How To Look After The Skin Around Your Eyes – A Beginner’s Guide

The eyes may be the window to the soul but the state of the skin around them reveals (ahem, betrays) far more about who you really are. You see, your peepers are the first feature others gaze at when meeting you. They’re also the first part of your face to reveal signs of ageing. In fact, new research carried out by Olay has shown that the skin around the eye (that’s the orbicularis oculi, in case you’re wondering) can have a biological age up to 22 years' older than other parts of the face. Yep, the skin around your eyes is about as fragile as the UK economy post-Brexit.
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Scientifically speaking, “It’s because the skin around the eye area is 10 times thinner, contains less oil glands and less natural moisture” reveals Dr. Sarah Shah. Under-eye fatigue is now firmly on the beauty industry's radar and there is a smorgasbord of products available, but is it enough to slather on an eye serum and hope for the best? Unsurprisingly, no! Click ahead for our guide to giving the skin under and above your eyes a little TLC.
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Don't skip eye cream

Eyes creams: a necessity or just nice to have? “This is the question I get asked a lot and my answer is most definitely a necessity,” says Dr. Jonquille Chantrey. “The reason is that pores around this area are much smaller than on the rest of the face and as such, a face cream would just sit on the surface and not get absorbed,” she adds, before recommending key ingredients to look out for. “You need hyaluronic acid for hydrating the skin, ceramides to help maintain moisture, and retinol to promote new cell growth and regeneration, as well as vitamins A, C and E to help target dark circles, puffiness and fine lines while moisturising the delicate eye area” she tells me. (Click ahead for the creams to suit your eye shape).

Try not to be heavy-handed when applying your cream. “Always avoid pulling or dragging the skin as this will cause skin sagging in the long run. Take a minimal amount of eye cream, place on the ring fingers and dab lightly around the area until the product has soaked in,” advises Rabbia Aslam, Clinical Director at HC MedSpa. First thing in the morning, a different technique is required. “First start with 10-20 press pats on your lymph nodes in front of your ears (you will be able to feel a slight dip after the bone and before the cartilage). Follow by applying your eye cream from the inner corner of your eye to the outer corner of the eye and down towards the lymph nodes in front of the ears. This helps to clear your lymph vessels to alleviate puffiness that may have happened overnight,” explains facialist Kate Kerr. You also need to be savvy when it comes to your skincare sequence. An eye cream should go on after your serum but before your moisturiser and SPF.
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Look at your lifestyle

Stress has an annoying habit of showing up on your face. Its first port of call? Yep, your eyes. It’s the reason Dermalogica has launched its Stress Positive Eye Lift, £53.50. A 4-in-1 eye cream, it contains bioactive diglucosyl gallic acid that works with your skin’s natural biome (ecosystem) to brighten and energise the eye area, and doubles up as an eye masque.

Sleep also impacts the state of your eyes. As you catch forty winks, your body's cells regenerate, especially at skin level. When you pull an all-nighter, your blood vessels dilate, which leads to dark circles.

Diet is worth a second glance, too. As well as raising blood pressure, salt causes your body to retain water, which can lead to swelling. Since the skin around the eyes is so thin, this can lead to puffiness, even if you have had eight hours’ kip.
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Be gentle when applying makeup...

Sure, a feline flick is the perfect mix of sultry and sophisticated, but constantly sporting winged eyeliner and eyeshadow could have a negative impact on your eyelids. “Because the skin on the eyelid is thinner than the rest of the face, it’s more sensitive to the application of many cosmetic products and their ingredients,” explains Dr. Chantrey. Try to avoid cheaper formulations that are laden with alcohol and poor-quality pigments and opt for mineral formulations instead. Once armed with the right products, move on to acing your application technique. “Soft brushes for makeup application are kinder to the skin. Also, consider introducing an eye primer into your makeup routine; it means you don’t have to keep reapplying your eyeshadow and also acts as an additional barrier to protect the lid,” says Rabbia Aslam.
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... and when taking it off

Product removal should be just as gentle. “Always pour a little remover on to a cotton pad then hold the pad over your eyes for 5-10 seconds. Gently sweep the pad across the eye and turn over and place back over the eye. Hold again for 5-10 seconds and gently sweep across the lid to remove makeup," advises Bobbi Brown makeup artist, Hannah Martin. Avoid makeup wipes like the plague. Pre-soaked cloths often don’t have the tenacity to lift all the product from the eyelid or lashes. So not only do you spend longer rubbing the cloth back and forth, which potentially damages skin, you also leave behind traces of makeup, leading to clogged pores and dull skin.
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Tailor your skincare to your eye shape

A recent feature in Sunday Times Style highlighted that, just like your wardrobe, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to peeper protection. While we’re all susceptible to the signs of ageing, Dr. Frauke Neuser from Olay believes which signs we are predisposed to depends very much on our eye shape. “She’s right,” says Noella Gabriel, cofounder and creator of Elemis, “each shape should be cared for individually.”
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Hooded

“Hooded eyelids, where you can’t see the crease on your upper eyelid, cause the eye area to appear shadowed and darker,” Noella tells me. “We spent three years developing the Pro-Definition anti-ageing category to target this concern” she adds. The result is the Pro-Definition Eye & Lip Contour Cream, £63, which wages war on the 'dermal-epidermal junction' to stop skin cells from losing their shape. Essentially, it gives the skin a workout, tightening the collagen network and supplying it with enough hydration to last throughout the day.
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Almond-shaped

For those blessed with Kendall Jenner-esque almond-shaped eyes, you’re going to need something entirely different. “Upturned eyes are higher at the outer corner than the inner corner and this can be very flattering as it gives the eye a natural lift,” reveals Noella. However, you’ll still be prone to other ageing factors such as fine lines or dark circles, so it is important to include an all-round eye product in your regime, she warns. Try Vichy Slow Age Eye Cream, £25. It’s packed with probiotics to help bat off the pollution that’s flung at skin daily.
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Downturned

Downturned eyes (think Anne Hathaway, Katie Holmes) are where the outer corner of the eye is lower than the inner corner. “This shape appears heavier and can cause sagging of the upper eyelid earlier on in age,” says Noella. “You’re more prone to crow’s feet, too, so best to try an intensive eye cream that will help restructure the eye area and smooth out lines without overloading the skin with product.” La Prairie (French for expensive but worth it) has bonded platinum with tetrapeptide in its Cellular Eye Essence, £288. It is profoundly anti-ageing and gives an almost immediate lifting effect. It also comes with a handy dispenser that releases the correct amount. Essential, given it costs half your monthly rent.
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Round

As for those with round eyes, “These are considered bigger in size and where you can usually see all of the eyelid,” explains Noella. This shape is more susceptible to becoming hollower as you age, yet it isn’t something you can treat with skincare alone. “But,” Noella says, “an eye product to target darkness and fine lines and wrinkles can help." Enter bareMinerals SkinLongevity Vital Eye Gel Cream, a game changer that works like a supplement to boost skin health over time. Its hero ingredient is a Japanese super-herb that hails from the Okinawa Islands, which are known as the ‘islands of long life’ and home to some of the oldest women in the world. You’ll have to hold out, though, as it doesn’t launch until June. But trust me, it’s worth the wait.
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