Do your eyes really need their own creams, serums, and nightly routine? Yes! And here's why.

The skin and tissue around your eyes are unique to the rest of the skin on your face. Your eyes have their own particular set of concerns and issues, from puffiness to dark circles. The fine lines and wrinkles that form here even have their own names, such as "crow's feet" and "eleven lines." Therefore, it makes sense to use specific products to address the eye's specific needs.

‌‌‌‌How To Properly Cleanse Your Eyes

The foundation of every skincare routine is your cleanse. If you're not properly cleansing your skin, it doesn't matter how great your skincare products are; they won't be as effective. The same goes for the eyes. Properly cleansing your eye area is a crucial first step towards healthy under eyes and a great way of preventing irritation, bacterial build-up, and even milia.  

Start with an oil cleanse. Using oil is a fantastic way to emulsify and lift off makeup, dirt, and debris while also nourishing the skin. Sweet almond oil is a fantastic option as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help lighten the dark circles and reduce puffiness, in addition to being a great soothing oil cleanser for your whole face. Almond oil also contains vitamins A, E, and K, all of which help smooth and nourish the eye's delicate skin. 

To use, apply a small amount of oil to dry skin; gently work the oil into your skin, making sure to cleanse the entire eye area. After a few minutes, remove with a warm washcloth. Pressing the heat from the cloth onto your eyelids is a great way to promote drainage and reduce puffiness.

To ensure the oil is thoroughly removed, wipe a cotton round saturated with micellar water over your eyelids, brows, and under your eyes. I love Derma E's Vitamin C Micellar Cleansing Water, as it adds hydration, helps brighten, and isn't irritating to the eye area.

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‌‌‌‌Under Eye Darkness: What Causes It and How to Address It

Dark circles are one of the most common issues when it comes to the eyes. Treating under-eye darkness can be tricky, as there are many different reasons for it. Once you understand the cause, you can find the right treatment for your specific type of darkness.

Facial Structure

No one likes hearing, "it's just the way you're made," but occasionally, darkness under the eye can be caused by the natural shape of the eye socket. In this instance, the orbital bone can create a shadow on the eye socket, giving the illusion of darkness. If you have a deep-set eye socket, I'd suggest investing in a concealer one to two shades lighter than your natural complexion and apply it in the deepest part of your under-eye to counteract this shadow.

Liver and Kidney Function

You might be familiar with the old adage, “the eyes are the window to the soul.” While this may or may not be true, the eyes can show glimpses of other issues going on inside your body. Used in both traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, facial mapping is a technique that uses visual clues on the face as a measure of your overall health. In this practice, the under-eye area is directly related to liver and kidney function, the organs of our excretory system which help filter and remove waste from the body.  

A common cause of under-eye darkness is lack of sleep and dehydration, but have you ever wondered why these two things cause dark circles? Both lack of sleep and lack of hydration can alter liver metabolism and kidney function. Other lifestyle habits such as excessive or frequent alcohol and sugar consumption, both dehydrators, can also affect these organs and lead to darkness under the eye. Therefore, in addition to getting a good night's sleep, drinking plenty of fluids, and maintaining a moderate diet, try adding in an herbal tea (another great way to stay hydrated) that helps support these vital organs. Dandelion is an especially potent detoxifying herb for both the liver and kidneys.

‌‌‌‌Why Vitamin C Is So Important For Under Eye Health

The skin surrounding your eye area is thinner than the rest of the skin on your face, actually 10 times thinner. This not only makes the eye area more sensitive, which can lead to irritation and puffiness, which we'll talk about a little bit later, but it also creates transparency in some skin types, which can cause under-eye darkness to be more prevalent. Stagnant blood can also pool under the eye, usually caused by poor circulation or weak capillaries in this area. Darkness under the eye can also be due to topical pigmentation, most often caused by UV exposure.  

Vitamin C is a fantastic skincare ingredient, rich in antioxidants that can address a multitude of skin concerns, including those specific to the eye area. Vitamin C is essential in the synthesis of collagen, which makes up the internal structure of the skin. An increase in collagen around the eye can help minimize fine lines and add volume to thin skin. Vitamin C is also a fantastic skin brightener. It interferes with the production of melanin, the complex polymer responsible for causing pigmentation on the skin. In addition to brightening and strengthening the skin, vitamin C also helps maintain healthy circulation and strengthen the tiny capillaries under the eye.  

Because the cause of under-eye darkness can be both on and under your skin, adding vitamin C both topically and internally, in the form of a supplement, is the most comprehensive treatment option. When selecting a vitamin C supplement, opt for a liposomal form of C, as it is more readily absorbed by the body, allowing it to be more effective.

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‌‌‌‌Serum, Gel, or Cream: Which Is Best for You?

Everyone's skin and under eyes are different. When it comes to shopping for eye products, make sure you buy eye treatments that are best suited for your specific concerns, whether it's a targeted anti-aging serum or a rich nourishing eye cream.

Eye Serums

Serums are concentrated treatments that address specific concerns in the skin. They can be water or oil-based and, when it comes to eye serums, treat anything from puffiness to wrinkles. If you want to address a specific concern, one of the best ways to do so is to add a serum into your skincare routine. While some oil-based serums can be moisturizing, you'll usually want to add an additional product over the top of your serum to lock in moisture.

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Eye Gel

Opting for an eye gel over an eye cream is usually best if you want hydration rather than moisture. Hydrating skincare products usually are water-based and include humectants that bind water to the skin, while moisturizing skincare products include oils and occlusives, like lipids and ceramides, to lock in moisture, creating a nourishing layer on the surface of the skin.  

If you are prone to milia, small white bumps that often form under the eyes and cheeks, make sure to thoroughly cleanse the eye area daily and opt for an eye gel over cream, as its lighter weight is less likely to cause congestion.

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Eye Cream

For those prone to dryness, irritation, or in need of anti-aging, eye creams are a better option as they offer more moisture than gels and serum, create a protective layer on this delicate skin, and can plump fine lines. Because this is such a large category of products, look for eye creams that target your specific eye-related concerns.

‌‌‌‌Why Your Eyes Show Age First

Ever notice how your eyes show age before the rest of the face? Often this is due to sun exposure, the leading cause of skin aging. So make sure you are putting on some shades every time you leave the house. But did you know the average person blinks 900-1,200 times an hour? That's 14,400-19,200 times a day and over 5 million times a year. Your orbicularis oculi muscle creates a circle around your eye socket, and as it contracts, it closes the eyelid. After so much repetitive movement, fine lines will begin to appear where the muscle contracts in the outer corners.  

When combatting wrinkles around the eye, look for eye creams that include anti-aging ingredients like peptides, which can help to firm the skin by stimulating collagen or minimize wrinkles by inhibiting muscle contractions that cause lines in the first place. 

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Treatment Masks

Fantastic prior to an event, under eye masks and patches are a great way to infuse hydration and de-puff the under eye. To enhance your eye treatment, place your patches in the refrigerator for a few minutes before applying. The cold masks will help constrict blood vessels, brightening the eyes and firming the skin in addition to being a soothing treatment.

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Roll Away Puffiness

Puffiness under the eyes is often due to excess fluid collecting there. This can happen to anyone but is especially prevalent for those suffering from allergies. Effective treatment for draining this fluid and reducing under-eye bags is to use a facial roller under the eyes. It works best if you roll the tool on your whole face, starting at the neck and working up, but spend extra time around the eyes. By draining the neck and lower face first, it allows the fluid under the eyes to drain down instead of getting stuck in the face.

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