How To Hydrate Skin Around The Eyes
Skin hydration is especially important around the eyes. Hydrated and plump skin surrounding the eyes is a sign of energy, vitality, beauty, and youth. Dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles, puffiness and dry skin around the eyes can make women and men of any age look less energetic, older, and less vibrant.
Why is eye skin so vulnerable to aging?
Eyes tend to reveal signs of aging first because the skin around eyes is thin, sensitive and has less fat cushioning it than skin on other parts of the face. Hydrating skin around the eyes to prevent and repair signs of aging is tricky, so manufacturers have developed skin care products specifically formulated to treat skin around the eyes.
Symptoms of dry, dehydrated eye skin
Dehydrated skin around the eyes can:
- look flaky and scaly and feel irritated or itch;
- result in dry skin patches;
- impact skin on the eyelids, as well as above or below the eyes and lids with flaking, scaling and possibly itching or irritation;
- make dark circles or discoloration around the eyes worse;
- make it harder to apply concealer or makeup around the eyes;
- and accentuate fine lines or crows’ feet.
Dry skin around the eyes: Causes
Skin around the eyes can become dry or dehydrated for many reasons, including simply aging.
Because skin surrounding the eyes is thin, it is especially vulnerable to aging. It naturally becomes thinner, more transparent, and more fragile with age. Skin type can make a difference in whether skin around the eyes is hydrated or dry. For example, people with brown, black, or fair skin are more likely than those with medium complexions to develop dry skin. [source: Dry skin: Who gets and causes (aad.org)]
Environmental and lifestyle factors also contribute to dry skin. These include: Sun exposure, pollution, weather, including extremely hot or cold conditions, lack of sleep, poor diet, and stress.
When to see a doctor
Dry skin around the eyes usually is not a serious health issue but can impact quality of life and physical appearance. Skin care solutions that hydrate skin around the eyes and lifestyle changes to address dry skin causes often fix the problem.
But if dry skin symptoms around the eyes get worse or do not go away, interfere with sleep or vision, or appear inflamed or infected, it is best to see a dermatologist, ophthalmologist, or other health care provider.
[Sources for above info: Dry skin - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic and Why the Skin Around Your Eyes Ages So Quickly—and How to Protect It | Observer]
6 tips for healthy, hydrated skin around the eyes
1. Think hydration
Hydrate and nourish skin around the eyes with a hydrating eye cream or eye serum. Make the practice a routine part of daily skin care.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. (Researchers have not yet determined whether drinking water has a direct impact on skin health, but it is good for overall health.) [source: Hydrated skin: Does drinking water help? - Mayo Clinic]
2. Protect eyes from the elements
Carefully apply a mineral sunscreen around the eyes. Stick sunscreens might work better for those who are active and sweating. If possible, look for an SPF product made specifically for application around the eyes.
Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses when outdoors for sun protection. [source: Ask the Expert: Can You Safely Use Sunscreen Around Your Eyes? If so, What Kind Would Be Best? - The Skin Cancer Foundation]
3. Be gentle
Remember, skin around the eyes is more fragile than on the rest of the face. Avoid using products containing harsh ingredients, like alcohol or fragrances. Avoid scrubs or abrasive cleansers.
Wash the face with gentle cleansers and moisturize. Spot dry facial skin, especially around the eyes.
4. Nourish the skin
Look for eye creams, gels or serums that contain ingredients shown to have a positive effect on skin health, such as hyaluronic acid, shea butter, Jojoba oil, dimethicone, glycerin, lactic acid, and shea butter. [source: Dermatologists' top tips for relieving dry skin (aad.org)] Researchers have found that topical application of some plant oils, like avocado oil, increase wound healing and the body’s ability to make collagen. [source: Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science - PubMed (nih.gov)]
Diet also plays a role in improve skin from the inside out. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats for healthy skin.
5. Shun toxins
Don’t smoke. Toxins from tobacco smoke dry and dull facial skin, including around the eyes.
Fight free radical damage with creams, gels or serums that contain antioxidants, including vitamin C and Vitamin E. [source: Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health (nih.gov)]
6. Reduce stress, get rest
Take steps to reduce stress. Stress, especially long-term stress from things like a job, family strife or a pandemic can damage skin, causing collagen breakdown and premature aging. [source: What Does Stress Do to Your Skin? (clderm.com)]
Sleep well. The body, including skin, renews during sleep. [source: Skin care in your 40s and 50s (aad.org)]
Do-it-yourself (DIY) eye skin hacks
There are traditional home remedies that are thought to help hydrate skin around the eyes, including aloe vera gel, vitamin E gel, green tea bags, cucumber, yogurt, rose water and more. There is not a lot of science to back up their use, but some swear by remedies like these.
Keep in mind when applying these or other home remedies that they should not enter the eye, and it is best to test the skin’s reaction to any remedy on the inner arm or wrist before applying it to sensitive eye skin. [15 Home Remedies To Treat Dry Skin Around The Eyes (stylecraze.com)]
DIY skin care around the eyes can be low cost if it works. It can be high cost and time consuming if one tries lots of different things or ends up with an allergy or eye infection.
Remember, YouTubers and social media influencers touting skin care hacks might say they are experts but there is nothing to prove they are. Buyer beware.
Dermatologist-recommended eye skin care on a budget
Simple, low-cost dermatologist-recommended skin care regimens can help hydrate skin around the eyes.
The American Academy of Dermatology offers these tips:
Daily skin care routines should include cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting skin, including skin around the eyes.
- Wash your face gently before applying moisturizer and prior to going to bed.
- To get the most out of moisturizer, apply it to damp skin.
- Look for products that are non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores.
- Consider traditional petroleum jelly. It’s cheap and moisturizes the skin. (source: Skin care on a budget (aad.org))
- Have realistic expectations, especially from anti-aging products. (Source: Skin care on a budget (aad.org)) Results are often hard to see and take time.
- Select skin care products that are affordable for long-term use.
- Apply products as directed.
- Stop using any over-the-counter skin care products if they sting, burn or tingle. (source: How to maximize results from anti-aging skin care products (aad.org))
Eye skin-specific solutions
Dermatologists also recommend topical skin care that is specifically formulated for use around the eyes. Some of these products have scientific studies to prove that they improve skin. For example, some anti-aging eye cream formulations not only offer immediate results by hydrating the skin around the eyes, but also long-term benefits.
Used routinely, some scientifically proven and dermatologist-recommended products can:
- boost collagen,
- improve skin elasticity,
- accelerate skin renewal,
- improve skin tone (including dark circles),
- smooth fine lines and wrinkles,
- as well as prevent sun damage and, ultimately, sunspots.
What to look for
A product’s active ingredients—those ingredients that drive good results—set the product apart in a crowded marketplace. Top eye creams, eye gels and eye serums have high concentrations of quality ingredients, with the ability to deliver important ingredients below the skin’s surface. If a topical cream simply sits on the skin it might lock in some hydration but that is about it.
Many dermatologists only recommend skin care products that are backed by science. They also tend to recommend products that do not contain parabens, propylene glycol, gluten, fragrance, and other irritants.
Finding a product specifically designed to prevent and reverse damaged skin around the eyes is the first step. The next step is to use it as directed. The third step? Take care of your skin by protecting it from environmental toxins and by living a healthy lifestyle.
DefenAge is a line of skin care products that is backed by science, having been tested in 15 clinical studies. The line includes a hydrating eye cream, as well as a product specifically designed for skin around the neck.
Doctors discovered the anti-aging properties of DefenAge’s proprietary ingredient Defensins in 2014. Their discovery that these molecules naturally awaken dormant skin cells to create new skin led to the skin care line’s launch the following year.
DefenAge has since been shown in published studies to reverse visible signs of aging skin, as well as hydrate skin. In one study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, dermatologist investigators found DefenAge Skincare improved the visual appearance of fine and coarse wrinkles, pore size and brown spots. The skincare regimen also improved such skin qualities as hydration, without causing irritation.
Eye cream results
Dermatologists who recommend DefenAge’s 3D Eye Radiance Cream have reported seeing less eye puffiness, diminished dark under-eye circles and smoother skin, with fewer lines and wrinkles. Dermatologists recommend applying DefenAge’s eye cream as part of their skin care routine, in the morning and at night.
What’s in it and what’s not?
The 3D Eye Radiance Cream contains defensins, which are unique to the product line and are natural molecules that stimulate the body’s dormant stem cells to produce new skin. The eye product, like the rest of the line, also includes hyaluronic acid, which promotes hydration, and a blend of natural extracts and antioxidants shown to fight cell damage and strengthen elastin.
DefenAge products are formulated without: abrasives, aluminum salts, animal-derived ingredients, BPA, BHT/BHA, chemical sunscreens, coal tar, colorants, formaldehyde-releasing agents, formaldehydes, gluten ingredients, growth factors, human-derived ingredients, hydroquinone, irritating acids, mineral oil, parabens, paraffin, petrolatum, phthalates, polyethylene and polypropylene, propylene glycol, retinyl palmitate, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, strong emulsifiers, sulfates, talc, triclocarban, triclosan, triethanolamine.
The line’s eye cream is ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested safe for contact lens wearers.