Restoring Dry Skin Around The Eyes

101 Guide To Restoring Dry Skin Around The Eyes

By Kylie Nicholson

APRIL 26, 2023

Dry skin is caused by an insufficient amount of water and oils in the skin. While dry skin can develop anywhere on the body, the skin around the eyes is especially thin and delicate, so symptoms of dry skin around the eyes can appear more pronounced and persistent.1 It is possible to restore dry skin in the periocular area with a thorough understanding of the reasons for dry skin and the following tips curated specifically for the skin around the eyes.

01 What causes dry skin around the eyes?

Several environmental and physical factors cause the depletion of hydrating molecules from reaching the skin. Some of these include:
  • Weather: Dry air, especially in overly heated air or air conditioned environments, can cause dry skin all over the body, and especially around the eyes. That’s because dry air naturally draws moisture out from the skin. (2)
  • Skin conditions: Common skin conditions such as eczema, which affect more than 31 million Americans are major causes of dry skin, especially around the eyes and other facial areas. Eczema presents as scaly, cracked and dry skin.1
  • Aging: As we age, less natural oil is produced by the skin, as well as decreased skin cell regeneration and sustained sun damage.3 All of these factors reduce the skin’s ability to maintain hydration, especially in the eye area, as the skin around the eyes ages at a more accelerated rate than skin in other parts of the body.4
  • Sun Damage: Damage by the UV rays of the sun is the number one cause of skin changes according to the American Academy of Dermatology3.
  • Nutrient Deficiency: Deficiencies of vitamins C, D, A and calcium can lead to dry skin issues.2
The skin around the eyes is inherently more sensitive and prone to skin issues due to its fragility. While there are typically 15+ layers of stratum corneum in most areas of the body, there are only 3 in the delicate eye area, so damage sustained in this area is more likely to be visible. 7 Additionally, periocular skin ages at a rate faster than skin in other areas of the body. In one study, it was found that the skin around the eyes ranged from 22.25 to 28.75 years older than skin even a few inches away on the temples.8
Unlock the secret to healthy skin. Learn more!

02 Is dry skin around the eyes a sign of irritation?

Dry skin can be a symptom of irritation. Contact dermatitis occurs when skin comes into contact with an allergen or irritating substance, causing a reaction. Dry skin is a very common symptom of contact dermatitis, along with redness and itching. 2The most common cause of contact dermatitis from cosmetics such as skin care or household products is added fragrance.5 Even products labeled as unscented or fragrance-free may still contain chemicals for the sake of masking another scent. Knowing the consequences of added fragrance in skin care, make sure to play close attention to ingredient labels when choosing between products.

03 Does diet play a role in maintaining healthy skin around the eyes?

Yes, diet can play a role in the health of skin near the eyes. There are certain vitamins and minerals to look for when attempting to improve the appearance of the skin near the eyes. Key nutrients for healthy skin include:
  • Vitamin C and E: These antioxidants can help prevent damage caused by free radicals to the skin.3
  • Omega 3 and 6: Fatty acid supplements or sources such as nuts and fish can allow the skin to produce higher amounts of natural oils, moisturizing the skin.3
  • Hydration: Drinking sufficient amounts of water is imperative for maintaining hydration in the skin and the rest of the body.1

04 How can you combat dry skin around the eyes?

The first line of defense against dry skin on any part of the body moisturizer. When moisturizing near the eyes, use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to avoid irritating the sensitive skin in this area. Glycolic acid, aloe vera, and glycerin are some ingredients to take into account when searching for a hydrating under eye cream as these ingredients may also help with crepey skin under eyes.3)

Another potential cause of dry skin is overcleansing. Taking lengthy showers at hot temperatures can dry the skin out, whereas shorter, warm showers are more friendly towards skin, as they won’t strip the skin of its natural oil barrier. Also when establishing a cleansing routine, avoid harsh facial cleansers that can strip oil from the face, leaving the skin dry. Strong exfoliants can largely contribute to skin irritation and dryness if used too often, especially around the eyes.3

05 What are non surgical ways to restore dry skin around the eyes?

Here are a few tips for restoring dry skin near the eyes non-surgically:
  • Cold compress: Using a cold compress at home can relieve symptoms of dry skin such as itchiness and inflammation.1
  • Get enough sleep: Getting sufficient sleep can prevent flare ups of conditions such as eczema that cause dry skin near the eyes.2 Reduce stress: Stress can also cause flare ups of conditions that cause dryness in the skin.2
  • Topical products: Using gentle and moisturizing topical skin care products will help fortify the delicate skin barrier around the eyes. Look for inert and hydrating ingredients, like glycerin, allantoin, and hyaluronic acid. Opting for products specifically designed for the eyes is a great way to add extra moisture, as most eye creams are specifically formulated with an extra boost of lipid-rich and moisturizing ingredients. Additionally, many eye products are formulated with higher concentrations of active ingredients.

06 What are the best methods for preventing dry skin around the eyes?

Creating a skin care routine that is gentle and hydrating, and protecting the eye area can be instrumental in healing dry skin and improving eye area appearance.
  1. Cleanse the skin: Use a gentle gel cleanser and warm, not hot, water to wash the face and eye area. Washing the skin will remove dirt, debris, and any cosmetics from the skin. Be sure to avoid any exfoliants around the eye area.9
  2. Moisturize: Use a gentle moisturizer to replace any moisture taken from the skin during cleansing. Fragrance free products are the least irritating choice for close proximity to the eyes, and lipid-rich formulas will help fortify the delicate skin barrier around the eyes and eyelids. 9Be sure to dab the moisturizer into the skin instead of rubbing to avoid adding friction to the delicate skin around the eyes.2
  3. Sunscreen: Applying sunscreen and/or wearing sunglasses will protect skin in the eye area from damage from UV rays.3 Stay hydrated: Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water will allow for more moisture to be present in the skin.2
  4. Avoid undue irritation: Rubbing and scratching the eyelids and under eye area can damage the thin skin around the eyes. Opting for hypoallergenic eye makeup can help ensure your eyes don’t become irritated or itchy. Wear protective glasses or goggles whenever there is a possibility of irritants coming into contact with the eyes.1

07 What type of ingredients are key to restoring moisture in the skin around the eyes?

There are several ingredients that can help restore moisture in the delicate skin around the eyes:
  1. Hyaluronic Acid: This ingredient is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin, helping to plump and hydrate the area around the eyes.12
  2. Ceramides: Ceramides are lipids that help to strengthen the skin's barrier and prevent moisture loss.10
  3. Glycerin: Glycerin is a humectant that helps to draw moisture into the skin, keeping it hydrated and supple.13
  4. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is a soothing ingredient that can help to reduce inflammation and swelling, while also providing hydration to the skin.14
  5. Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help to protect the skin from damage caused by UV light. It also has moisturizing properties that can help to hydrate the skin around the eyes.10
  6. Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil is a lightweight, non-greasy oil that is similar in composition to the skin's natural oils. The benefits of jojoba oil are similar to that of moringa oil for skin as it can help replenish the skin and prevent moisture loss.11
  7. Caffeine: Caffeine is a natural diuretic that can help to reduce puffiness and swelling around the eyes, which in turn can also help tighten skin under eyes.10
When looking for products to restore moisture to the skin around the eyes, it's important to choose products that are specifically formulated for this delicate area and to avoid harsh ingredients that can cause irritation.

OneSkin’s OS-01 EYE is a gentle moisturizer specially formulated for the sensitive eye area. In a 4-week consumer perception study, 91.7% of users who applied OS-01 EYE 2x daily for 4 weeks reported improvement in dryness in the skin around the eyes.

OS-01 EYE contains the highest concentration of the OS-01 peptide of any of Oneskin’s products. The OS-01 peptide has been scientifically proven to increase key markers associated with collagen and hyaluronic acid production in ex vivo human skin samples (Zonari, et al). OS-01 EYE is also free from fragrances, sulfates, essential oils, and other common irritants, yielding a weighted average of less than 1.1 based on the EWG’s SkinDeep Cosmetics Database scoring guidelines.

 Key Takeaways

  • The skin in the area under the eyes is both thinner and ages faster than skin on other areas of the body.4
  • Diet, lifestyle habits, cosmetic products containing irritants, and skin conditions can all cause dryness on the skin surrounding the eyes.
  • Using a gentle moisturizer that is safe for the under eye area such as OS-01 EYE can repair eye skin that is suffering from dryness.

By Kylie Nicholson: Kylie is studying Biosystems engineering at the University of California, San Diego. She is passionate about scientific writing and women's health research.


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