A Holistic Esthetician's Take on Caring for the Eye Area
A common question I’m asked is, “Do you have an eye cream?”. I’ve found that caring for the delicate eye area is one of my clients’ biggest concerns. The eye area is the first place that people tend to notice the changes that arrive with age, and the first line of thinking is "what eye cream with fix this"? I want to share information about products, and what else is important to consider to create brighter, healthier eyes. Like any great holistic esthetician, you will see that we always must dive beneath the surface. Here are four important factors to consider when thinking about the eyes:
Let’s talk products. I do recommend applying a moisturizing product to the eye area. There are many fabulously formulated products out there specifically for the eye, but know that (when using herbal skin care products) you don’t necessarily need to use a specific eye product to moisturize your eye area. Some products made for your face in general can also be appropriate for the eye.
When eye creams are designed, they tend to be free of synthetic fragrances, which can be irritating for the eye area. They also usually don’t contain anything harsh that may be used on other parts of the face, such as AHAs, BHAs, retinol, etc. If your regular moisturizer checks these boxes (which is likely does if you are using natural, herbal skin care products like Pink Light), it may be appropriate to also use as an eye treatment. I personally love using our Rose Petal Dew (a fragrance free hydrating hyaluronic gel) and Crystal Facial Tonic (a nourishing oil) on the eye area, and our Midnight Dew (nighttime repair serum) in the evening. I find that these products can make the transition from face to eyes.
There are some ingredients that can help with de-puffing and brightening that might be added to an eye cream, such as Caffeine, Peptides, or Green Tea, so if you find that after working with your regular moisturizer, you want something more active for a specific concern, consider looking for a more targeted product. At any point, If you notice any irritation or the formation of milia (tiny white bumps formed by trapped sebum/skin) around your eye area, you may want to try a new product.
I find that how you apply your eye product, and that you touch this area are actually more important than the product itself. This is because a lot of stagnation can build up in the eye area, causing puffiness, dark circles, and tired-looking eyes. We should approach the eye area with a gentle touch, but it’s vital that we are keeping the circulation of lymph and blood going for a healthy and bright eye.
Your lymph is the fluid that moves through the body to carry away waste and bring nutrients. Unlike the bloodsteam, the lymph does not have its own mechanism of flow (like a beating heart), so it’s important that we help guide it through physical activity and gentle massage. When lymph circulation is stagnant, which is common on the face and around the eyes, cellular waste can build up and cause issues. There’s so much more to say about this for the face and body as a whole, but since we are focused on the eyes in this article, we will keep it simple. Essentially, it’s important to keep the fluids from stagnating around the eye area. Many factors will affect this, but a place to start is by incorporating a simple massage routine into your eye care. This can be done with a your hands or with a tool, such as a jade roller. I created a VIDEO sharing a routine that I recommend using a hydrating gel and roller tool. You can mimic these motions with your fingertips if you don’t have a tool (note: your ring finger will provide the most gentle pressure). Taking a few moments each day to gently massage the eye area with a gentle moisturizer will go a long way in keep your eyes looking bright.
3. Herbs & Nutrition:
Nutrition can have a large impact on our skin and eye area. I only want to touch briefly on this, as it’s a huge subject with many nuances and approaches, and then get into some more specifics on herbal support for the eyes.
A diet full of a multitude of vitamins and nutrients and free from processed foods will have a huge impact on your skin and eye health. Finding and eliminating foods that trigger allergies will also affect your eyes, and can help with dryness, irritation, and rashes that often form eczema-like patches near eyes. This is different for everyone, but some of these foods can include gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol, & refined sugar.
Fish, nuts, and seeds that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E can be beneficial to the eye area when included regularly in the diet. Leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruits also contain vitamins that are particularly important for this area. Drinking plenty of water will also have a huge impact on healthy eyes!
In terms of herbal supplements, it’s important to note that a healthy liver is important for healthy eyes. Providing a gentle detox for the liver and giving the liver ongoing support can improve eye health and appearance. A supplement of Milk Thistle Seed (in the form of a tincture or capsule) is a wonderful ongoing liver support. For detoxing, a daily cup of Dandelion Root tea can help with elimination. Start with a cup daily for three days, and then use as needed. Burdock Root in the form of food, tincture, or tea can also be an excellent (and very gentle) liver cleanser. Working any or all of these into your regular routine can have a benefit on your eye health.
Beauty sleep is a real concept. Our bodies need to have enough good-quality rest to function properly. When we don’t get the sleep we require, it shows, especially in our eyes, resulting in dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines. Everyone is a little different in what they require, but here are some general guidelines to improve your sleep habits:
a) Work towards a fairly consistent bedtime and wake time
b) Create a relaxing nighttime routine that prepares your skin and body for repairative, restful sleep. More on this in our blog about creating a Nighttime Routine.
c) Turn off or put your devices on airplane mode before you go to bed.
d) Use an eye pillow and take a few minutes to breath before going to sleep. This will calm your nervous system and promote a more restful night.
These four categories of eye care create a holistic approach to keeping the delicate skin around your eye healthy and happy. As with most holistic ideas, it's all about consistency for a long-term result rather than a quick fix. Here's to brighter eyes in 2020 and beyond!