January 12, 2015

Skincare Q&A: Eye Creams

As an online esthetician, I spend a great deal of my time answering questions about adult acneingrown hair problems, rosacea, or general skin sensitivities. So! I thought that I would feature a skincare Q&A on my blog to address some of these issues.

There are some questions that are sent to me via email or through ChickRx, a site where anyone can ask questions that relate to various lifestyle topics and experts (like myself) can offer valuable advice or suggestions. If you have any questions that you would like to ask (or have featured on the blog), please don't hesitate to speak out in the comments below! If you would rather have a question be answered privately, I am always available by email.

This week's Skincare Q&A features concerns about getting a head start on anti-aging products, including what role eye cream plays in your skincare routine.

"I'm 28 years old, and I don't have any wrinkles yet, but when should I start using anti-aging eye cream?"

I'll tell you a secret about eye cream... If you don't already have fine lines or dryness around your eye area, eye creams are a complete gimmick when it comes to preventative skincare.
If you do have fine lines, drugstore brands don't have enough active ingredients to really make a difference. One of the best things you can do is to apply your SPF moisturizer to the crow's feet under your eyes, as long as you don't any product near the inner corners where your tear ducts are. If you do feel dry there, eye creams are worthwhile for moisturizing benefits because they are safer for the sensitive eye area. If you're using an eye product for aging preventative purposes, added moisture does nothing to prevent fine lines. 
Whether it's SPF, your go-to serum, or concealer, delicately apply the product to the eye area and avoid rubbing it in. To do this, I recommend using the pads of your ring fingers —they are your weakest fingers— to very gently pat your product onto the area. (If applying an eye cream or serum, don’t forget to apply it to the area above the upper lids in addition to below the lower lids. Go very easy around the tear duct area in order to prevent the product from pooling and causing irritation). 
As for puffiness and dark circles, there's nothing like the new Peptide technology for combatting both of those issues, along with existing fine lines. This class of ingredients is what makes up the entire Olay Regenerist line. However, the Olay products are very weak in comparison to salon brands. Salon brands contain active ingredients that are the same as the levels at which ingredients are tested at in the lab.
"Do I really need to use an eye cream? I've heard arguments for both sides. If yes, at what age is it appropriate to start?"

I actually find that unless there is remarkable dryness under your eyes, SPF moisturizer and good pair sunglasses that have UV protection are only items that are really necessary.  Dark circles and puffiness are now able to be addressed by new eye gels containing Peptides, which are protein chains of amino acids that have been discovered to repair all sorts of damage. 
What we're really talking about here in terms of an age when fine lines and wrinkles haven't happened yet (in other words: aging prevention) the truth is that use of moisturizer does not prevent aging. The prevention of UV damage to the skin is what does! Again, sun protection in the form of broad-spectrum SPF moisturizer or UV sunglasses is really the only way to prevent the damage that leads to wrinkles. Having said that, moisturizers or serums with broad-spectrum, multi-vitamin antioxidants can be very helpful as well. 
In my humble opinion, eye creams are not necessary for the prevention of signs of aging.
If you use anti-aging skincare products, along with makeup that has anti-aging ingredients, is the effectiveness of either products diminished?

It's not that anything is diminished by applying different types of anti-aging products. It's that you have to remember that makeup is designed to sit on top of the skin and not meant to penetrate. 
Anything that stays on top of the skin without penetrating will either cover, color, hydrate, or physically protect the skin (like physical sunscreens).  Everything else that's meant to contribute to skin's health must penetrate. It is for this reason that I've never been too crazy about makeup that is formulated with active ingredients (i.e., makeup as skincare). In my honest opinion, it's just gimmick! 
Anti-aging products that truly work must include antioxidants, peptides, or AHAs, which have to penetrate the skin in order to do their jobs. To round out your anti-aging program, you must include a sunscreen that include filters for UVB rays, which also have to penetrate the skin to work properly.  Ingredients that filter UVA rays don't have to penetrate - the best sun protection products filter out both UVA and UVB, and are known as "broad-spectrum" sunscreens. 
It's also very important that the anti-aging products be formulated with active ingredients present at the levels they were tested at in the lab. This is not easy to find - many products out there are formulated with very small amounts of active ingredients, and you won't know it. In addition, most anti-aging products on the market, especially lotions and creams, have pore clogging ingredients that don't bother pore-less, drier skin types. 
P.S.  Keep in mind that you must give these products at least a month to start to see a difference and three months to see a significant difference.
Do you need help deciding on which products are suitable for your skin type?  Get started on your own skincare regimen now by filling out my Eval by Email® Skincare Consultation form for Adult Acne.

In about 5-7 days, you'll receive a completely personalized analysis of your acne situation and skincare regimen, along with a sample packet of products mailed to your home. After you've tried the full skincare regimen for a few days, you can order from my web site, and be on the way to solving your own special acne and aging issues. 

The best part? There is no charge for this service, and it's available anywhere in the U.S. :)