What does the latest science tell us about caring for the skin around the eyes?

What does the latest science tell us about caring for the skin around the eyes?

Fine lines, "crows-feet", dark circles, sagging - is there a way to slow down or reverse signs of ageing around the eyes?

Delicate Skin

We have written before about the special nature of the skin around the eyes and why it needs to be treated differently - read the full blog here. In a nutshell, the skin around our eyes has a thinner dermis and epidermis than elsewhere on our bodies, with a correspondingly thinner layer of collagen and elastin.

Further, the skin around the outer corners of the eyes has no sebaceous glands - and it is believed that the absence of sebum production in this area makes it more prone to wrinkle formation (1). For these reasons, the skin around our eyes shows signs of ageing before other areas of our body. 

We've taken a look at the latest science to find out how we can protect this delicate area and keep it looking healthy and youthful well into old age.

The do’s and don’ts of caring for skin around the eyes

(1) Protect your eyes from ultraviolet light.

Over-exposure to UV light is the primary cause of accelerated ageing of our skin. It results in chronic inflammation, known as ‘inflammageing’, that depletes collagen and damages other structures in our skin (read more in our blog here). In the eye region we have less collagen to lose, and so protecting our eyes from UV light by wearing sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen is probably the most effective way to protect this delicate area.

(2) Ensure your skin care products and your diet are rich in antioxidants.

UV light triggers the formation of free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species, which then damage collagen and other structures in our skin. Some of this damage can be neutralised by antioxidants that are found naturally in many plants. Free radical damage can be limited by taking in high levels of antioxidants in our food, and by applying antioxidant-rich skin care (4).

(3) Keep the skin well moisturised. 

Because the outer corners of our eyes lack sebaceous glands, we should regularly apply a well-formulated, non-irritating, highly nutritious moisturiser to this area. We believe that a nutrient-rich oil or light-weight synthetic-free cream is ideal - they don’t contain preservatives that can upset the skin’s microbiome, or emulsifiers that can damage the skin’s barrier.

(4) Avoid products containing fragrances, essential oils and other irritants.

Because the skin around the eyes is so thin, it is easier for allergens and irritants to set off an inflammatory reaction. The most common allergens in skin care products are preservatives, fragrances and emulsifiers (5), and so for many people, fragrance-free, synthetic-free skin care is the best option. Chronic inflammation in the skin from any cause, whether from allergens or from overexposure to UV light, damages collagen and elastin, accelerating the ageing process (3).

(5) Boost collagen with Bakuchiol-containing products.

Bakuchiol is known to be as effective as retinol at reversing some of the effects of ageing, but with less irritating side-effects (6). Both bakuchiol and retinol boost levels of collagen in the skin and have some anti-inflammatory benefits. However, a recent study showed that bakuchiol also has potent antioxidant effects - lacking in retinol. Bakuchiol was also found to boost regeneration of the epidermis and increase levels of a growth factor that stimulates proliferation of collagen-producing cells in the dermis. This suggests that bakuchiol’s anti-ageing benefits may be more  wide-ranging than those of retinol (7).

(6) Avoid using highly occlusive products.

Some believe that application of heavy, occlusive products applied to the eye area can result in the formation of milia. Milia are tiny raised white lumps cause by entrapment of keratin in hair follicles or sweat glands (2).

Which Mokosh products do you recommend for the eye area?

Our Serums are ideal for use both on the face and on the delicate skin around the eye. All our serums are free from the ingredients you should avoid in this area: added fragrances and essential oils, preservatives, emulsifiers and synthetic ingredients. They also contain abundant essential fatty acids that restore and maintain the skin’s barrier, leaving the skin soft, supple and well hydrated. Finally, they are rich in the antioxidants that neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals.

For oily and combination skins, we recommend the Elderberry & Chia Seed Beauty Serum, and for normal, dry and mature skin types, we suggest Raspberry & Pomegranate Serum. Our Bakuchiol Revival Serum is suitable for all skin types and is recommended for use in the eye area once daily - many people prefer to use it as part of their night time routine.

Although our products rarely cause skin reactions, it is important to remember that any ingredient, whether natural or synthetic, has the potential to be an irritant.  To be on the safe side, we recommend patch-testing on the inside of the forearm before using on the face for the first time.


(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26133537/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560481/

(3) https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/6/1/6

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098906/#:~:text=Phenolic%20compounds%2C%20ascorbic%20acid%20and,influencing%20several%20survival%20signalling%20pathways.

(5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3421728/

(6) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29947134/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328396/

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