How to Treat the Skin Around Our Eyes, From Under-Eye Bags to Crows Feet

The eye area is a part of the face that, according to most experts, should always get an extra dose of TLC. It’s naturally thinner, produces less collagen, and contains smaller blood vessels. As a result, it’s more susceptible to a variety of skincare issues, and they’ll show up more quickly here too. Putting together a daily skincare routine is highly personal. It requires identifying what does and doesn’t trigger skin reactions, how it will fit into the rest of your schedule, and the amount of money you want to spend on products, to name just a few factors. 

How to Treat the Skin Around Our Eyes
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Still, if you didn’t experience any of some of the most common issues in the eye area, like dark circles and puffiness, you would be in rare company. That being said, we’re pulling back the curtain on the most popular ones, revealing exactly why they happen and expert advice for how they should be resolved.

How to treat dark under-eye circles:

ark circles under the eyes are a common complaint from people of all ages, according to Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, Clinical Dermatologist and Creator of Epionce, a medical skin care line. Because the skin under the eyes is so thin, veins and vessels beneath the surface show more easily. Combined with other factors, the illusion of darker skin manifests. 

“Dark circles under your eyes…are usually caused by aging, genetics, allergies or not getting enough sleep. Anemia or an iron deficiency can result in dark eye circles as not enough oxygen reaches the body's tissues,” he says. “Liver problems can also be a cause. Any medications that make blood vessels dilate can cause eye circles to darken as well.”

For mild to moderate dark circles that are new or barely appearing, Dr. Thornfeldt recommends addressing them with “simple and inexpensive treatments” first. For example, cold compresses constrict blood vessels, a contributor to dark circles. (It’s no wonder cucumber on the eyes became a spa staple!) 

He adds: “Eye creams may reduce the look of dark circles by hydrating and smoothing the skin around your eyes, and helping boost the skin barrier.” In addition to ingredients that target dryness and a weakened skin barrier, eye creams of the modern age should also “help mitigate the impact of pollution and blue light.” It isn’t uncommon to come across eye creams that also carry benefits similar to that of makeup. 

The Epionce Renewal Eye Cream, for example, contains soft-focus technology that “scatters and diffuses visible light,” thus decreasing the appearance of dark circles the way a concealer or setting powder would. 

How to treat puffiness:

Puffiness in the eye area typically follows sleepless nights but that isn’t the only reason you may experience swelling or inflammation. 

“Under-eye bags are most commonly a natural result of aging, but can also be caused by fluid retention, allergies, or a lack of sleep,” says Dr. Zenovia, dermatologist, hormonal skin expert, and founder of a namesake skincare line. Though the causes may or may not be out of your control, there are many ways you can take the reins in treating them. 

“Sleeping with an extra pillow under your head, eating a low-salt diet…or applying a cool compress or gel can help reduce morning puffiness,” adds Dr. Perkins, dermatologist and medical advisor of Hims & Hers. Elevating the head is particularly beneficial, since fluid has the potential of pooling into the under-eye area when you’re laying flat. 

As far as eye creams are concerned, Dr. Zenovia and Dr. Perkins agree that eye creams enriched with caffeine are potentially effective, as they stimulate blood flow to the eye area and decrease inflammation. 

How to treat crow's feet:

Aging is a natural part of life and with it comes visible markings of that process, crow’s feet or fine lines being the most common. If you’d rather not see them when you look in the mirror, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best form of prevention or delay: prioritize a consistent and adequate sleep schedule, drink lots of water, eat foods that support the body rather than work against it, do your best to avoid stress. You know the drill. 

However, when it comes to treating crow’s feet with products, Dr. Zenovia says retinol remains the gold standard. Since it’s an active ingredient that can potentially cause irritation, you want to use an eye cream that infuses retinol with gentle ingredients that also won’t disrupt its ability to speed up cell turnover and collagen production. 

Dr. Zenovia’s Retinol Recovery Eye Cream targets signs of aging around the delicate eye area in particular. A medical-grade formulation infused with an advanced micro-polymer, time-released All-Trans-Retinol technology, and 90% Green Tea Polyphenols, this eye cream creates a synergistic effect to give the delicate eye area powerful boost of retinol without irritation,” she says. 

If retinol still proves to be too powerful on your delicate eye area, Dr. Perkins recommends hyaluronic acid, which “ helps to plump and hydrate the skin, reducing the appearance of dehydration lines.”

How to treat redness:

The source of redness or irritation is easiest to identify. More often than not, it’s caused by an adverse reaction to a food or product. If not, according to Dr. Perkins, it can also be caused by “a multitude of things from allergies to eczema to irritation and the vascular component of the skin in this area.”

For mild redness, your first line of defense should be cooling and soothing products. “But if the problem persists, consult a medical professional to get to the bottom of it - you may need a prescription steroid cream,” she says. 

Antihistamines and gentle skin care products may also help but moreso than the other issues already discussed, consultation with a dermatologist is important if the redness persists. 

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