Monday, March 29, 2010

General care for the skin around your eyes

The skin around the eyes is ten times thinner than the skin on the face, it is also more sensitive and requires very gentle handling. As we age, skin loses its elasticity and becomes thinner due to a breakdown of collagen. The desquamation* process takes longer as we age and therefore the healing process also takes longer.

Damage to our skin can be further aggravated by harsh environmental exposures. The skin of the eye contour is constantly moving, blinking alone produces 10 000 movements per day. We use our facial muscles when we talk, laugh, squint and cry which all add up to those dreaded wrinkles, lines, dark circles and puffiness. Rubbing and tugging of the delicate skin under the eye due to allergies, crying, eye makeup removal and insertion and removal of contact lenses can contribute to sagging of the this area.

One should take extra care when choosing a skincare product for this area. Products that contain gentle, non-irritating compounds that target the specific problem be it wrinkles, puffiness or dark circles, along with a wide range of vitamins, antioxidants, and skin-plumping substances are ideal choices.

There are such a large variety of ingredients that can help with whatever problem you have with the eye area, that I would rather explain them in the product reviews.
However, I would like to tell you how to remove your eye-make-up with minimum stress to the area:

Use a good professional salon make-up remover: This is a product formulated specifically for the eye area and can either be a liquid or a thicker, milky lotion. If you use water proof mascara make sure that the one you choose can cope with this very difficult-to-remove make-up product. Be very, very gentle when cleansing the eye area as it is very easy to stretch the skin. If you cannot be gentle please rather use a water-soluble cleanser that can wash it away!

How to remove your eye make-up: Always use damp cotton wool, as some of the cotton wool feels like abrasive pads on the skin when dry. Soak the cotton wool in the make-up remover and place over the eyelids. Wait 5 to 10 seconds for the make-up to softens, then gently stroke the eye lashes from base to tip to remove the mascara. Then stroke softly (not rub and scrub!) from the inside to the outside corner of the eye. Repeat this process until all make-up is removed. If there is still be some stubborn make-up, especially eyeliner around the lashes, use an ear bud (Q-tip) soaked in the remover and gently wipes it away. Now you can cleanse your whole face with your skin specific cleanser. Use a gentle toner and the correct eye cream for your age and gently tap it on the eye bone.

Some basic general do’s and don’ts to help keeping the skin soft and healthy:

 Drink plenty of water. Water plays a crucial role maintaining the elasticity of skin.

 Stay out of the sun. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays causes melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells, to  mature abnormally. This results in age spots and uneven pigmentation. UV rays are responsible for up to 90% of aging and can add several years to your appearance.

 Wear sunglasses to avoid squinting.

 Get plenty of rest/sleep. Fatigue can cause skin to look pale and gaunt.

 Be gentle when removing makeup and avoid unnecessary tugging and pulling on the delicate tissue.

 Use a professional, specific skin care eye cream for your age group.

 Don’t smoke. Nicotine constricts blood vessels in the face and under the eyes. Constricted vessels also make it difficult for nutrients to be absorbed, which leads to a breakdown of collagen.

 Excessive drinking can cause dehydration, so limit yourself to a glass or two of wine every week.

 Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

 Apply all eye skin care products with a massage and tapping around the eye bone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The skin around the eyes

The anatomy of the skin around the eyes, also referred to as the adnexa is unique to the face and body. The skin around the eyes is thinner and more sensitive, in fact ten times thinner than skin in other parts of the body, and as we age, it becomes even thinner due to the breakdown of collagen. It also has no sebaceous glands that produce extra oil onto the skin. This means no oil, and dry skin.

It is important to understand not only the anatomy of this area, but also the muscles involved as well as the process of skin cell renewal to completely know how to care for this delicate area.
The Orbicularis Oculi muscles are circular sphincters which surround the eyes and close the eyelids. They relax when sleeping and can be used independently as when winking. The Levator Palpebrae Superioris muscles sit on the eyelids, open the eyelids and work as an antagonist to the Orbicularis Oculi. The Corrugator Supercilii muscles are located in the orbital arch and draw the eyebrows inwards and downwards causing the vertical lines on the forehead when frowning

Eyelid skin is made up of several layers. The subcutaneous layer, the deepest of all, contains a fine layer of fascia, which lies top of the Orbicularis Oculi muscle. Another layer acts as the support layer of the skin, which is the dermis. The dermis is made up of threadlike proteins including elastin and collagen, fibroblasts, nerves and blood vessels. The top layer, the epidermis, is made up of basal cells, melanocytes, Langerhans cells, keratinocytes and on top, the dead cell layer (also known as the stratum corneum) made up of corneocytes. The epidermal layer gives the skin its appearance, colour, suppleness, texture, and health.

Basal cells reproduce new cells every few days. As these cells migrate upward, they become drier and flatter. Once they reach the surface of the skin, they are no longer alive, and are referred to as corneocytes. This process of migration from basal cell to corneocytes is what gives the epidermis the ability to regenerate itself. This skin renewal process is known as desquamation. Desquamation is an ongoing process that takes about two weeks in a young person and about 37 days for individuals over 50. The build up of corneocytes gives skin a callous or dry, aged and thickened look. The skin feels and looks rough and its ability to retain water becomes impaired.

The skin around the eyes is some of the thinnest, most delicate skin of your entire body. The capillaries are much closer to the surface of the skin there. Many people's skin is not only thinner around the eyes, but also more translucent. That is the basis of most of the problems that we experience around the eyes; dark circles, puffiness and fine lines and wrinkles

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