive treatment, try a serum.
EASY ON THE EYES
Here are top organic eye-cream ingredients and what they do.
LINES & WRINKLES. Soothe lines and wrinkles and firm skin with argan oil and grape and carrot seed extracts, rich in antioxidant vitamins A and C. Grape extracts are high in linoleic acids and polyphenols, which stimulate circulation to feed and nourish the skin. (The tannins in red wine can also reduce puffiness.)
Tip: Grapeseed oil is extremely light, absorbent and odor-free, and can even be used on its own to soften fine lines around the eye area, as well as remove eye makeup.
DARK CIRCLES. Reduce dark circles with vitamin K (phytonadione), daisy and calendula extracts, and peptides, to strengthen leaky capillaries that can lead to dark circles
TIGHTEN & TONE. Tighten, firm and tone with algae extracts, rich in minerals, and soothing cucumber and aloe, and chill the product in the refrigerator overnight
PUFFINESS. Take down puffiness with anti-inflammatory ingredients like chamomile, green tea, antioxidants or evening primrose oil.
Tip: Cut back on salt and drink a glass of water or two after dinner. Use an extra pillow to keep your head elevated while you sleep.
What To Try:
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Cream. Organic plant stem cells (lemon, apple and grape) in a resveratrol-rich grape seed juice base; $45; juicebeauty.com
Dr. Scheller Argan Oil & Amaranth Anti-Wrinkle Eye Care. Argan moisturizes and plumps skin while amaranth firms the skin. $38; drschellerusa.com
Veria ID Eye Cream. (ID stands for Inner Dosha) Ayurvedic herbs block collagen breakdown and broccoli seed extract is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. $24; veriaid.com
Voya Bright Eyes Eye Cream. Contains organic plant oils and seaweed to remineralize and de-puff the undereye area. $100; voya.ie
Desert Essence Revitalizing Eye Serum. A cocktail of peptides and caffeine, to reduce dark circles and tighten. $24.99; desertessence.com
“Always look for 100 percent UV-blocking sunglasses with large, dark lenses that completely cover the eye,” says Dr. Resnick. “But don’t rely on sunglasses alone for eye protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when outside, and, if you wear contact lenses, look for UV-blocking contact lenses.” She recommends ACUVUE® TruEye® Contact Lenses, which block more than 96 percent of UVA and 99 percent of UVB.
And we love these stylish eco sunglasses, which not only provide full UVA/UVB protection, the companies are philanthropic as well.
SOLO Eyewear. Handcrafted from recycled bamboo; each pair that is purchased funds eye care for those in need, through prescription eyeglasses and eye surgeries. soloeyewear.com
ICU Eyewear. Reading glasses and sunglasses made from reclaimed plastic, recycled metal and sustainable bamboo. A portion of proceeds from certain models is donated to support breast cancer research and awareness. icueyewear.com