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Know your allies and enemies in the fight for youthful eyes

Take note of the factors that are doing battle over the skin around your eyes

06 MAY 2011

The skin around the eyes is fine and delicate and almost entirely lacking in sebaceous glands. This makes it a very delicate and vulnerable area and it's here that wrinkles and signs of ageing begin to show sooner than anywhere else. The battle lines are drawn up: make sure you know who's with you and who's against you.


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Enemies

The sun
Your biggest enemy, the sun, attacks on two fronts: on the one hand, UV radiation breaks down collagen and elastin and so reduces the elasticity and flexibility of the skin; on the other, bright sunlight makes you squeeze up your eyes and blink against the glare, which encourages wrinkles. It's important, then to use sun cream and to wear sunglasses that provide effective protection to the largest area of skin possible. Whatever the fashion, over-sized Jackie O sunglasses have a lot going for them.

Tobacco
The effect of nicotine is similar: it attacks the oxygenation of cells and unleashes a storm of free radicals. And, as if that were not enough, even if you aren't a smoker yourself, if you frequent smokey atmospheres, you'll find yourself blinking and squinting and laying a foundation for early crow's feet.


Allies

Cosmetic creams
The problem, then, is dehydrated, leathery skin, and you need to take steps before you actually see the first visible signs. You can simply use your usual moisturiser, but it is better to find a product specifically for the eye area. These creams tend to be less greasy than normal moisturisers and there is less risk of irritation if the product gets into eyes by mistake. Similarly, some ordinary moisturisers are too heavy for the eyelids, and may result in bags.

Cleansers
Waterproof and lash lengthener mascaras can be very stubborn when it comes to removal, but if you scrub at them when you cleanse, you'll end up breaking your lashes and tugging at the delicate skin. Choose a specific product designed to deal with eye makeup and with this delicate area in mind that will enable you to remove all traces of eye make up gently, without damaging the skin tissue.

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