Make sure the eyes have it with these seven steps to perfect peepers
The skin around the eyes is the most delicate anywhere on the face or body, so be gentle with it! Marie McKeever, Head of Treatment Development for Clarins UK, says: “The eye contour area is as fine and fragile as tissue paper (0.06mm). It produces very few sebaceous secretions and is often sensitive and very mobile, meaning it is more prone to puffiness, dark shadows, dryness and premature lines and wrinkles, so you must be careful to apply products specifically formulated for this delicate area.” The method with which products are applied is just as important as the products themselves, according to Michelle Sutton, pharmacist and director of Butterflies Healthcare (distributor of Eye Care Cosmetics and NATorigin): “A common mistake is to pull or drag the skin around the eyes. Use your ring or little fingertip to carefully dab a few small dots of the formulation on, then carefully tap the dots to allow them to be absorbed,” she says.
Removing your eye make up thoroughly but gently at the end of the day is of paramount importance; failure to do so can lead to infection, discomfort and premature skin ageing. It’s crucial to use a product formulated especially for the delicate skin around the eyes that will also eliminate all traces of make-up. Ian Baynes, B. Skincare Expert, says: “Most make-up is naturally waterproof as it is wax based, therefore consumers need to choose a product that will dissolve these oils, but not damage the delicate eye skin.” Oil-based removers are best for heavy make-up and waterproof mascara, while creams will generally better suit dry skin, and lighter water-based lotions work well for oilier skin. When removing eye make-up, avoid dragging the skin by rubbing from side to side. McKeever advises: “Generously dampen a cotton wool disc with your eye make-up remover and gently sweep in a down and then outward movement over the eyelids and lashes. Flip the cotton wool and use the clean side to gently wipe across the eye from the inner to the outer corner and from the roots to the tips of the lashes, then repeat if necessary.”
With skin ten times thinner than elsewhere, all of us will experience fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes; the key to minimising the damage is to avoid excess wear and tear, and to keep skin hydrated and protected. Baynes says: “With the eyes being so active and in constant motion, it is important to prevent any excess squinting or straining. Make sure to always wear sunglasses in the sunlight and get plenty of sleep, which will help to restore moisture in skin. To further replenish any lost hydration, use a cream that contains hyaluronic acid.” Avoid rubbing and tugging at the skin around the eyes, and opt for anti-ageing eye creams or serums, applied with a light touch morning and night.
Dark circles aren’t just caused by late nights. Caroline Frazer, Simple Skincare Expert, explains: “They can be the result of heredity, lack of sleep, allergies, nasal congestion, sun exposure, ageing and lifestyle factors including smoking or stress.” Applying products that help to increase micro-circulation and strengthen the capillary walls in this area can help, along with some gentle facial exercises. Frazer says: “Sit up straight, then close your eyes and relax for a minute or two. While opening your eyes wide, lift your eyebrows up as high as you possibly can. Hold this position for two seconds,. then relax for two seconds and repeat. Complete this exercise ten times.” To immediately reduce the appearance of dark circles, choose an eye cream or concealer with light reflecting particles.
Puffiness is a result of fluid retention around the eyes, and can be caused by allergies, eating too much salt and overloading the eye area with too-heavy products. To tackle puffiness, McKeever advises: “Suggest a product that is going to stimulate lymphatic micro-circulation, decongest, firm and tone. A gel is also great to use on puffy eyes as the refreshing texture instantly soothes.” Sutton adds: “Eye treatments containing plant extracts from melilot (sweet clover) have been used traditionally to reduce eye inflammation. Stimulating green tea helps excess fluid to drain away. Use gentle, circular massaging movements to stimulate circulation action and help cream sink in.” For a quick fix, try this cooling treatment suggested by Abigail James, Optrex Eye Beauty Expert: “Always keep a couple of teaspoons in the fridge. If you have puffy eyes, they are amazing to gently stroke over the eye area to cool and reduce puffiness,” she says.
Sensitivity and dryness are the key causes of itchy, uncomfortable
eyes. Those suffering from sensitivity should always opt for
hypoallergenic products and avoid known sensitising ingredients;
according to Michelle Sutton, these include nickel, SLS, cobalt, heavy
metals, organic dyes, carmine, formol, resin formaldehyde, toluene,
rosin, acetone, lanolin, AHA, salicylic acid, retinol, plant essences,
essential oils and perfume. She adds: “Look for extra active
ingredients that strengthen the skin’s natural defences, and
specifically protect skin from environmental aggressors.”
When it comes to dry eyes, modern lifestyles can exacerbate the problem, explains Frazer: “Blink your eyes often when you’re at your desk or watching the TV - staring at a screen reduces your blinking rate, leading to dry eyes.” Keeping eyes hydrated is the key to comfort. Eye drops can help, or for even easier results, James suggests: “Using a product such as Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist three to four times a day over make-up keeps the eye area fresh and hydrated. The Eye Revive Moisture Mist contains pro-vitamin B5 and liposomes which means it moisturises the skin around the eyes while also restoring the natural moisture barrier inside the eyes to revive and soothe.”
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