Dry, flaky skin around the eyes? We explain why your eye area gets drier than the desert and how to target under eye dryness with a hydration heavy skincare routine.
What Causes Dry Under Eyes?
The skin under your eyes is thinner than anywhere else in your body. This makes it harder for the skin in this delicate area to retain moisture which leads to dryness.
The under eye area also has fewer oil glands than other parts of your face. Less oil means the eye area is naturally drier no matter what your skin type.
The first signs of ageing usually appear under and around the eye and the skin here is also more sensitive and easily prone to irritation.
Dry skin under eyes can be caused by:
- Strong, drying skincare products. Some cleansers - especially soap - strip the skin of all oil and moisture.
- Seasonal changes. Cold, windy weather can lead to dry flaky skin under eyes.
- Harsh makeup remover. Like strong cleansers, many makeup removers strip the skin of oil and moisture the skin needs to stay hydrated.
- Roughly touching and pulling the skin.
- Cleansing your face with hot water which is very drying for the skin.
- Allergies or exposure to irritating chemicals.
Some chronic skin conditions can also cause under eye dryness.
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, can cause the skin around the eye to become red, dry, and scaly. Eczema is often most prominent in places where the skin folds, such as around your eyes.
Treating eczema in this area may require prescribed topical corticosteroids in addition to a hydrating skin care routine.
Psoriasis can cause a build up of scaly, dry patches around the eye area. Skin can become cracked, painful and bleed. Psoriasis around the eyes will usually require treatment under the guidance of a health practitioner teamed with a hydrating home skincare routine.
Tips for Treating Dry Skin Under Eyes
Relieving under eye dryness means handling the area with extra TLC, choosing hydrating skincare, and eating anti-inflammatory, high hydration foods.
1. Try not to touch or rub the skin
The delicate skin in this area shouldn’t be pulled at and rubbed, especially if you are experiencing dryness. When you do touch the skin under your eyes, be gentle always!
Use your pinky finger to lightly tap skincare products into the skin. When using eye makeup remover gently dab and use soft circular movements, rather than dragging.
2. Avoid harsh products
Using strong products around your eyes will irritate the skin and exacerbate dryness.
What is considered a ‘strong’ or ‘harsh’ product? Any product formulated with ingredients that strip the skin entirely of moisture and oil.
Cleansers, makeup removers, and exfoliating products are usually responsible.
A few ingredients to avoid include:
- Parabens. These ingredients are chemical preservatives that are known to irritate and dry the skin.
- S.D (specially denatured) alcohol which strips the skin of its natural oils and results in dehydration.
- Benzoyl Peroxide. While it may be helpful for acne, this ingredient can cause peeling, itching, irritation, and redness.
- Synthetic fragrances.
Also, when you exfoliate your skin, don’t use the product right up close to your eyes. The under eye area is too delicate to deal with harsh exfoliants, especially grainy scrubs which can cause micro tears in the skin.
As a good skincare rule, no matter your skin type, always use gentle cleansers formulated with ingredients that protect the all-important oil / moisture balance of the skin.
A great option for makeup remover is micellar cleansing water. This classic French beauty staple is incredibly gentle on skin containing none of the harsh ingredients you’ll find in many standard makeup removal products.
3. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
You can help combat dry under eyes with a few menu changes too.
Anti-inflammatory foods help keep skin moisturised, supple, and calm. A few of the best options include:
- Citrus fruits
- Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
- Nuts - especially walnuts
- Fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, and sardines
Changing your diet won’t have a dramatic effect overnight but give it time. Coupled with a hydrating skincare routine, you should begin to see an improvement in under eye dryness.
4. Beginning a hydrating skin routine
At the heart of a great routine for dry eyes are ingredients that boost hydration and keep the area moisturised.
Yes, hydrating and moisturising are different things!
Hydrating ingredients (humectants) add moisture to the skin surface by drawing water from the air to the cells.
Moisturising ingredients (emollients) work to lock the water in by creating a barrier over the skin surface.
Signs of dry, flaky skin means there’s cracks between the skin cells which moisture escapes through. Emollients create a seal between these cracks, soften skin, prevent itching, and reduce scaling.
Key humectant ingredients
- Hyaluronic acid
- Aloe vera
- Sodium Hyaluronate
Key moisturising ingredients
- Chondrus Crispus Extract (red seaweed)
- Jojoba oil
- Stearic acid
Hydrating Skin Routine for Under Eye Dryness
Our step-by-step routine for addressing dryness under the eyes. Overall, this routine will improve hydration in the skin which everyone can benefit from.
Step 1: Gentle cleanser
Suits: All skin types and concerns
Key ingredients for hydrating and moisturising: Aloe vera, glycerin, and stearic acid.
Step 2: Hydrating serum
Suits: All skin types and concerns
Key ingredients for hydrating and moisturising: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera, and allantoin.
Step 3: Hydrating eye serum
The most important step in your routine for dry skin under eyes. Applying an eye serum after your hydrating serum doubles down on moisture and extra attention for a dry, dull eye area.
Our Hydrating Eye Serum is a moisture boosting miracle worker. A lightweight serum that delivers continuous moisture and nourishes a tired, dehydrated eye area diminishing puffiness while plumping and firming fine lines.
Suits: All skin types to hydrate and firm a tired eye area.
Key ingredients for hydrating and moisturising: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and plankton extract.
Step 4: Eye balm
Layering an eye balm over the eye serum will help keep the active hydrating ingredients of the serum locked into the skin. A balm formulation also offers additional moisturising benefits.
esmi Eye Delight Reflection Eye Balm is suited to all skin types to help leave the eye area more moisturised, supple, smooth, and lifted. Use in the morning and / or evening.
Step 5: Moisturising lotion or hydrating Duo or face oil
If your skin is very dry in general, we recommend using a lotion followed by face oil.
Moisturising lotion: Probiotic Skin Mylck plus Hydration
Suits: All skin types and concerns - especially hypersensitive skin
Key ingredients for hydrating and moisturising: Sodium hyaluronate, plant derived emollients, and seaweed extract.
Face oil: 24k Gold Nourishing Oil
Suits: Dry skin types
Key ingredients for hydrating and moisturising: Squalane, avocado oil, and jojoba oil.
A combination of the
Suits: Skin types with dryness concerns
Key ingredients for hydrating and moisturising: Glycerin, sodium chloride, Vitamin E, and squalene.
Shop our full range of esmi Eye Treatments for hydrating, brightening, and anti-ageing solutions.
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