Protect and Repair the Delicate Eye Area

Here, we give you a two-step approach to preventing further damage and softening the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes.

protect and repeat eye area

Photo by: I Love Images/Getty Images

Step One: Protect Start with an SPF of at least 30 every day, making sure to cover the delicate area around your eyes. This helps protect your skin from UV rays that break down collagen and cause wrinkles. Paul Frank, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, recommends using a cotton swab to apply your regular facial sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF to your eyelids—that way it won’t get rubbed into your eyes—but you might also want to consider a product specifically formulated for this area. “If it doesn’t say eyes on the bottle or box, look for a mineral sunscreen made with zinc oxide,” says Jeanette Graf, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. They’re typically chemical-free and adhere better to your skin, which will prevent any running or stinging.

Toss on your sunglasses any time you go outside, especially during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—even if it’s just bright, not sunny! It will stop those automatic squinting movements that deepen crow’s feet, while also blocking both UVB and UVA rays. “Sunscreen does a great job with UVB,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, a dermatologist in Washing, DC., “but even the best sunscreens let UVA rays through.”


Step Two: Repair The advice here is simple: You want to gently apply a good moisturizing eye cream to clean skin twice a day, in the morning and night, says Dr. Tanzi. Part of the power of these products is that they hydrate and smooth the skin, making wrinkles look less pronounced while you’re wearing them. But the second layer of magic comes from ingredients that help strengthen and repair skin long-term—just be patient. “Once you find one you like, you’ve got to give it four to six weeks to see lasting results,” says Dr. Frank.

Choose it Creams with retinols will reduce wrinkles by bumping up collagen production and decreasing its breakdown. That said, retinols can be a little harsh on the delicate skin around your eyes, so you might want to try a product with peptides, which have the same effect—but tend to be a bit milder, according to Dr. Tanzi.

Apply it Tap on eye cream with your ring finger (tugging at this fragile skin can cause sagging, and your ring finger is your weakest—so it has the softest touch). Start below the inner corners of your eyes, and pat along the ocular bone to the outer corners.


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