The eye area is the part of the face that ages the fastest. If you want it to maintain a youthful appearance, start taking care of it from a young age.
We know the saying: at twenty, we have the face nature gave us, at 50 we have the face we deserve. The subtext is clear: youth is a currency we can squander quickly, or profit from long-term – it all depends on our choices. And nothing is more precious than “eye currency”.
How does the periocular area age?
If we don’t properly care for our periocular skin, the first expression lines will begin to appear around the age of 25: but we do not worry about them, because they give our face a cheerful, intriguing feel. By the age of 40 these marks, which in the meantime have turned into small furrows, no longer express light-heartedness, but tiredness and fatigue. At 50… well, we don’t really know anymore, because we begin avoiding mirrors.
What are the reasons for this progressive debacle? The eye contour area is the most delicate, and at the same time the most stressed part of the body. This thin skin, almost devoid of adipose tissue, is subjected to the constant blinking on behalf of the eyelids, the incessant action of facial expressions, and even the dreaded finger-rubbing. Exposure to sunlight, a poor diet, smoking and genetic predisposition do the rest.
Eye contour blemishes.
Periocular blemishes have different characteristics, but a common cause: the aging process. Here are the most relevant ones.
Lateral canthal wrinkles. Better known as crow’s feet, they are the expression lines that fan out at the corner of the eyes. Often they are the first to appear, already around the age of 25. The skin on the eye’s outer corner, which is thin and poor in sebaceous glands, dehydrates easily and rapidly undergoes the aging process: in old age, its bony support is reabsorbed, muscles relax, and adipose tissue is reduced. Here expression lines are accentuated and become small, permanent furrows.
Glabellar lines. Also called “frown lines”, because they form when we frown (out of worry, or very often in the short-sighted who squint to focus). Continuous repetition of this movement accentuates glabellar lines, and as the years pass they become a permanent, hated imperfection. Also because they give our face the physiognomy of a problematic, anxious person.
Under-eye bags. They are formed when the tissues and muscles of the periorbital area weaken with age, and consequently the skin begins to give way: thus fat accumulates in the underlying area, with a baggy, sagging appearance.
Sagging eyelids and eyebrows. These are two twin age-related phenomena. The former is technically known as blepharochalasis, or drooping eyelid, and is due to loss of tone of the skin inside the eye, between the eyebrow and eyelashes.
Eyebrow ptosis, or the sagging of the eyebrow muscle, is associated with blepharochalasis, and the combination of the two phenomena jointly causes sagging of the outer eye tissue. “Eyebrows with tails” are an annoying imperfection, which gives us a sad air and adds years to our age.
First line of defense: anti-aging habits.
As dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons know, the secret to eternal youth lies is taking care of one’s appearance from a young age. Here are some virtuous practices to be adopted from the age of 25. Consider them an insurance policy you really should sign up for: cheap, non-demanding and very effective.
Cleanse properly. It is the first rule for youthful skin: remove your make-up every night, even when you aren’t wearing any. During the day, all sorts of impurities are deposited on the epidermis: dead cells, bacteria, fine dust. If you don’t get rid of them before bed, they will prevent the skin from regenerating overnight.
Solar protection. We have talked at length about the dangers of solar radiation, both in summer and in winter. If your skin is fair, the risks of photo-aging are very high, meaning you should apply an SPF 50 cream in summer and at least SPF 30 in winter. And don’t forget eyewear: when in the sun, always wear dark glasses.
Quit smoking. We now know smoking causes a global deoxygenation of the body. But tobacco also has specific risks for the eye area. Cigarette smoke causes us to constantly squint our eyes. Crow’s feet often have an earlier onset in young people who smoke.
A balanced diet. Cut out alcohol and refined sugars, and eat more oranges, legumes and green fruits: they are powerful antioxidants and help protect the skin barrier. And don’t forget foods which protect and sharpen your eyesight: blueberries, pomegranates and carrots.
Second line of defense: anti-aging cosmetics.
Here is the second simple and effective action to combat skin aging: using one or more anti-aging products, making sure to apply them properly.
Choose the right products. Nowadays, there are several types of anti-aging cosmetic products on the market that contain different substances or a mix of active ingredients to prevent cutaneous aging. Among these products we recommend Viscoderm® Cream, containing vitamin E, folic acid and Pycnogenol®, a maritime pine extract which is highly effective in fighting free radicals. Another splendid idea is to use a face mask for the periorbital area, such as Viscoderm® Hydrogel Patch, which releases the active ingredients in a progressive way.
Apply cosmetic products properly. For the anti-aging creams to give the best results, apply every morning with movements from the inner corner of the eye outwards. Do not rub, rather use small taps, which better help product absorption while simultaneously draining the skin.
End your skincare routine with stretching. When the product has been fully absorbed, perform a small facial stretching routine to help stretch the orbicularis muscle, thus reducing the tension that is at the origin of expression lines.
A very simple exercise. Place the middle and ring fingers of both hands next to the left eye, above your crow’s feet, so the fingers face each other. With the right hand, pull the muscle fibers upwards, and with the left downwards. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat the operation with the wrinkles of the right eye.
Third line of defense: cosmetic medicine.
When periocular wrinkles turn into deep furrows, the solution is inevitable: we must resort to cosmetic medicine. Among the most popular treatments for this area, hyaluronic acid-based fillers are particularly indicated. This is how cosmetic medicine helps treat imperfections in this area of the face.
Crow’s feet and glabellar lines. Since these wrinkles are due to frequent and intense muscle contractions, the most effective treatment consists of a combined approach of hyaluronic acid and botulinum injections.
These two substances perform complementary actions. The first fills the wrinkles, while the second, by reducing muscle contraction, allows the hyaluronic acid to remain in position for longer: the reduction of mechanical movement achieved via botulinum injections slows down hyaluronan absorption by the body.
Under-eye bags. Treatments vary according to the stage of development of the blemish. When a person’s predisposition to develop bursae is recognized early, hyaluronic acid fillers are the most effective preventive treatment.
In a more advanced phase, minimally invasive surgical techniques are required. An increasingly popular technique is transconjunctival lower blepharoplasty. The conjunctiva is incised to remove the excess fat at the root of the problem, without the formation of scars.
Eyebrow prolapse. If the problem is in its initial stages, a cosmetic treatment such as complementary botulinum/hyaluronic acid injections, are optimal. The former recalibrates muscle tensions, allowing to raise the eyebrow by a few millimeters; the latter restores tone to the skin tissue by raising the emptied eyebrow.
If, on the other hand, the sagging is more pronounced (tissue ptosis may go as far as to obstruct the patient’s vision) an actual eyebrow lift is necessary. The most suitable surgical procedure is non-ablative blepharoplasty. This technique shortens and excises excess skin without touching on the orbital muscle. Small sublimation spots are made to remove dead cells from the eyelid epidermis (which thus pass from the solid to the gaseous state).
Whatever the treatment or intervention, proceed with caution. The periorbital area is extremely delicate and must be entrusted to the care of expert and conscientious professionals. Youth, especially the one we conquer day after day, cannot be improvised.