May 2016

Understanding Ocular Skin and its Issues

What causes the skin around our eyes to age faster? Why are our eyelids so vulnerable? I look at some of the most important facts and causes in this article.


Historically, our eyes have been one of the defining aspects of individuality, spirit and personality. It is no wonder then that we spend so much time looking out for, and of course, worrying about them. However the popular concern when it comes to our eyes is rarely our vision, but instead the appearance of the skin that holds and expresses our eyes. What factors make this important part of our faces so open to damage? Why has eyelid surgery become such a popular choice in plastic surgery clinics, and a frequent reason for medical tourism? In this article I will explore what I think are some of the most important facts for you to know about if you are concerned about skincare or considering cosmetic surgery regarding your eyes.

The skin around our eyes, referred to as the periocular area or the adnexa, is some of the most precious and delicate skin on the human body. It is ten times thinner than any other skin found on the body as it needs to be supple to allow for frequent movement, making it instantly more susceptible to damage from all things in life. Though we might not think we treat our eyes roughly even things like rubbing your eyes after crying and removing or applying makeup incorrectly can be harsh on your eye area and contribute to sagging or scars. Lots of the damage from touching this area is therefore inadvertent; so taking great care when touching this part of the face is highly advisable, especially if you observe an elaborate skincare or makeup routine.



The delicate nature of the eye area means that from the start it is destined to age faster than other parts of our skin. However it is not just the thinness of the skin and our actions with it that accelerate this, it is the natural movement of the skin itself. It’s easy to forget, but the average person blinks their eyelids 28,800 times a day, and as you are reading this article it is likely that you will have blinked up to 20 times each minute. The periocular is perhaps the busiest part of the body at any time of the day, and the effects of this are unavoidable. Being under the strain of 22 different muscles in the face requires a decent amount of elastin in the skin – a protein in connective tissues that allows skin to return to its normal position after movement. Naturally, the amount of elastin in the tissue of the eye area reduces over time and through frequent use, leading to sagging of under eye and eyelid. In addition to this, constant movement allows for finer as well as deep wrinkles in the area, frequently referred to as crow’s feet.



Surgery on the skin of the eyelid and under eye had proven effective in decreasing the signs of age that come with the strain of muscles and wear of everyday life by removing excess skin or removing built up dead-cells that become harder for the body to naturally remove with age. Some day-to-day treatments that will aid the longevity of the periocular are simple and affordable; stay hydrated and avoid excess sun exposure. Though they may need help along the way, the eyes are an amazing thing and something we must clearly pay special attention to when considering skincare and surgery options.