7 ways to pamper your peepers
You only have to compare a baby’s fresh, plump skin to that of person in their nineties to know that, yup, things happen to skin as we get older. And the first place to show signs of ageing is around our eyes.
Give yourself a big smile in the mirror and you’ll see where your eyes crinkle at the corners – when you stop smiling the crinkles might disappear but look closer and you might see some very fine lines. Wrinkles often first start to appear on expression lines which are where your face naturally crinkles when you laugh or frown, so your eye area is especially at risk. Also, the skin around your eyes is a little thinner and this means that as you age and your collagen and elastin production starts to slow, your skin isn’t as supported so well. This means that when gravity hits, your skin starts to sag into wrinkles.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – some things we can’t do anything about, but how we treat and care for the delicate skin around our eyes can influence how good our skin looks as we get older. Here are seven things you can do to age-proof your eyes, starting today.
- Use sunscreen every day
One of the biggest causes of premature ageing around the eyes is sun damage. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays stops our skin cells repairing themselves adequately; it breaks down collagen and slows down new collagen growth. It also affects elastin, making our skin less elastic. There’s even a special word for what it does to us – photoageing. Even mild exposure in a sunny climate will have an effect. It’s not just diehard sunbathers who are at risk.
To prevent the effects of sun damage, you can never start too early. Cover up, keep out of the sun when it’s at its hottest, and wear a high-SPF sunscreen or sunblock. Wear a moisturiser with built-in SPF. Choose SPF 15 as a minimum or go for 30 SPF. Products made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide form a complete barrier.
- Wear sunglasses (outdoors, daftie!).
You’ll look cooler than anyone else and they’ll stop you squinting which will help prevent those pesky expression wrinkles.
- Try some TLC with light therapy.
It sounds weird that we’re telling you to keep out of the sun and now we’re suggesting that light therapy might help to age-proof your eyes. Light therapy uses wavelengths that fall outside the sun’s damaging rays, so they’re not the same thing at all. Light therapy has been around for decades for medical uses, and scientific studies have shown that it supports collagen production. Some dermatologists offer red light therapy to minimise wrinkles, and blue light therapy is used to help skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
- Eat eye-friendly foods
There’s no point having beautifully clear and smooth skin around your eyes if you can’t actually admire it in a mirror. Keep your eyes in good working condition with plenty of vitamin C and other antioxidants, folic acid, carotenoids and healthy fats like Omega 3, 6 and 9. These will protect you from cataracts and keep your eyeball innards like your retina superhealthy.
- Dab on the eye-cream (a bit)
A good eye-cream will moisturise the delicate skin around your eyes, plumping it up (we love the word plump!) and smoothening it, which will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But don’t slather it on like it’s whipped cream on your Starbucks. Too much eye cream might work its way towards your eyes and make them sting or itch, which is never a good look.
And being gentle is important. If you’re rough, you’ll drag your skin. Try gently massaging or an oh-so-soft dabbing action.
It’s also important to use an age-appropriate eye cream. Those rich, luscious eye creams might look like they’ll work a treat but if they’re formulated for older skin, your young-and-vibrant skin just won’t take it as well. It’ll be too rich and most likely clog up your pores, leading to blackheads and dull skin.
- Stop smoking.
Do you really need another reason not to smoke? If you’re not afraid of cancer and don’t mind smelling gross then how about this? You’re inhaling up to 7000 different chemical compounds, including carbon monoxide, which reduces the oxygen supply to the skin. That blast of nicotine you’re enjoying narrows your skin’s blood supply and starves your skin cells of nutrients. This slows down production of good guys collagen and elastin. If that wasn’t enough, studies have shown that smoking reduces antioxidants, which fight those ageing free-radicals. Many scientific studies have shown that smoking increases the ageing process, giving smokers deeper wrinkles, especially the tell-tale “crow’s feet”. A smoker can look between 10 and 20 years older than a non-smoker. Ouch.
But it’s not all bad news. Kicking the habit means that your skin starts receiving the oxygen and nourishment it needs. Collagen and elastin production will start up normally and your skin will lose that greyish, unhealthy complexion. Skin will start to improve – and the earlier you quit, the better the improvement!
- Never, ever laugh. Ever.
So, start looking after your eyes today and you’ll be rewarded with supersmooth, beautiful skin with not a wrinkle in sight.