Our beauty expert, Debra Jaliman, M.D., is a top New York City dermatologist and the author of Skin Rules. Visit her website at jaliman.com.
The skin around your eyes is the most delicate skin on your body. As such, it can unwittingly reveal a lot about your age, your health and your lifestyle. Don't want to be outed by your eyes? Try these fast fixes for four common eye-area afflictions.
The problem: Wrinkles
The fix: The skin around your eyes has the lowest concentration of oil glands, making it prone to dryness. Plump up fine lines and crow's-feet with over-the-counter creams and serums containing retinol. (Use these at night, as retinol can make skin highly sensitive to the sun. Products containing peptides, which stimulate collagen production, can be applied in the morning.)
To stave off the wrinkling effects of sun damage, apply an SPF 30 sunscreen around the eye area. Choose one with a high concentration of zinc oxide or titanium dioxideingredients least likely to cause irritation.
The problem: Dark Circles
The fix: Genes are the most likely culprit here. If you have fair or thin skin, it's more obvious when fragile capillaries stretch and leak, causing blood to pool under the eyes.
Age is another factor: Over time, skin loses collagen and thins, revealing the veins underneath. Sun exposure also breaks down collagen and darkens the skin under the eyes.
To treat skin discoloration, look for creams and serums that contain hydroquinone combined with retinol or niacinamide. If your skin is very thin and translucent, a product containing peptides can help thicken it.
Another option is to ask your dermatologist about treatments with a cool glide vascular laser or injections with a hyaluronic acid filler such as Juvéderm.
The problem: Puffiness
The fix: Seasonal allergieswhich trigger the release of histamines in the body, inflame blood vessels and cause swellingare one common cause of puffiness under the eyes; excess salt and artificial sweeteners can also contribute.
For allergy-related puffiness, an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, can be helpful. At bedtime, elevating your head with the use of two pillows can prevent body fluids from pooling under your eyes while you sleep.
Once swelling has set in, an ice pack placed on the eye area for 15 minutes can help it go down; soaking cotton pads in hot water mixed with salt and placing them on the eyes will have a similar effect. Products containing caffeine work by constricting the blood vessels under the eyes, which can relieve some of the puffiness.
If none of these methods solves the problem, the puffiness may be caused by pockets of fat. As we age, the muscles in our lower eyelids tend to weaken, allowing fatty deposits to bulge forward. These deposits can only be removed surgically.
The problem: Droopy Eyelids
The fix: Sagging eyelids (the technical term is ptosis) are usually due to aging eyelid muscles. Other causes include congenital deformities, cataract surgery, long-term contact lens wear, chronic inflammation or trauma to the eye.
Treatments with Thermage CPT, a radio frequency machine that stimulates the fibroblasts in the skin to produce more collagen, can help tighten the lids. (Six months of treatment are required for optimal results.)
Plastic surgery to lift the eyelid muscles is recommended for more severe cases and more permanent results.
From our sister publication REMEDY's Healthy Living Spring 2015