Ageing of the eyes.
The area framing the eye, or periorbital area, is one of the most expressive and important facial areas.
It is the first facial area people look at when meeting someone for the first time
A youthful, healthy eye has very smooth curves which reflect light and avoid unnatural shadows.
The eyelids appear short and have a natural transition into the cheek and brow. There is a full brow, which in a female, peaks above the bony orbital rim laterally before descending, giving a characteristic feminine arch.
Prevention is better than cure, but some of us particularly my generation of late 40’s to early 50’s used to sun worship and never used moisturiser until it is much later on. So the sooner the better to protect and hydrate this delicate area.
Your skin is the largest organ of the body, covering you from head to toe. But skin is not the same all over. The epidermis, (the outer layer of skin), is thinnest on eyelids and thickest on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet.
That thin skin breaks down faster than thicker skin does because it isn’t as collagen-rich (collagen is a protein that gives skin a supple, firm appearance) as other areas of your body.
As collagen naturally decreases with age, fine lines and wrinkles appear to be more visible on the surface of the skin. Eyes are very expressive, too.
Three main areas of the eye skin
Different parts of the eye area are prone to different issues? Here is what you can expect in the three main areas of your eye skin.
- Under-eye skin: The delicate, thin skin under your eyes is quick to show fine lines and wrinkles. As we mentioned above, as collagen in the skin decreases, the veins and blood vessels become more prominent contributing to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. As we age, the muscles and structure under the eye weaken, which means the skin gets lax and saggy. Also, it’s a prime area for fluid retention, making the under-eye area look puffy.
- Eyelid skin: The skin on your upper lids is the thinnest of all the skin on your body. That makes it extremely fragile. Eyelid sagging happens with age and also from excessive rubbing. Eyelid skin is also prone to crepiness.
- Outer-eye area: The skin here crinkles up when you smile or squint, and over time, those expression lines get etched into your skin. This forms what we know as crow’s feet—those curved lines in the outer corners of your eyes.
Plus, thin skin means that veins underneath the skin show more, which can contribute to the appearance of dark circles.
Bones of the eye socket
As we age, there are changes in the bone and soft tissues around the eyes. The bony rims which surround the eyes become wider and more prominent as we have remodeling of the bone and thinning of the soft tissues covering the orbital rims which also means the eye sinks back slightly as well.
Fat around the eyes
Fat from around the eye may start to protrude, giving us eyelid “bags”. The eyelids appear to become elongated as soft tissues in the cheeks descend, uncovering the orbital rim.
Sagging of fat and ligament tissue results in more prominent shadowing in the tear trough areas.
Dehydration in the periorbital area is especially noticeable in skin texture and further accelerates aging.
Puffiness and Dark Circles
Puffiness and swelling are common issues in the periorbital area. These relate to inflammation and leaking of fluid from small blood vessels into the surrounding tissue. In younger clients, swelling may occur only with allergic reactions or irritation
Since the infraorbital skin is thinner than other areas, blood vessels are nearer the surface here. This makes the bluish coloration of these vessels more noticeable.
Wrinkles are actually scars that result from repeated inflammation and oxidative damage followed by the body’s attempt to heal. Crow’s feet are often the first wrinkles to appear around the eye.
All the micro-contractions that happen to your skin as you smile or squint in the sun can cause creases in the skin over time.
The eye area may be one of the first to show the signs of aging; however, we can take action to reduce and prevent signs of aging.
1. Using effective at-home eye products.
Loss of elasticity may be addressed by encouraging collagen deposition, decreasing wrinkling and limiting oxidative damage. A number of skin care products address these processes.
Free radical damage or “oxidative stress” is a primary cause of tissue damage and ageing in the eye area as well as elsewhere.
Topical antioxidants are helpful if their quality is high and they are properly formulated for delivery to their site of action within the skin. Vitamins and pro-vitamins can be encapsulated within liposomes to provide a delivery system for the actives to support healthy metabolism.
Solar exposure bombards the skin with photons, small energy packets from the sun that are themselves free radicals. Sunscreens are essential for photoprotection in the vulnerable periorbital region as elsewhere.
Peptides have been shown to decrease muscle contraction and decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Peptide technology is one of the fastest growing areas of skin care.
If applied topically, peptides must be a small enough molecular size to penetrate the skin and exhibit activity on the myoneural (muscle-nerve) complex.
Topical peptides affect the smaller, superficial muscles rather than the deeper, subdermal muscles of expression targeted by injectable neurotoxins.
2. Anti wrinkle injections
Neurotoxins such as botulinum toxin are used to paralyze neural transmission and muscle contraction, thereby lessening the appearance of wrinkles.
Fine lines and folds start to show aroung the eyes such as crows feet and frown lines. These can effectively be smoothed and further damage prevended by anti wrinkle injections eg Botox, Azzalure, Boccoture and others.
3. Microneedling and Mesotherapy/PRP
Thickening of the skin under the eye would make the skin less translucent and cause the underlying vessels to be less obvious. Regular Microneedling can increase elastic skin fibers. Microneedling also helps the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin), which naturally thins with age, become thicker and tauter.
Collagen synthesis and improvements in skin thickness can be encouraged by growth factors. Using natural plant based growth factors (Mesotherapy serums) or biological (PRP) growth factors can be injected into the skin of the delicate eye area directly.
Under eye filler treatment for dark circles and hollows is a specialist dermal filler for this area.