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Updated: Jan 12

When we try to estimate someone’s age, the first thing that usually catches our attention is their eye area and if they have fine lines or dark circles under them.

The reason for this lies in how delicate the skin around people's eyes becomes as time goes on- it ages much faster than any other part of one's body!

Therefore, the skin of the eye contour area requires special care.


The eye contour area is different from the rest of the face, in particular, because of the specific physiology of the skin in this zone.

Indeed, the skin of the eye contour area is very thin and much more sensitive. The epidermis is just 0.04mm thick compared with 1mm on the rest of the face. Similarly, the dermis is just 0.5mm thick against 1 to 4mm for the rest of the body.

There are virtually no sebaceous glands in the skin around the eyes so there is less natural lubrication that makes the area prone to dryness, and the eyes are easily susceptible to irritation.

It overlies a particularly dense capillary network and has minimal fat padding, which makes the eye area vulnerable to stress and prone to dark circles and puffiness.

Muscles enable the eye to move, as well as they are key in draining surrounding tissue thus promoting lymphatic and venous return. That explains why the eyes can appear puffy on waking, as the muscles have rested all night.

It is stressed by frequent eye movements and squinting. Continuous use of screens, artificial lighting and environmental stressors like UV radiation and pollution strain the eyes and eye area leading to dehydration and irritation.

Because of all these specific aspects of the skin around the eyes, the following problems or a combination of them are first to appear in this fragile area:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles appear at the outer corner of the eye to form the so-called “crow’s feet”. They are the result of the inevitable depletion of collagen and elastin fibres and of exposure to strains and environmental stressors such as the sun, pollution and free radicals.

  • Dark circles

Dark circles are abnormal colouring of the lower lids that is a direct consequence of problems of micro-circulation. As we grow older, the capillary walls grow slacker and blood can no longer circulate normally. The result is accentuated subcutaneous pigmentation that is more noticeable under the eyes.

Dark circles fall into one of the following two categories:

- hereditary dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation of the skin;

- circulatory dark circles are an occasional problem caused by poor circulation of the blood. They appear during periods of fatigue, stress, or lack of sleep.

  • Under-eye puffiness

Under-eye puffiness is in fact excess swelling of the lids. It has two distinct causes:

- Oedematous puffiness: this is caused by stagnating lymph. This type of puffiness, which is most noticeable on waking, tends to diminish during the day. Poor micro-circulation and the use of greasy cosmetics make this problem worse.

- Hereditary puffiness: this is the result of excess fatty cells building up in the area under the eye. They represent a hereditary problem that can only be solved by surgery. However, hereditary puffiness is made worse by skin slackening, an inevitable part of the ageing process.

It is important to minimise morning puffiness not so much because it is a transient nuisance after awakening but because it is one of the biggest contributors to the ageing of the eye area.

The skin of the eye contour, therefore, needs very early, continuous and thorough treatment that will help to prevent further damage to the eye contour area and repair it.

  • Committing to a special eye contour massage

A special eye contour massage is different from a traditional facial massage due to the specific features of the area. The special eye massage will stimulate skin cell metabolism, and help with moving the lymph thus detoxing the tissues and reducing dark circles and puffiness. Eye massage will additionally strengthen the eye muscles, and improve blood circulation thus helping with the supply of oxygen and nutrients, thus improving skin suppleness, and providing skin nourishment and regeneration to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Committing to professional treatment for the eye area is always worth the investment as these treatments usually employ a multidimensional approach like combining products with high concentrations of active ingredients, manual eye massage and patch eye masks like the BIOPTIC eye contour treatment (£55). Professional eye contour treatments should be ophthalmologically tested and suitable for the most sensitive eyes.

Saying YES to an eye cream as part of the home skin care regimen is also recommended.

A lot of our clients are confused about eye creams. They think that whatever they use on the rest of their face will work just fine on their eyes. Unfortunately, this is not the case and it comes down to a few key differences:

  • Eye creams are different as they are specially formulated for the thin and delicate skin around the eyes (0.4mm) and with special delivery systems and ingredients that are gentle and non-irritating.

  • The skin around the eyes absorbs the active ingredients in a cream much faster than the skin on other areas of the face.

  • There are no sebaceous glands in the eye contour area so there is much less lubrication and therefore the skin in this area is much more vulnerable to dehydration.

A good eye contour cream must be formulated with all these differences in mind.

Eye creams should do much more than just moisturise the skin of the eye contour area. While hydration is something that the skin needs, it is not going to do much about dark circles, puffiness or the signs of ageing that are a result of collagen and elastin deterioration.


A good eye contour cream should contain:

  • ingredients that strengthen the capillary walls thus reducing leakages that lead to the accumulation of metabolic pigments responsible for the appearance of dark circles (Ginkgo Biloba extract, Horse Chestnut extract)

  • antioxidants to prevent the damage from free radicals (vitamin E, vitamin C)

  • skin soothers to reduce inflammation (Borage oil, Chamomile extract, Damask Rose Oil)

  • skin repair ingredients to fight the formation of fine lines and wrinkles (amino acids, peptides)

  • skin moisturizing and nourishing ingredients (hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil)

How to apply an eye cream

Also, special attention should be paid to the way the eye cream is applied. Because the skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate, the eye cream should be applied with very gentle movements that avoid any stretching of the skin. The eye creams should also be applied along the edge of the bone that outlines the eye socket. As the skin of the upper and lower eyelids is so thin the cream will be absorbed further up without the eyes being irritated

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