Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Rithi Choudhury (Journalist) on 12th Oct 2020
How to Take Care of Under Eye Skin
Why is Under Eye Care Important?
The delicate area around and under your eyes needs extra care compared to the rest of your face because it is where the first signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles, are prominently noticeable.
If you are under the impression that you are already taking care of it by using an eye cream regularly, then read on to find out why it may not be right or even enough in the first place.
Understanding Your Eye Contour
The skin around the eyes is several times more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face. Therefore it is more prone to damage from aggressive pulling, tugging, rubbing, or using products with irritating ingredients.
How To Care For Under Eye Area
The first and most crucial step in sound and healthy skin is well hydration.
Moisturize the under eye area religiously like you moisturize the rest of your face. The area under your eyes does not have oil glands underneath it- unlike the rest of the face, to produce sebum for lubrication.
Dehydration can make the existing fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable or lead to the development of fine lines & wrinkles, aka crow's feet. Hence make sure to quench your eye contour area's thirst with regular moisturization.
When it comes to cleansing you're under eye area, choose for fragrance-free options to avoid irritation.
Many fragrances like linalool, limonene, geraniol, etc. are commonly known irritants, and it is better to avoid using them on your delicate eye area. However, it is common to use the face wash all over the face, including the eye area, to take the day off and makeup (if wearing any).
People with oily acne-prone skin often use face washes with Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide as an active ingredient. While these ingredients are great to keep acne at bay, they will cause excessive dryness when used around the eye area. Choose fragrance-free options or fragrance-free micellar water to cleanse the eye area of makeup and sunscreen.
To remove heavy eye makeup, use an oil-based cleanser as it dissolves all the makeup without vigorous rubbing. Later cleanse the oil with a second, gentle cleanser.
We hope when you put on sunscreen (whether rain or shine), you do not forget the eye area. Generally, people tend to rub a product between their palms and pat unevenly on their faces.
The eye area - the top of the lids, the corners, and the skin underneath needs optimum UV protection as they are more delicate than the rest of the face.
Now with sunscreens, you need to be mindful of which ones you choose. As you probably know, Sunscreens come in two types:
- chemical sunscreen and
- physical sunscreen.
Chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays and convert them into heat in the skin. Physical sunscreens directly block the UV rays acting like a shield by sitting on top of the skin. The common complaint with physical sunscreen is that it often leaves a white cast after application because of its primary ingredient, zinc oxide.
While chemical sunscreen does not leave any form, it has chemicals like oxybenzone and avobenzone. These ingredients protect you from the sun, but since they release the heat into the skin after absorbing the UV rays, they may trigger pigmentation or dark circles. Again the safety of oxybenzone and avobenzone is a controversial one.
Therefore physical sunscreens are our first choice and make sure you go for fragrance-free variants with SPF 30 or more.
Always wear sunglasses for extra protection when it's sunny outside. Not only will it elevate your outfit, but your eye area will thank you!
Choose The Correct Ingredients:
Using an under eye cream is a good idea but what is even better is when you choose one with the ingredients especially suited to your needs. For example, if your concern is hydration and supple suppleness, look for humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin; for pigmentation and dark circles, look for lightening ingredients like licorice, arbutin, caffeine; for lines and wrinkles, look for ingredients like retinoids, niacinamide, etc.
Apart from these ingredients, try to get one with antioxidants like vitamin E and green tea, peptides and ceramides to protect your eye area from free radicals and help repair and renew the skin. Generally, many eye creams contain a bunch of dimethicones (for the instant smoothening effect) and fragrances. It is why you should turn the tub and educate yourself about the ingredient list on the products you are putting/using on your skin.
Avoid rubbing the products around your eyes area or pulling your skin while applying creams or makeup. Use the ring finger (as it exerts the least pressure) for applying creams/serums and gently pat in round motions. Other than that, you can fold both your forefingers and dab them gently over the eye area in a circular motion for massaging in the products.
Do You Need Separate Eye Creams?
Honestly, your regular moisturizer will serve you well if your concern is only hydration and suppleness, provided your moisturizer is free from irritating ingredients.
Otherwise, if your problem is to target dark circles or fine lines and wrinkles and believe your regular moisturizer does not have the unique elements to target those concerns, then eye cream is a good idea.
You can generally use the face moisturizer that you use to address signs of lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, skin repair, etc. around the eyes.
If you think the idea of using your face creams around your eye area does not seem safe, it is not so. Because the cream that you put on your face eventually travels around and gets to your eye contour area anyway.
If your face cream has all the right ingredients to treat your area of concern for the skin around your eyes, then go ahead and use it.
But we repeat again and again if your moisturizer has ingredients that are irritating like fragrance, potent retinoids, strong AHAs, etc., then avoid that. That being said, also try to avoid eye creams or serums with fragrances.
Are Fragrances Bad?
Fragrances is an umbrella term used for various chemicals used in skincare and cosmetics for aromatic and masking purposes. So apart from being pleasing to the olfactory receptors and covering the smells of the other ingredients used, they have no real benefit to offer.
Yet they can make or break a product in terms of sales because most consumers worldwide want to smell like fruits and flowers. As a result, cosmetic and skincare companies put a bunch of fragrances/perfumes in their formulations. The problem with aromas is that one never really knows what chemical goes inside.
Several chemicals can be listed together under the term fragrance, and you can never know if one particular chemical can be an irritant. Usually, people with sensitive skin are advised to steer clear of products with fragrances because their skin reacts readily.
People with normal skin can tolerate fragrances, but there have been instances where they may develop allergies after several years of usage and start responding to the product itself, which is why it is better to be on the safer side and avoid fragrance altogether.
But that is not our final verdict on fragrances. The debate on the safety of fragrance is still on. While we adopt a flexible outlook, for extra caution, we are careful of products with fragrances, especially when it comes to our delicate skin, around the eye area.
Can You Use Eye Creams On Face?
The answer depends on the composition. Many eye creams have a thicker formulation because the skin around the eyes is poreless, and therefore, the pore-clogging factor is cast aside when formulating.
In case you have oily or acne-prone skin, using a thick eye cream on your face not only contributes to greasiness but might also clog your pores. If there are comedogenic (pore blocking) ingredients, you will end up with whiteheads, their sisters - blackheads, and their cousins - pimples.
We strive to be as honest with you as possible to address your cosmetic concerns and educate you about ingredients. While a good under eye cream, followed by sunscreen and gentle cleansing, will keep the eye area hydrated and supple, it cannot stop your biological clock and forever prevent you from getting wrinkles and saggy skin. 'Anti-ageing' is a marketing gimmick, and you cannot control your body from carrying on its natural processes. It is tuned to grow and, subsequently, age.
However, science and technology have made it possible to delay aging signs and even mask them through Botox and fillers.
Whether you choose to get them or not is entirely your choice. Remember, the lines around your eyes are beautiful because they indicate your experience through life, and likewise, your laugh lines indicate what a fulfilling life you have had so far. If you are bothered by those fine lines, wrinkles, and loose skin around the eye, go ahead and talk with a licensed dermatologist for details about procedures you might want to get.
The Last Word - Do's And Don'ts Of Under Eye Care
- Do not exfoliate your under-eye area with physical scrubs.
- Avoid using makeup removers or toners with drying alcohols like denatured alcohol.
- Avoid cleansing eye makeup with makeup wipes as they most often contain alcohol, fragrances and are even worse for the planet.
- When the eyes are puffy, rub an ice cube covered with a towel or place a cold steel spoon (refrigerated) over the idea to get rid of the puffiness.
- Avoid trying DIYs from the internet without proper research to avoid causing damage to the delicate eye area.
- Get lots of sleep to prevent/get rid of dark circles in the first place.
- Use sweet almond oil under the eye for removing makeup and nourishing at the same time.
- Learn and practice eye exercises to relax the muscles around the eyes.
- If possible, wear reading glasses while working on the screen to reduce the strain on the eyes, which frequently shows up as dark circles under the eyes.