Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies
A question I get asked quite a lot is whether specific eye products are necessary or a waste of money? My answer is YES… Especially if you have concerns about the skin around your eyes. An eye product is a great addition to your skincare toolkit.
Everything and anything can affect the eye area
There’s there saying that ‘our eyes are the window to our soul’. They are also the window to lots of other things that could be affecting their appearance, such as:
- Lack of sleep (I certainly noticed a change once I had my first baby)
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
- General illness
- Sun damage
- Too much sleep (Yes I know! Who would have thought!)
- Liver problems
- Sluggish lymph drainage
- The natural ageing process
- Exam study or jobs which involve staring at a screen/books for long periods of time
- Too much partying (although the chance would be a fine thing at the moment!)
Why should we pay particular attention to the eye area?
Let’s take a quick look at the skin around our eyes as it’s different to the rest of our skin. Therefore it needs to be treated accordingly. In fact it is ten times thinner than the skin on the rest of our face, which is thinner than the skin on the rest of our bodies. Excess fluid can collect very easily here, it’s an area that doesn’t have a bone structure and has lots of little sacs which can fill up with fluid. To add to this, as we get older our skins production of elastin and collagen slows down resulting in thinner and slacker skin. So it’s easy to see why we need a specific product for this delicate area and why we need to treat it very gently.
So what can we do to support our eye area?
The legend that is Cher once sang “If I could turn back time!” …But it’s important to note that nothing we apply directly onto our skin (topically) will permanently ‘turn back time’ and fix concerns we may have. The only way of getting lasting results are with injectables or surgery. However, let’s embrace changes to our skin by looking after what we have with topical solutions. Eye products have been specifically designed to focus on this delicate area which often shows the first signs of ageing. Many have advanced formulas to target puffiness, dehydration, fine lines, signs of tiredness etc and are a real asset to our skincare routine if used regularly.
When should I start using an eye product?
Personally I love an eye product, I enjoy using them in the morning and the evening and any time my eyes feel tired and need a pep up. I’ve been using them religiously since my 30s, more sporadically before that. But if you’ve never used one, it’s not too late to start and you can even start using them in your 20s if you wish. There are so many different kinds on the market and I would say, if you are able to, have a couple of different ones on your bathroom shelf. I always have a lovely cooling revitalising gel or serum for the mornings and a light balm or light cream for the evenings. As a general rule choose light textures, whether that be gels, balms, creams or serums. A really thick product could be the route to puffy eyes.
Here are a few things to bear in mind when using eye products:
Don’t use more product than is needed: Follow the instructions. Generally the amount needed for each eye is the size of a grain of rice. Slapping on more will not turn back time unfortunately Cher!! It may instead result in puffy irritated eyes. We would also be pouring our money down the drain. Think- less is more in this instance.
Only apply product on to the eye bone: Don’t be tempted to apply product right up to the eyelashes. The skin is so much thinner here that the product will not have anywhere to go once it is applied, therefore sitting just under the top layer of skin. This again could result in puffy irritated eyes. Instead apply lightly onto the orbital bone (think eye socket) with the ring finger as these naturally have a lighter touch than our forefingers. Start at the inner corner of the eye socket by the nose and either gently pat or sweep outwards to the temple. Repeat this on the brow bone from the inner corner out to the temple.
Apply a little more product if you have certain dry skin conditions: If you have a skin condition which leaves your eye area very dry, for example psoriasis or eczema, you may benefit from applying a richer eye cream on the lids. Although this will not treat the condition it will keep them comfortable and moisturised.
Apply the eye product before other skincare products such as serums, moisturisers, aftershave balms and SPFs (sun cream): This will ensure that you can apply the product exactly where it needs to go and it won’t have to penetrate through a layer of another product before working its magic.
Don’t apply heavy eye creams at night time: If we think about it our eyes stay shut for hours whilst we sleep, our circulation slows and so the cream may just sit there which could be a recipe for puffy tired eyes. During the day our eyes are constantly opening and closing which allows the product to penetrate efficiently. So if you are wanting to wear a cream apply it in the morning.
Apply a night time eye product at least an hour before bed: This will give it time to sink in, otherwise most of it will end up on the pillow rather than doing its job.
Don’t be swayed by fragrance: It’s not really needed in an eye product.
Supercharge your eye care: If you really want to super charge your eye care apply a hydrating light cream, serum, balm or gel in the morning and a retinol eye product in the evening
Dark circles and puffiness
These are two common eye issues I talk about a lot with clients. Here’s some useful info on both
Don’t you just love them!! They can be caused by many things including genetics, illness, dehydration, nasal congestion, too much sugary or spicy food in the diet, alcohol, some medication and the natural ageing process. This is where our skin becomes even thinner around the eye area making it easier to see the blood vessels that are close to the skin’s surface. I have dark circles to some extent myself and they are hereditary in my family. Sadly, there isn’t a cream available which will get rid of them when genes are at play. However, brightening eye products can work wonders at reducing their appearance. If your dark circles are not hereditary or due to medication check that you are getting enough sleep, eating well and managing your alcohol intake. An eye cream, balm, serum, gel can then work on the eye area.
There are several reasons for puffiness including excess fluid collecting under the eyes, a heavy eye cream being applied too liberally, an allergic reaction, a sluggish lymphatic system (which, when working effectively, removes waste products from the body), hormonal changes, hereditary issues, a diet rich in dairy (which can cause sinus congestion resulting in puffy eyes) and a high salt intake (which encourages water retention that can also result in puffiness).
Always try to use light textured eye products – light creams, gels, balms and serums rather than rich creams. Only apply your eye product in the morning for a period of time and see if the puffiness improves. Check that you aren’t allergic to a product you are using. Stop using it for at least a week and see if the situation improves. Try cutting out coffee, alcohol, lower salt and dairy intake and really increase water intake. I know that this may sound counter-productive to add more fluid to the body when we might already be experiencing fluid retention around the eyes but it will help to disperse fluids in the face by encouraging the lymph system to flow more efficiently. It must be water though, not tea, coffee, soft drinks or alcohol. Slices of cucumber or cold damp nettle tea bags work wonders when applied to closed eyes for five minutes or so. Or sweeping the back of cold spoons over the orbital bone, where eye cream would be applied, has a cooling and draining effect to help disperse fluid. Ensure you apply an eye product beforehand to give the spoons some slip so as not to drag this delicate skin.
Here is a lovely selection of eye products available at Perfumery and Company.
L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Eye Balm
Best for anyone concerned about fine lines, dullness, dryness, uneven skin around the eyes. It helps to improve tone and radiance. The balm texture feels very luxurious without being heavy. The hero ingredient is the sustainably sourced Immortelle flower from the Island of Corsica. A Super Extract derived from this flower has the ability to target signs of skin getting older by boosting circulation, acting as an antioxidant to protect against free radical damage and increasing collagen production. This is a natural alternative to Retinol which is a super effective ingredient at packing a punch against signs of ageing. Shea Butter helps to provide a balm like consistency which sinks into the skin whilst nourishing the area. This could be used morning and/or evening and would be a perfect base for makeup. It can also be used as an eye mask once or twice a week. It’s a wonderful allrounder all year.
Neals Yard Reviving White Tea Eye Gel
Best for anyone who wants to pep up tired, puffy eyes. This is a very light gel texture.
It’s the perfect eye product to revive eyes after lack of sleep, to cool in hot weather, soothe and comfort puffiness. I loved to use it in the morning. White tea is an effective antioxidant so it’s perfect at protecting the skin against free radicals such as pollution which can damage the skin. It works hand in hand with organic eyebright extract. The pump delivers the correct amount so there’s no wastage. Again a perfect base for makeup and I’d say particularly good during the warmer months, when you are feeling particularly tired or if you have puffiness you’d like to target.
Clarins Total Eye Lift
Best for anyone concerned with fine lines, dullness, uneven skin surface or dryness. This is a light gel/cream texture with a pump so you get the correct amount every application. It sinks in easily and make up can be applied straight away. I’ve used this morning and evening and can be used all year round. This is a new version of Clarins iconic Total Eye Concentrate. They are renowned for their use of plant extracts and this is no exception. Horse Chestnut brightens the skin, whilst organic extract of Guarana reduces puffiness.
Nourish Kale Anti-Ageing Eye Cream
Best for anyone who wants to target fine lines and plump the skin around the eyes. This is a very light cream with a great pump action. What I love about this cream is that it contains peptides. These are an amazing ingredient for anyone concerned about signs of skin getting older. Peptides are made of amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins keep skin looking plump, bouncy and firm. Collagen is a protein. Many skincare brands are now looking at how our bodies do things and then trying to bottle some of the components so that the product ingredients mimic what happens within our skin. The combination of these amino acids and kale, which is rich in vitamins, works on fine lines. Macqui Berry and Pomegranate enzymes help counteract puffiness and brighten the skin. I’d suggest that cream this could be used morning and/or evening all year round.
Hopefully this gives you an insight into the delicate area around our eyes and suggestions on a some of the products available at Perfumery and Company. They are always happy to help in person or on the phone and some of these can be ordered online.