Wednesday, 28 June 2017 00:12

Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the Eyes and Lips

Written by   Catherine Atzen, L.E., CIDESCO, M.B.A.

The skin around the eyes is sensitive and loses elasticity at an early age, causing it to wrinkle. The lips suffer from dryness and lose their plump, hydrated, youthful appearance; the corners droop; and the skin around them wrinkles as early as pre-menopause. These symptoms of aging can be significantly improved and delayed with high-performing skin care products and massage. Massage stimulates blood circulation and lymphatic circulation.

Blood circulation facilitates the absorption of nutrients and skin care ingredients to the cellular level and supports better delivery of oxygen. Lymphatic drainage massage eliminates toxins that pollute and age the skin and give it a grayish, unhealthy appearance; reduces puffiness caused by water retention and allergies; and picks up the dead blood cells that are one of the causes of dark circles around the eyes. Those blood cells die for a number of reasons, in particular fatigue, poor lifestyle and health habits, poor nutrition and chemicals from processed food that pollute the skin (and other organs), computer use and the blue light that affects the skin and eyes, sinus problems, and allergies. Lymphatic drainage massage improves and reduces the side effects of allergies.

The skin around the eyes and the lips benefit from similar skin care ingredients that specifically address their unique needs. As a result, two-in-one products that care for both the eyes and the lips are becoming more readily available, although some product developers have offered them for quite some time. These products are well received by consumers that favor using fewer products and are willing to pay more for products that perform multiple functions.

The following list of ingredients is broken down into three categories. The most effective products contain numerous ingredients; all the ingredients listed are natural and most are available as organic. The art of combining synergistic ingredients, the quality, purity, and a high percentage of each ingredient will determine the results aestheticians and their clients will achieve. It is imperative that those products be very gentle and do not cause watery or irritated eyes if they get into the eyes.

Ingredients that reduce wrinkles, increase circulation and cell-nourishing, and eliminate free-radicals include:

  • DNA (bio-available DNA with unbroken polymers is superior to regular DNA) absorbs into the dermis, hydrates the dermis, eliminates inflammation of the elastin fibers restoring elasticity, and reduces wrinkles long-term by stimulating fibroblast production.
  • Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), made from plant yeast, is energy-rich and gives skin an immediate silky-smooth complexion.
  • A combination of several peptides and other proteins from plants, when artfully combined, have synergistic properties to reduce wrinkles either by building collagen and elastin (a long-term effect) or by reducing the contraction of muscles. Some peptides firm the skin, strengthen capillaries, reduce dark circles, and stimulate the lymphatic system to reduce puffy eyes and detoxify.
  • Oat kernel extracts have a fast-acting lifting and smoothing effect.
  • Retinoic acid (vitamin A that turns into retinol) from organic alfalfa gives the results of retinol without its known side effects.
  • Resveratrol from grapes is an antioxidant with micro-lifting action.
  • Plant yeast extract and plant growth factors are better alternatives to the collagen extracts of the past; they provide elasticity to dermal cells.


Ingredients that hydrate and smooth the skin:

  • Micro-algae from the estuary are a fairly recent type of discovery; this type of algae is found in rivers. In the estuary, this alga become exposed to salt water from the ocean and, as a result, develops the ability to retain water to protect itself from dehydration. This unique ability makes it a high-end moisturizer for the eyes and lips in gels, toners, and masks.
  • Combining several moisturizers makes a product more effective because each moisturizer has different properties that work in synergy. As an example, combining hyaluronic acid with hygroscopic glycosaminoglycans and polysaccharides from plants makes a superior moisturizer that gives lasting comfort and smoothness. They make great primers for makeup, which adds another function that is in high demand.

Ingredients that reduce redness, calm sensitive skin, nourish skin, and brighten skin tone:

  • Flavonoids, such as alpha glucosyl hesperidin, are highly soluble and bio-available; it improves the skin tone.
  • Arnica Montana strengthens capillaries and is a healing remedy for skin irritations.
  • Allantoin, aloe, calendula, algae, artemisia vulgaris extracts, vitamin E, borage, meadowsweet, centella asiatica, and sunflower extracts have healing and calming properties.

Skin care professionals can incorporate the following two-step lip massage, as well as the five-step eye massage, into any spa or medical treatment. To maximize results over time, it is beneficial for clients to repeat the massages at home on a daily basis while performing their skin care routine. The aesthetician can teach these simple massage steps to their guests. The following images demonstrate how skin care professionals perform the massage when standing or sitting behind the client. From the professional's perspective, teaching this home massage will significantly improve the client's skin condition around the eyes and lips, motivating them to continue using the homecare products prescribed by their skin care professional. It is easy for clients to follow the lip and eye massage if professionals teach them how to do it and print this article for them to view the massage pictures at home.

Professionals should have no concerns that clients will do their massage at home and skip professional services. Clients do not get professional treatments daily, therefore their results would be limited; furthermore, receiving quality homecare advice solidifies the relationship between the professional and the client. It can take up to 15 minutes to teach the massage steps to a client. An alternative is to offer a "massage party" in which several clients attend and learn the massages as a group. It can be a lot of fun for all involved!


This eye and lip treatment should take, on average, seven to 15 minutes.

Products needed are a gentle cleanser, a hydrating toner, an eye serum, an eye and lip moisturizer that doubles as a mask, and cotton pads.

First, remove the client's eye and lip makeup using a milky cleanser that does not burn the eyes or melt glue used with eyelash extensions. Rinse the cleanser until the skin and eyelashes are free of any residue.
Ask the client to close their eyes and spray the toner around their eyes and on and around their lips.

Apply a first application of a small quantity of the serum; using tapotement to absorb the serum into the skin.

Apply a thick layer of the eye and lip moisturizer around the eyes, including the eyelids. Pick a product that is soothing and will not irritate sensitive eyes. Do the same on the lips.

Using the right middle finger, massage from the upper left corner of the client's lip, moving to the upper right corner.

Next, reverse the process. Use the right middle finger and, beginning at the upper right corner of the client's lip, massage the lip while moving to the left side of the lip.

Repeat five times. (See Image 1.)

Now, group the index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands into a paddle-like formation. Place both hands directly under the middle of the nose and begin walking across the face with the "rock and step" massage motion. Move up to the jaw line, under the ear lobe. Then "rock and step" down the outer edge of the neck.

Repeat five times. (See Image 2.)

Using the middle finger, massage from the soft cavity on the client's nose at the inner corner of the eye to the outer corner, then around the eye, and ending where the under-eye area meets with the nose. Repeat five times. (See Image 3.)

With a pinching motion of the thumb to the index finger and starting at the inner eyebrow, "pinch and step" across the span of the eyebrow. With a firm but gentle pinch, lift and pinch the eyebrow and a small portion of the eyelid across the entire eyebrow from the inner eye outward. Pause, rest, and repeat five times. The benefit of doing this message is that it relieves congestion around the eyes, alleviates dark circles, and improves allergy symptoms. (See Image 4.)


Place the index finger in the soft cavity of the nose at the inner corner of the eye. Gently press and release. Professionals should not press so hard that they feel the eye bone. Repeat five times. This massage also relieves congestion under the eyes and helps relieve any swelling around the eye area. (See Image 5.)

Group the index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands into a paddle-like formation, arriving just about at the client's hairline. Staying on the temple, "rock and step in place" with a stroke that finishes in the direction of the eye. Repeat five times. This movement is beneficial as it relieves stress and stress-related headaches. (See Image 6.)

Starting at the temple and ending at the nose, using four fingers on each hand, perform a tapotement massage. Think of taping the fingers in the manner of playing a piano, starting at the temples and moving towards the nose. Each of the four fingers should touch the skin very quickly. (See Image 7.)


Place cotton pads moistened with toner on the client's eyes and lips. Leave it on as an eye and lip mask for five minutes or more. Remove the pads and wipe any excess of the moisturizer with the cotton pads soaked in toner.

Apply a second application of the serum, followed by the moisturizer, and massage until it is completely absorbed.

Treatments may be offered as an add-on while the face mask is on the skin during facials. An add-on option would be a second application of eye serum. Upgrade options include a mechanical or manual lymphatic drainage massage for the eyes to reduce puffiness, dark circles, lines, and signs of fatigue.

Increase revenue after this wonderful treatment by prescribing complementing homecare products that will continue to improve wrinkles, dark circles, puffiness, and dehydration. Make sure to carry an inventory of the products used for this treatment in retail sizes. A milky cleanser or gel cleanser should be offered that does not burn the eyes or melt glue used with eyelash extensions. Eye makeup cleansing pads are not recommended because they have chemicals that irritate the eyes and, consequently, prematurely age the skin; they progressively melt the glue of eyelash extensions.

Recommend a hydrating toner that works for the delicate eye area, as well as on the face, neck, and neckline.

Choose between a gel or emulsion. Gels are ultra-light and work well for those who wear contact lenses, whereas the emulsions are a little creamier without clogging pores and causing puffiness as many heavier moisturizers tend to do. They double as primers for makeup and even triple as masks.

Eye serums reduce wrinkles, calm sensitized and irritated skin, and restore elasticity.

Combining a spa service with tips on how to perform a daily home massage builds demand, in addition to filling the appointment book by getting the attention from spa guests, the press, and on social media. And since differentiation is a very big part of building a successful and profitable business, spa owners, managers, and practitioners must be innovative and think out of the box. Professionals must offer different services and products than their competitors to attract the best and most loyal clients willing to spend more of their disposable income on their appearance; they are motivated to look and feel more attractive, as well as looking healthy. They are actively involved in getting results by taking responsibility, doing their massages, and using their products. The above treatment and home massage can set professionals apart and make clients very satisfied. In turn, they will spread the word to all their friends on social media.

Catherine-Atzen2Catherine Atzen, formulator of ATZEN Superior to Organic® Skin Care, distributed by California Skincare Supply (800-500-1886 or, was recently named a "Legend" by DERMASCOPE Magazine for her industry contributions. She is recognized for coining the term "day spa" and setting its standards. Atzen also developed the LymphMed® device for lymphatic drainage massage. She holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley; an MBA from Columbia University, NY; and a CIDESCO diploma. Atzen takes a progressive approach to skin care and product ideation. Her inspiration stems from her upbringing in a 'green' French spa town and the creativity of Silicon Valley where she resides. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or

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