Better than Eye Cream

Written by by Dr. Janet Prystowsky, leading board-certified dermatologist and president of Livad Skin Care

Crow’s feet, brown spots, and wrinkles are all classic signs of sun damage, yet most people think they are part of the unavoidable cost of getting older. It is not hard to see why. In the United States, there is a definitive tanning culture.

Now, “DNA repair” and “miracle” products line the shelves, promising much more than any cosmetic could possibly achieve. And, still, people commonly buy them for $90 an ounce.

The bittersweet truth is that sunglasses can work better than any eye cream clients have ever used. They also do not need to cost more than $10 at a local convenience shop. The reason is surprisingly simple. The sun is constantly emitting radiation that can cause sunburns, wrinkling, tanning, age spots, and skin cancer. Although designed for eye protection, sunglasses can prevent this radiation from damaging the skin around the eyes, as well.


The most important criteria for choosing sunglasses is the level of ultraviolet protection they provide. Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of ultraviolet rays or claim absorption up to 400 nanometers. Not all sunglasses offer this level of protection. Do not worry about tint as it is a purely personal preference.

Sunglasses that do not offer sufficient ultraviolet protection can be much worse for the eyes than wearing no sunglasses at all. Tint does not equal protection. A dark-tinted pair of sunglasses that does not block ultraviolet well can trick the eyes into thinking they are protected. Because of this, the eyes dilate, causing the person to be more likely to look towards bright light and letting more ultraviolet light in. This increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause cataracts and damage the retina. It will not do the skin any favors either.

While visible light does not cause wrinkles, in excess, it can damage the retina. The blue light spectrum of visible light is the most dangerous. Visible light can even penetrate closed eyelids when someone is sleeping on the beach. So, if a client is laying out in the sun, they should wear their sunglasses to block both ultraviolet and visible light.


Wrap around shades or wide temples will offer protection on the periphery as well. However, wide brimmed hats will do a better job. Using both is an easy way to protect the face from the eyes up.


If the client already has wrinkles, fine lines, and brown spots, they should consider ophthalmologist-approved eye creams. Keep in mind that many eye care products contain retinol or other photosensitive ingredients. These products can make it easier for the skin to burn if the eyes are exposed to sunlight, even if it has been hours since the product was used. This reaction makes it especially important to wear sunglasses with adequate ultraviolet protection. No matter what, sunglasses are a client’s best bet for maintaining young and healthy-looking eyes.

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