We all know how important exfoliating our skin is, but did you know your eyes need exfoliating, too? We have been cautioned forever about being extra careful and extra gentle with the skin around our eyes. Lately I’m beginning to think that maybe we have taken this to practice to the extreme. I find that some of my clients are developing milia1 on their eyelids, which may be due to excess dead cell buildup. When I question them about their daily and weekly cleansing routines, I’m discovering that these clients are barely touching their eyelids.
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?
Another source contributing to the formation of milia could be buildup of old makeup that is not completely removed. Makeup can get clogged in the roots of the eyelashes and cause clogged oil ducts, which can then lead to stys — not fun! My own observation is that when working with these clients’ skin we can achieve remarkable rejuvenation overall, but their eyes continue to look older than the rest of their faces if they continue to miss the important step of completely removing old make up and dead cell buildup.
“The thin skin around your eyes typically looks ten years older than the rest of your face, since dead cells dull the area and lines emerge here first,” says New York City dermatologist Neal Schultz. “Gentle daily exfoliation of the eye area can help it look younger and glowing by creating a smoother surface that better reflects light,” he adds.
Exfoliating also promotes collagen production which can make that thin, fragile tissue stronger and more resilient. “People focus on how showing emotion causes wrinkles, but what is more important is that you’re keeping skin elastic enough to flatten out again afterward, and exfoliation is an essential part of that process,” says Schultz.2
WHAT YOU CAN DO
One way to prevent milia and other unwanted buildup around the eyes, is to gently exfoliate the eyelids after removing your makeup—every night! Very lightly sweep a soft, moist washcloth over the surfaces of your eyelids and through the roots of your lashes. This will lightly remove loose surface cells and prevent buildup on your lash line.
In addition, you can use a low-dose alpha hydroxy product once a week to loosen the bond that holds the dead cells together, which keeps them stuck on the surface. Young Skincare Radiance Repair Youth Perfecting Toner contains AHAs, BHAs, along with skin soothers and brighteners that together act as a gentle but effective once-weekly treatment.
If you are already using the toner daily on your face, just continue the cotton pad on over your upper and lower lids once a week. Be sure not to have the cotton dripping wet and don’t get it inside your eyes. As always, first test on a small area before applying widely. After cleansing your eyes thoroughly, don’t forget to follow up with your daily anti-aging eye treatment.
THE FOLLOW UP
After exfoliation all skin is more absorbent and receptive to the benefits of corrective skin products and your eyes are no exception. An excellent ingredient for eyelid rejuvenation is Beautifeye™, which noticeably lifts and firms upper eyelids, reduces wrinkle depth, puffiness, and dark circles, and increases volume and tissue density. Acetyl Tetrapeptide-2 is also highly effective. It strengthens architecture, steps up firm suppleness and springy bounce back. These two ingredients are found in my Young Skincare Illuminating Eye Lift, which retracts puffiness and brightens discolorations, too. You’ll see noticeable change in your eyelid tissue after just one week of use.
Exfoliating your eyelids and following up with a potent, youth restoring treatment can make your “windows to the soul” more expressive, fresh and alluring.
1 A milium cyst is small, white bump that typically appears on the nose and cheeks. These cysts are often found in groups, and in these cases are called milia. The cysts occur when keratin becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin. (source: www.healthline.com/health/milia)