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Do no harm to your eye area skin

Regardless of what area of your skin we are talking about, the best thing you can do for it, is to protect it from all sorts of damage. You may want to start with reading our article on how to minimize skin damage. However, the eye area skin is particularly fragile and may require extra efforts for optimal protection and preservation. Here is some of the additional things to keep in mind when protecting your eye area skin.

Avoid squinting

Squinting creates motion wrinkles known as crow's feet. Many people squint without knowing it. Ask people who see you every day whether you tend to squint. Squinting is common among people who are nearsighted and either do not wear glasses or have insufficiently strong ones. If you don't see clearly in the distance when your eyes are relaxed, chances are you tend to squint. The key to avoiding squinting is being aware of it and adjusting your eyewear to ensure clear vision.

UV protection

The eye area skin is particularly sensitive to UV rays. It is critical to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure to follow basic sun protection guidelines. For extra eye area protection, you may want to wear UVA & UVB blocking sunglasses wide enough to also protect the skin around the eye.

Watch out for skin irritation

Skin irritation and inflammation, which often go together, markedly contribute to skin aging by generating large amounts of noxious free radicals. The skin around the eye is highly prone to irritation. Some skin care products may be too irritating to the eye area. For example, tretinoin (a.k.a. Retin A, Renova) often causes skin dryness and irritation, particularly in the eye area. If you are using tretinoin but have persistent dryness and irritation around the eyes, it is likely that you are doing more harm than good. The same is true of alpha hydroxy acids, which sometimes irritate under eye skin, especially when used in high concentration or at pH less than 3.5.

If you intend to use an eye product that contains potentially irritating ingredients (tretinoin, alpha hydroxy acids, high strength ascorbic acid, papain, bromelain - to name a few), it is best adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Start with the lowest possible concentration of active ingredient, and only if no irritation develops after two week, consider increasing the strength if needed. Keep in mind that lower concentrations of active ingredients are often effective around the eye because the penetration in that area is greater than elsewhere on the face.
  • Before trying a product under the eye, try it first on the inside of your arm (also a relatively sensitive area) and then on your face away from the eye area.
  • If a product you are trying has a version specifically formulated for the eye area, use the latter. True, some companies formulate eye creams simply to add another item to their product line and increase profits. However, in most cases eye creams tend to be more hydrating and less irritating.
  • If significant irritation develops, discontinue the product. If a minor irritation develops, you may try a healing agent, such as a copper peptide cream for a few days. If the irritation persists, discontinue the eye product.

Judicial use of makeup

Makeup products often contain potential skin irritants. For the sake of long-term skin health, it is best to use makeup in moderation, particularly in the eye area. Long-lasting makeup may be particularly harmful because it tends to contain harsher chemicals and also requires highly irritating solvents for its removal.


Puffiness in the eye area is a common manifestation of mild facial edema. Edema is a term for the excess fluid accumulation in soft tissue manifested by swelling. Edema stretches the skin and eventually leads to wrinkles and sagging. The eye area is particularly prone to edema due to the dense capillary network and lack of fat padding.

It is important to know that significant edema (especially if not confined to face) may be a sign of a health problem, such as kidney or liver disease, and needs to be investigated by a physician to rule out medical conditions. A variety of allergies may also cause facial puffiness. If you have persistent puffiness make sure to rule out allergic reactions to your environment, food or skin care products.

A more common situation, however, is morning puffiness (mild facial edema that occasionally occurs in the morning and goes away during the day) caused by lifestyle factors rather than a health condition.

It is important to minimize morning puffiness not so much because it is a transient nuisance after awakening but because it is one of the biggest contributors to the aging of the eye area. Eliminating or reducing puffiness is not always easy but with some diligence can be done in the majority of cases. If puffiness is your problem, see Eye Skin Care Infopack for detailed, practical guidelines on getting it under control.


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