Help At Your Fingertips

Keep a close eye on your eyes

In addition to applying sunscreen, consider shielding your eyes with sunglasses to protect them from harmful UV rays.
In addition to applying sunscreen, consider shielding your eyes with sunglasses to protect them from harmful UV rays.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The new year has just begun, and your list of resolutions for the year might include things that will help you look better.

Dr Elaine Chee, a partner and senior consultant at Eye and Retina Surgeons in Camden Medical Centre, has noted a 20 to 30 per cent increase in demand for oculoplastic services during festive seasons.

The most common procedures are non-surgical ones such as Botox injections and fillers, she said.

Her patients also opt for skin tightening, as well as operations for double eyelids and droopy lids.

Dr Chee tells you how to put your best face forward with five lifestyle tips for the eyes.

USE SUNSCREEN AND SUNGLASSES

Sunscreen should be applied daily before you head outdoors.

People often forget to do this, or mistakenly believe they need to apply sunscreen only while doing outdoor sports for a long time or when it is really sunny outside.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays, especially UVA, which causes skin damage, can penetrate through the clouds.

Also, sunscreen does not last an entire day. If you are going to be outdoors for a prolonged period, reapply every few hours.

You should also be aware that sunscreen does not provide 100 per cent protection against UV rays, so you might wish to shield your skin in other ways, for instance, by wearing a hat or sunglasses.

What's more, sunglasses reduce the need to squint, which could result in the development of wrinkles around the eyes.

REMOVE EYE MAKE-UP PROPERLY

Leftover make-up can clog pores, and lead to infections, puffy eyes or even discoloration around the eyes.

A person's skin sensitivity determines the type of eye make-up remover that should be used.

If you are prone to eczema or have extremely sensitive skin, use a product that is hypoallergenic and free from fragrance and alcohol.

When removing make-up, avoid rubbing the delicate skin of the under-eye area.

Instead, soak a cotton ball with make-up remover and apply over the area. Leave it for a while to soften and dissolve parts of the make-up before gently wiping it off.

This is especially important for mascara, which can be difficult to remove.

After you remove the make-up, it is best to use a cleanser for the surrounding eye area.

You can choose lid-care wipes or eyelid cleansers that are gentle on the eyelids and non-irritating. They help to remove any remnant dirt and make-up, and wash away the make-up remover as well.

USE ADEQUATE MOISTURISERS IN THE EYE AREA

Facial moisturisers could contain ingredients similar to those found in eye moisturisers.

Hence, people who have normal to oily skin and who do not have extremely dry skin around the eyes could get away with using facial moisturisers for the eye area.

However, the skin around the eyes is extremely thin, and prone to puffiness or allergies.

Some people who are more sensitive could thus develop problems such as itchiness or irritation from the stronger chemicals that might be present in facial moisturisers.

Eye moisturisers are usually formulated to be a little milder and less irritating to the skin. They might also contain more emollients, because the skin around the eyes is usually drier.

Some eye creams could even contain more collagen-boosting products such as retinol - a derivative of vitamin C that acts as an antioxidant to help combat wrinkles - or calendula, which is said to help reduce puffiness.

GET ENOUGH SHUT-EYE

Eyebags might be inherited, so there is nothing you can do to prevent them. Generally, they arise from fat protrusion around the eyeballs due to the laxity of the supporting tissues, which weaken with age.

Lack of sleep does not cause eyebags, but it can accentuate them because of water retention, which causes puffiness around the eyes.

If you get too little sleep, your body does not have enough time to clear the water build-up in that area, which leads to puffiness there when you wake up.

BE GENTLE WITH YOUR EYES

The constant lifting of the eyelids when you insert or remove contact lenses can cause droopy lids in the long run, so be gentle while doing it.

Likewise, avoid excessive rubbing of the eyes as this can cause the skin around the eyes to sag.

Joan Chew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2016, with the headline 'Keep a close eye on your eyes'. Print Edition | Subscribe