Optimized care of the skin in the eye area requires products designed to complement the area’s unique properties. Skin here is thin with fewer collagen and elastin fibers. There are also fewer oil glands and a relatively limited vascular network. Muscles in the eye area reside just below the skin with little intervening fat. These features result in eye area skin that is both delicate and fragile. The three most beneficial skin care product types for the eye area are anti-aging and rejuvenation formulations, sunscreens, and tinted moisturizers designed with these skin features in mind.
Anti-aging and rejuvenative formulations are self-defining in terms of their benefits. They are traditionally applied perpendicular to wrinkle tendencies as the final step before optional application of foundation and color cosmetics. Key ingredients often include retinoids, antioxidants, and specialized moisturizers. Retinoids help reverse sun and time-induced changes in both epidermis and dermis. The benefits include a thicker and more youthful-appearing epidermis, more uniform pigmentation (often via extract-based tyrosinase inhibitors), and a better collagen/elastin production/degradation balance, resulting in a healthier-looking, plumper dermis.
Antioxidant compounds are increasingly extract-based. Benefits from antioxidant extracts include reduced inflammatory tendencies, less oxidative stress on collagen, elastin, epidermal cells, and better defense against environmental aggressors such as particle pollution. Specialized moisturizers (argan oil and mushroom β-glucan) provide essential durable hydration for this drier area, along with additional antioxidant and other benefits.
Sunscreen use on delicate eye area skin reduces cumulative sun damage and protects collagen and elastin. This helps preserve skin elasticity and thickness while deterring wrinkle tendencies. Sunscreen also reduces solar elastosis, the unsightly buildup of degenerated collagen and elastin near the skin’s surface. In addition, sunscreen reduces melanocyte stimulation resulting in more uniform melanin production and even pigmentary tone.
Tinted moisturizers are particularly useful in the eye area. They promote a more sheer and natural aesthetic than standard foundations and color cosmetics. Tinted moisturizers often provide sun protection and are increasingly marketed as beauty balm cream. In the eye area, they are beneficial in helping obscure dark circles.
Eye skin care products provide unique benefits, but cannot address all eye area skin concerns. Despite ongoing academic research and product development, eye skin care cannot eliminate wrinkles, dark circles, under-eye bags, or droopy eyelids. Eye cream helps limit wrinkles, but the eye area remains very susceptible to wrinkling because of the skin’s thinness and underlying musculature. Treatments like Botox™ remain the gold standard in terms of crow’s feet wrinkle reduction. Dark circles often respond to hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers in ways that eye skin care cannot match. For under-eye bags and upper eyelid laxity, eye skin care offers little benefit while surgical intervention frequently produces
Eye skin care has improved substantially in recent years. It serves the dual purposes of enhancing skin appearance day to day and preserving skin integrity and aesthetics over time. Eye skin care cannot address every concern in the eye area but it serves a central and vital role in a complete and optimized skin care regimen.