5 Ways to Anti-Age Your Eye Area

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Eyes are the focal point of the face (see above if you’re in any doubt)– but what to do when the skin around them serves as a distraction from the main event? Drooping lids, crinkly under-eye skin, dark circles and crows feet that don’t disappear when you stop smiling ….. the most common anti-ageing complaints I hear relate to the eye area.

Now there is good reason why the skin around the eyes is the first to demonstrate that we aren’t getting any younger. It’s thinner than anywhere else, it is constantly being subjected to the creasing forces of the underlying muscle which allows us to close our eyes and the muscle lies right under the skin, meaning its colour creates a dusky hue quite naturally. And then factor in that there are little fat pads under the lower eye-lid which can droop and shrink with time, creating hollows and bulges…..is it any wonder we look tired???

Thankfully prompt action yields results. Here are the things that I think are worth doing to preserve the beauty of the eye area.

1) Protect your elastin.

The sun is the enemy of our eyelids. Of course it makes us squint, promoting wrinkles but more importantly it damages our elastin, the protein that gives skin its snap. Once its gone (and UVA rays which travel deep into the skin are the culprit) its gone – so preserve it by wearing sunglasses. Choose glasses that cover the whole eye area up to the eyebrow and offer maximal UVA and UVB protection (100% block is possible). A layer of broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential. All year-round please.

2) Strengthen collagen.

The thinness of the skin is why its so prone to creasing, so thicken it up. Think how much easier paper creases compared to cardboard and you’ll get the idea. Its why men with thick skin age better than we ladies with thin skin. The key ingredients to build and strengthen collagen are sunscreen (to protect what we have), vitamin A-derivatives and vitamin C (at least 10% l-ascorbic acid is best). Peptides like Matrixyl may also have a role to play and are easy to tolerate. Olay Regenerist 3-point serum is a good, affordable source.

3) Treat pigmentation

The cause of this can vary – those with pigmented skin are much more likely to have dark circles due to genetics but the ageing process and sun exposure can exacerbate the situation. Leaky capillaries are though to be one of the principle causes, in which case seek out an eye product with vitamin K like Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue, which also contains brighteners like kojic acid. And of course, never be without an excellent under-eye concealer. I’m currently obsessed with Ellis Faas Concealer.

4) Halt crows feet.

There’s nothing wrong with crows feet. In fact when you smile, if you didn’t crinkle a bit, you’d look insincere. But once they start to set in at rest, they will only get deeper. So if they bother you, act promptly and address the issue with a little Botox. If injections scare you, topical Botox is on the horizon, so be patient. And if that’s still too much, try one of the pseudo-Botox peptides that can now be found in many eye-creams: try Snoxin, fairly priced and good levels of actives.

5) Lift the hood(s).

Yes, loss of fat and skin snap leads to droopy eye-lids. It’s a sad fact of life. Topical things don’t work when this happens. So what you are contemplating is either a non-invasive approach (pricey, may work) or surgery (v pricey, scary for most).

Of the non-invasive methods, Ulthera is probably the most promising method for skin tightening and it appeals because you can actually visualize the layer of tissue that’s being targeted as, after all, ultrasound was first and foremost a diagnostic tool for ‘seeing’ inside the body. It can be used to lift and tighten the skin above the brow and around the crows feet, thereby creating a more open youthful eye area – although unfortunately it’s not safe to use on the eyelids themselves. Botox injected strategically may further enhance the brow lift. But this approach won’t solve the problem if there’s too much excess skin…..

Alas, if there is a proper ‘hood’, surgery is your best bet. A blepharoplasty is the 2nd most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the UK – and can be done with an ablative laser (like CO2) or a scalpel. The key thing is to do your research beforehand, as with any cosmetic surgery procedure. For more info, read on : http://www.baaps.org.uk/procedures/eyelid-surgery

Image:courtesy of National Geographic

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