Under-eye wrinkles – lots of people have them. What are they, actually? Well, it usually starts in our twenties, but as we grow older, the fine lines and wrinkles begin to form under our eyes. They are a natural part of the aging process though there are some ways to prevent them from happening too early and if you already have them, there are also some ways to reduce them rapidly.
Types of Under-Eye Wrinkles
Static Under-Eye Wrinkles
Static wrinkles are those that are visible when your face or face muscles are not moving, and are usually caused by skin damage, exposure to the sun, smoking and poor nutrition.
Dynamic Under-Eye Wrinkles
Dynamic wrinkles are those that appear when you move your facial muscles, such as when you smile or laugh. These wrinkles are usually formed by the repeated contraction of muscles underneath the skin and usually appear between the eyebrows and on the forehead. Crow’s feet, which are near the outer corners of our eyes, are also an example of dynamic under-eye wrinkles.
Wrinkle folds appear when there is age-related sagging of your facial structures. They usually appear in the grooves between the nose and mouth, though under-eye wrinkle folds are definitely possible.
Dennie-Morgan lines are small creases that form along your lower eyelids, and these can lead the appearance of double skin folds beneath your eyes. These lines are not caused by the natural aging process or other factors, but rather, they tend to develop during early childhood in response to allergies and related immune system reactions. One common cause could be a long history of eczema.
What Are the Causes of Under-Eye Wrinkles?
Under-eye wrinkles are inevitable, and we all get them sometimes, even younger persons. The real concern arises when those wrinkles stick around and deepen overtime, even when we don’t move our face or muscles much.
(1) Breakdown of Collagen in the Skin
According to dermatologists, under-eye wrinkles are caused by the breakdown of collagen in the skin dermis under the eyes, and hence losing its elasticity. The skin loses its ability to renew itself. This often happens due to age, genetics and exposure to the sun and dirt in the environment.
(2) An Extremely Expressive Face
These under-eye wrinkles also develop because you have an extremely expressive face. Those repetitive movements that you made daily such as smiling, laughing, squinting, furrowing your brows or frowning are the major contributors to such under-eye wrinkles. As we age, there’s less collagen and so, repeatedly making a face expression causes this collagen to break down and overtime, fine lines and wrinkles appear.
Your sleeping habits can also cause fine lines to appear under your eyes, if you’re pushing the same facial muscles against your pillow during your sleep every night. Hence, your skin loses its ability to bounce back to its original position as you ages.
(3) Lighter Skin Tones
People with lighter skin tones are more susceptible to under-eye wrinkles, as they have less pigment which can act as a natural sun protectant to prevent an acceleration of collagen breakdown. The darker your skin, the larger the pockets in skin cells known as melanosomes, and these contain the pigment melanin. Skin that’s lighter in tone produces almost no melanin, Asian skins produce phaeomelanin, a type of melanin that’s yellowish, while black skins produce eumelanin, the darkest and thickest melanin of all. In black skins, the melanin is packed so tightly together that it absorbs and scatters more light, giving you more protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
A study shows that on average, 55% of ultraviolet A rays penetrate Causcasion skins while less than 18% penetrate African-American skins, which is why photoageing is more obvious in people with lighter skins.
Smoking is the strongest cause of under-eye wrinkles, or wrinkles in men and women. It exposes your skin to extra oxidative stress, and the chemicals in tobacco smoke damages its collagen and elastin, which impairs strength and elasticity. The nicotine in the cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels, and so the skin does not receive as much oxygen and nutrients as it needs in order to look healthy and smooth.
(6) Prolonged Exposure to the Sun
Prolonged or long periods of exposure to the sun can be considered one huge factor that leads to under-eye wrinkles. If you are often outside under the sun without the proper protection from ultraviolet rays, sun damage will ultimately begin to accumulate in the form of fine, under-eye wrinkles.
(7) Poor Circulation
Dr Jame Heskett, holistic MD, in an interview with WellandGood, said that under-eye wrinkles are also most common among people with poor circulation, and those with very dry skin and allergies. Allergies cause inflammation, and this increases swelling and decreases blood flow, leading to increased rate of damage to collagen and elastin.
(8) Rubbing Your Eyes
Rubbing your eyes when you’re tired is also one contributor to under-eye wrinkles. As these under-eye skin is thin and delicate, habitually rubbing this area around your eyes can stretch the skins too much, leading to a breakdown of elastin and causing the formation of fine, under-eye wrinkles.
(9) Dehydrated Skin
Dehydrated skin is a condition where your skin does not get the right amount of water, leading to flakiness and a feeling of tightness in your face. Another symptom of dehydrated skin is also more under-eye wrinkles.
(10) Unhealthy Eating Habits
A high-sugar diet is definitely a cause for bad skin, and sugar can cause premature aging, making you more susceptible to having fine lines and under-eye wrinkles. If you have a tendency to consumer sugary snacks or food that are low on antioxidants, stop now, because you can increase the amount of under-eye wrinkles!
Allergies can make your eyes water or cause inflammation on your face, including the area around your eyes. These can cause under-eye wrinkles if you do not take the corrective steps soon enough. As mentioned above, some under-eye wrinkles that appear could also be Dennie-Morgan lines, which are caused by other factors such as genetics, eczema, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, asthma, etc.
How Do You Get Rid of Under-Eye Wrinkles?
Eyes are the windows to your soul, and although under-eye wrinkles are an inevitable part of the aging process, these under-eye wrinkles can mar your face and break your confidence. Makeup does little to help, as it actually amplifies the appearance of fine lines and make you feel even more self-conscious. The best option is to get rid of these under-eye wrinkles, but how do you do that in the fastest and cheapest way? Vivacity Asia’s editors sat down to talk to a few experts in the field of beauty and medicine, and came up with these top ways to prevent, lessen or remove these under-eye wrinkles.
(1) Home Remedies
Many people turn to home remedies to improve the appearance of fine wrinkles under your eyes. For example, aloe vera, besides having many healing properties, can also significantly prevent the appearance of under-eye wrinkles, as it adds collagen and hydrates your skin.
Another home remedy is to apply a banana mask. Bananas, which contain natural oils and vitamins, can greatly boost skin health. All you need to do is just mash a quarter of a banana until it becomes a smooth paste, and then put a thin layer of it on your skin, allowing it to sit for up to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
Both coffee and cocoa powder, rich in antioxidants, can fight free radical damage so applying these powders to your skin can help it absorb the antioxidants and reduce these under-eye wrinkles. Mix equal parts of coffee powder (or cocoa powder), add in honey and create a paste by consistently stirring it. Apply the paste under your eyes, leave it on for 15 minutes and wash it off with warm water. Repeat this daily.
(2) Use the Right Skincare Products for Your Eyes
Vitamins and Minerals:
You must use a moisturiser and serum that is specifically designed for the eyelids, which need a different composition of nutrients and moisture than other skin on the face and body, said Dr Nava Greenfield, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. Face serums and moisturisers may contain active ingredients such as retinoids that are too strong for under-eye skin. You can apply the moisturiser, and then seal it with an oil.
You should use moisturisers, serums or eye creams that contain vitamin A, such as retinoids, to promote cell renewal, vitamin B to tone and soothe the skin, vitamin C for collagen production, beta-carotene for healing and anthocyanin for puffiness.
Dermatologists recommend using an eye retinol at night as it is important for the prevention of fine lines and under-eye wrinkles. Retinol, itself a derivative of vitamin A, helps with overall texture and lines and stimulates the metabolism of skin cells and encourage collagen production. It tricks your cells into thinking they’re younger than they are, so they work faster to create fresh and non-wrinkled skin.
So to prevent under-eye wrinkles, opt for a retinol or a peptide-packed eye cream and apply it nightly. But do note that retinol takes at least 3 months of consistent use to see results, but the results are permanent. However, retinol can be quite harsh on the delicate skin around your eyes, so limit its use to 2 – 3 times weekly to avoid dryness and irritation, which may lead to more under-eye wrinkles. Mitigate the side effects by using it one night a week for one week, twice a week for two weeks, and then slowly increasing it to every other day.
About half of the hyaluronic acid present in your body is in your skin, where it combines with water to help retain moisture. However, the natural aging process and exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, tobacco smoke and pollution can reduce the amount in the skin.
Hence, hyaluronic acid supplements, serums or creams may prevent this decline by providing your body with extra amounts of hyaluronic acid to incorporate into the skin, thereby keeping your skin moist, reducing the appearance of under-eye wrinkles, helping these areas look and feel more supple. It is recommended that you have doses of 120 – 240 mg daily for at least one month to help significantly increase your skin’s moisture. The only downside is that it’s temporary, and it won’t help with deeper lines or wrinkles.
(3) Promote Collagen Production
The most effective way to support your skin’s collagen is through hydrolyzed collagen supplements, which can help support your body’s natural production of collagen and other molecules that make up the skin such as elastin and fibrillin, keeping your skin firm and taut. These supplements can support your skin’s elasticity and dermal collagen density and help reverse fine lines and crow’s feet around the eyes.
(4) Change Your Sleeping Habits
Certain lifestyle changes can help prevent under-eye wrinkles. For example, you can condition yourself to sleep on your back, and do not bury your face into your pillow, bolster or blanket. Try not to sleep with your face down or pressed up against your pillow.
One other way is to use pillow cases with fabrics that grip skin rather than allow it to slide across it, such as silk or satin pillow cases. This will reduce facial creases, lines and imprints as you sleep.
Also, try to sleep with your head elevated on a pillow and avoid sleeping with your hands under your face. Choose a pillow that can be adjusted, so that you can add or remove inserts to get the perfect elevation.
(5) Always Wear SPF!
Always remember to wear a broad-spectrum, antioxidant-based sunscreen with a serious SPF of 30 and above when you are heading outdoors, to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays of the sun.
You should also top up your protection with a pair of dark, protective sunglasses too, and these will help protect you from the free radical damages and unneccessary squinting that causes obvious signs of aging underneath your eyes.
(6) Treat Your Puffiness and Dark Circles
Eye puffiness and dark circles are related to under-eye wrinkles. According to Lamees Hamdan, MD of Shiffa, when your eyes get puffy, it pushes the blood vessels under your eyes closer to the surface, making dark circles worse. Dark circles also mean that the tissue around your eyes is thin and lacks collagen. Addressing your puffiness and dark circles with a jade roller can help lightly roll your fine lines away, and hence improve or remove under-eye wrinkles.
(7) Apply a Face Mask Regularly
Applying a face mask regularly will help to nourish, balance and restore your skin and prevent under-eye wrinkles. It will also help reduce dark circles and puffiness around your eyes.
Sheet masks are infused with serum to allow deeper penetration into your skin, while cream masks are better for hydrating your skin’s superficial layers. You can try such under-eye patches, or consider an alternative heat eye compressor that helps you to relieve dry eyes too.
(8) Dry Brushing
Dry brushing, a method of gently exfoliating your skin using a special firm-bristled brush, can be used to prevent under-eye wrinkles. Dry brushing your face along the lymphatic channels can increase the circulation around your eyes and help prevent under-eye wrinkles on your entire face.
Dry brushing has become more popular recently, as more celebrities and influencers use it as part of their skin routine to restore firmness, get rid of dry skin flaking and encourage blood flow to certain areas of the body. One advantage of this method is that it’s inexpensive and can be done at home yourself.
(9) Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet
A healthy lifestyle remains the best defense against under-eye wrinkles. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is good for keeping those under-eye wrinkles at bay. For instance, you should eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables daily as they contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from cellular damage caused by free radicals. Also consume a good amount of vitamin C, E and selenium, and also drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration.
Consume some healthy fats such as those found in avacados, oily fish, nuts and seeds, as these provide essential fatty acids that act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple and elastic. Ensure that you get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fats too, as these are essential fatty acids.
A study found that people with healthy eating habits had fewer wrinkles. In particular, women who consumed more fruits had fewer wrinkles than those who ate more meat and junk foods. In particular, try to eat more superfoods such as artichokes, avocadoes, chia seeds, cinnamon, egg whites, ginger, etc. to help reduce the appearance of under-eye wrinkles. Research also suggest that polyphenols, a chemical compound in foods such as green tea and pomegranates, can help prevent wrinkles.
(10) Facial Exercises
Facial exercises have been shown to be effective at tightening the skin underneath your eyes and reducing the appearance of under-eye wrinkles. You can try certain facial exercises to help tighten the under-eye muscles. These exercises, or ‘face yoga’, as they are sometimes called, include stretching your facial muscles and pressing or tapping certain points around the eye to promote blood circulation in the skin.
Facial exercises prescribed by a qualified skin care professional can help stimulate blood flow and help depuff your eyes. A gentle acupressure massage will also help stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage to relax and tone the muscles around your eyes, reducing the appearance of under-eye wrinkles.
(11) Facial Acupuncture
Around for centuries, acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine that helps to treat body pains, headaches and nausea, and now there’s facial acupuncture, a cosmetic treatment that is an extension of this treatment method. It is supposed to not only address signs of aging, but also the skin’s overall health.
Facial acupuncture, which is said to be safer than botox, is also as effective for fine lines, almost as effective with deeper wrinkles and without paralyzing the muscles, according to acupuncturist Shellie Goldstein.
Like traditional Chinese acupuncture, the acupuncturist inserts small needles into ‘pressure points’ in the face, boosting blood flow to the area, producing tighter muscles and a more youthful appearance.
But facial acupuncture tends to cost more and needs more time than botox. You will need about 10 to 20 sessions per week, followed by monthly maintenance sessions. Effects could last for up to 2 years.
(12) Medical Methods
Of course, there are medical methods such as botox, fillers, LED light therapy, or microneedling (or dermarolling) to remove under-eye wrinkles but these can be expensive and are not without risk. Botox, which lasts for 3 – 4 months, works by paralysing facial muscles, which minimise the appearance of fine lines, while fillers, which last between 6 – 18 months, work by adding volume and fullness to areas that have become thin due to aging.
Another option is LED light therapy, a science-backed approach that can be used to remove under-eye wrinkles. This method triggers a natural effect in human tissue, helping to improve the quality of our cells by boosting circulation, increasing collagen and elastin production and accelerating the repair and replenishment of tissue cells.
Microneedling is the puncturing of tiny holes in your skin with a needle-covered roller to stimulate the production of collagen. To see some results, it takes 4 – 6 weeks of treatment, but this process is also not suitable for sensitive skins with eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or any type of inflammatory skin conditions.
There are other medical, non-invasive procedures, such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels that you can add to your list.
Wrinkles Under Your Eyes – What’s Next?
Of course, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a little under-eye fine wrinkles. They’re completely a natural part of aging but taking preventive measures can ensure they do not appear early. If you have more cash on hand, book an in-clinic appointment to see a dermatologist, as these professional treatments can make a difference to these under-eye wrinkles. Meanwhile, follow the above guidelines as much as possible, keep hydrated and live life the way you want it, and you’re good!