Friday, April 5, 2013

Everything you need to know about Eye Creams .

The skin under the eye & why we need to treat it!

The skin that starts just beneath the lower lash-line and reaches down to the top of our orbital bones can be up to 4 times thinner that the skin on the rest of the face. Therefore it's more fragile and more easily damaged.
The area tends to be packed with blood vessels which contributes to darkness or 'dark circles' and can also make the skin more sensitive. 
We are drier under the eyes thanks to a lack of oil and water glands, meaning we don't have the same natural protective barrier function there as we have on the rest of the face.
We can also be prone to the dreaded puffiness under the eyes from fluid retention, lack of sleep, allergies, too much sodium in out diet etc. Or annoyingly, it simply comes with age!
The little fat we have in the area can break down as we age and migrate south a little, collecting in a 'pocket' of fat, which causes shadows.
On the flip side, some people get a 'hallowed' look under the eyes which can cause darkness and shadows too. This comes from loss of fat and dehydration etc 
Lovely! Ha ha.

Some of the outside greatest offenders to our skin include;
* Smoking and pollution... if you want to stay wrinkle free STOP SMOKING NOW!!!!
* Sun damage.
*Lack of sleep (The skin doesn't get the chance to repair the damage from the day)
* Pulling and tugging (repetitious rubbing of the eyes, too-aggressive makeup removal etc) 

Don't expect to be able to permanently alter genetic predispositions like puffiness & dark circles etc through the use of eye creams alone. You can temporarily improve the appearance of these with brightening and tightening ingredients but they will wear off.

When to start using eye cream??

Always think 'prevention' when it comes to starting off with skincare. 
If you naturally have dry skin at a young age, start as soon as possible. Young teens to mid teens. Dry skin is more susceptible to developing fine lines, even at a young age, so it is important to treat it early.  Dry skin, especially on teens, tends to be more sensitive so look for formulas with 'sensitive' on the packaging. 
If you're not particularly dry in the area, starting in your early to mid 20's should be fine. 
The main thing is to provide hydration, which protects the delicate skin and can also 'fill out' the skin, by slightly plumping it out through hydration , hiding any fine lines. 
Whatever age you are, always incorporate sun protection into your day time routine, especially around the eyes, where you are more susceptible to sun damage. (wrinkling, sun spots etc)
Once you hit your 30's and beyond, you can start to think about anti-aging.

Eye Cream Ingredients & what they do! 

* Anti-Oxidants; These include green tea, Vitamins A & E etc.
These protect against the free radicals that attack the skin and protect the collagen from breaking down.
* Caffeine; This helps to tighten and reduce puffiness.
* Concealer & highlighters; These are added to correct discolouration. They can brighten hallows and shadows so are perfect for dark circles.
* Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerine & Urea; These are all strong humectants. (Attract water to the skin and hold it there!) They plump up the skin & offer immediate hydration.
* Niacinamide; also known as Vitamin B3. This holds onto moisture in the skin and creates a protective barrier. It also helps to diminish discolouration over time.
* Peptides; These are the building blocks that create protein and strengthen the soft tissue. 
* Retinol; This is a strong anti-aging ingredient that stimulates cell turnover and collagen production. Best to use this at night time as UV exposure can break it down and the retinol can also cause sun-sensitivity. Less is more!
* Silicones; dimethicones etc (These are usually the ingredients that end in '-icone') These help to prime and smooth the surface, and also trap in moisture. Great for under makeup!
* SPF; Sun-protection of at least SPF15 is a must for day time wear.
* Vitamin C; This is a brightening agent that works over time with continuous use. Also aids in collagen production & elasticity. 
* Vitamin K & Hydroquinone; The Vitamin K helps to restrict blood flow and the Hydroquinone lightens and brightens, making them a formidable duo for battling dark circles.

Things to avoid in Eye Cream formulas include alcohol and fragrance.

Some of the above ingredients will show instantaneous (temporary) results ie; concealers, silicones, humectants etc, and some will work over time for more permanent results, ie: Vitamin C, retinol etc.

Ingredients & formula to suit your age, plus day & night creams.

*Starting off, you want to concentrate on hydration and protection. So look for light hydrating formulas that don't 'sit' on top of the skin, and always include your SPF (for day time) and anti-oxidants.
*Going into your late 20's and early 30's, depending on how you age and take care of yourself etc, you can start incorporating anti-aging ingredients like peptides. Look for formulas with humectants to plump and intensely hydrate the skin. If you aren't using a separate night cream, definitely start now. And of course, continue with your SPF during day time hours. 
* Once you hit your 40's and beyond, you can begin using richer more potent formulas & serums. Include active ingredients like retinol. And as before continue with your sun protection.  

Why you shouldn't use formulas that are anti-aging too soon??
Well it can just be redundant often. Many formulas are designed to increase cell turnover which isn't really a problem in younger skin, also the anti-aging formulas can sometimes be more expensive. Younger skin is usually a little more sensitive and can get irritated by the stronger active ingredients as well as suffer from sun sensitivity. And of course, they could cause small breakouts on younger skin also due to sensitivity.

The various formulas;

*Light creams/fluids; These are usually what you start with and are hydrating.
*Gels; These are often tightening and for de-puffing. Might not always suit a very dry under-eye area.
* Rich Creams; Tend to be thicker formulas for older skin and contain anti-aging ingredients.
*Serums; These are usually anti-aging and contain repairing ingredients.

(The above descriptions are very general and will not be accurate in all circumstances)

*DAY formulas; These should contain SPF & anti-oxidants. This is also when you should incorporate your ingredients offering short-term, immediate results like for tightening (caffeine etc) or brightening through concealer etc.
*NIGHT formulas; These can be richer & need to contain your repairing, active ingredients like retinol, peptides, vitamin C etc.

'Tightening' or 'Firming' formulas can sometimes contain alcohol or caffeine which work by temporarily dehydrating the skin to give it a taute appearance. After a while this can make the area look dry and enhance fine lines.

Can you use facial moisturiser as eye cream?
..... plus tips & tricks.

Answer?? Sometimes! It totally depends on the formula and ingredients. Some ingredients in your normal facial moisturiser may cause the eyes to 'puff' up or swell, or it may not offer enough hydration for the eye area. SPF that is in facial formulas may not be treated to suit the delicate eye area and therefore may irritate it. These creams/lotions will often say 'Not suitable for the eye area' so always read the label!!!
If your face lotion contains chemical exfoliants like Glycolic or Salicylic acid then do NOT use them around the eyes.  Also moisturisers that are designed to help fight acne or to absorb/retard excess oil production won't be suitable either.
Light hydrating lotions/creams that don't contain strong active ingredients are usually ok but it does depend on the individual also and their level of sensitivity. If in doubt, always use a cream or formula that is specifically designed for the eye area!!
Do consider price also, I have found that some inexpensive brands and products can be as good as or far superior to 'luxury' and expensive brands. Always do a little homework.

Tips & Tricks... 

* Leave your eye creams/gels/serums in the fridge, particularly your day formula!
This colder product will sooth the area and help restrict blood flow (shrinking blood vessels) which can brighten the area and reduce puffiness. This can also prolong the shelf life of the product.
* Leave a metal spoon in the fridge/freezer also as an emergency treatment for tired, puffy eyes. And the old wives tips of applying cold cucumber slices or cold tea bags can work a treat too :)
*Applying too much product can be counterproductive and cause some product to accumulate beneath the skin over time (YEUK!!!) This will cause puffiness and can irritate the area. Also using formulas that are too rich for sensitive skin can cause milia.
*Always wear your sunglasses when outside or in direct sunlight for added protection!
*Apply the product with your ring finger using GENTLE circular motions or by tapping it in place. Never tug or pull at the area as this can loosen the skin, leading to crepey-ness and fine lines.
Using a synthetic fluffy eye brush applies product around the eye area nicely too.
*Where to apply the eye cream will depend on the formula. Generally you want to hydrate the entire eye area. Concentrate on the outer corners where 'crows feet' can appear from smiling etc or below the eyes where the skin folds when you smile/laugh. This is where you should concentrate retinol etc on too. If you are using a formula to brighten dark circles, concentrate the product on the darkest inner corners. etc...
*If your upper eye lids are naturally a bit oily, there probably is no need to apply cream here. You can however if your lids are dry. Be careful of products that contain stronger ingredients on the upper lids as they can absorb through the thin skin and irritate the eyes.

Eye Cream recommendations!

* Clinique 'All About Eyes' Eye Gel
* Clinique 'Repair Wear' Eye Cream
* Clinique 'Advanced Stop Signs' Eye Cream SPF15
* Origins 'Plantscription' Eye Cream
* Olay 'Regenerist' Eye Cream with a touch of concealer.
* Olay 'Advanced age defying roller'
* Vichy 'Lift Activ Retinol HA Eyes' SPF18
* Boots 'Time Delay Skin Restoring Eye Cream' SPF15
* Clarins 'Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour' SPF30 with 100% mineral filters
* Murad 'Essential C' Eye Cream' SPF15
* ROC 'Retinol Correxion' Eye Cream (comes in sensitive)
* La Roche-posay 'Redermic R' Range
* Elemis 'Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye treatment'
* Vichy 'Lift Activ Serum 10'



  1. This is an area that I have started to worry about as I am rapidly approaching my 40's and so far have managed to be ok with very little lines, but as you say prevention is the key! Thanks for the recommendations, will check them out

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