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Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun and Other Damage

Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun and Other Damage
April 8, 2019 Claire
close up of face

It is such a catch 22 situation isn’t it? We need the sun to provide the vitamins we need for a healthy life, but we also need protecting from the sun to prevent ageing and skin damage. It’s a good job we are in a position where there are just the right products on the market that help do the protecting, but the problem is what product to choose!

Everyone wants a piece of the pie, but the truth is we are all built differently, from our hair to our skin to each and every tiny little eyelash, so when it comes to finding the right balance of allowing the sun to give us a healthy kick as well as shielding ourselves from its harmful rays we have to find out just what is causing the damage, how we can rectify it and what we can do to prevent the damage from starting in the first place. And the only way to do that is to explore all of the options and find just what is right for us.

Positive Effects of the Sun

If you are anything like me, you are a summer baby. I can’t wait for that first ray of spring sunshine to shine its way through my blinds, that initial feeling of stepping out into a cloudless sunny day without a jacket or the feeling of a warm summer’s night sitting on a balcony enjoying the cool breeze brushing over my shoulders. Summer is definitely my season and it brings happiness and a positive feeling of relaxation for a few months, almost like going on a three-month long holiday. So, it brings with it, a massive sense of responsibility in protecting myself, my skin and my hair to make sure I can enjoy the sunny season without worry.

So, being out in the sun isn’t just a mood enhancer, as well as increasing serotonin levels and reducing stress levels, it does have other positive effects. The science behind this is due to the important vitamins the sun triggers in our bodies or provides through its ultra-violet rays. Vitamin D is the most commonly heard of and most important. Vitamin D is important for bone structure and health, hair growth and healthy skin, but only minimal exposure is needed for this, anything further than that actually causes the damage to the skin and hair and cancels out any of the good properties the sun has just openly provided.

Damaging Effects of the Sun

If you think about things you see in the media or on news stories, the list seems almost endless when thinking of the damaging effects of the sun. For a big stress-relieving ball of light in the sky that provides life to everything you see on earth, it sure does know how to ruin our hair and skin!

For starters, we all know about sun burn. I’m sure each and every one of us has experienced that hot, lobster red and tender skin from spending too long in the sun at some point. It is definitely no fun experience. We may even see our hair getting lighter and feel that sun kissed glow to our beachy waves, but in actual fact, it is drying out and removing hydration only leading to breakage and you booking that hair appointment even faster than usual!

Now we all know the sun is responsible for the more severe reactions and medical conditions so it is important to keep the skin protected at all times, even when you don’t think it is too hot outside, the sun has other ideas and it can lead to problems that can be irreversible if not taken care of quickly.

One damaging effect of the sun can be so subtle but so distinctive once you realise. Ageing. As it changes the texture of the skin and reduces elasticity, it can already be too late by the time you realise it has caused this. Our skin is always ageing but excess exposure to the sun’s harmful rays will speed this up and visibly, wrinkles and weaker skin will start to appear. The thing is, it’s our faces and hands that will have constant sun exposure year round, even on a colder but cloudless day, the sun is still there doing its thing. So that’s where you will start to see these ageing effects more on skin around the eyes and mouth as they are most affected as the skin is thinner and therefore more tender. There tends to be less elasticity in these places so the last thing you need is the sun to dry it all out or even burn it.

Causes of Damage to Skin around the Eyes

The skin surrounding our eyes is up to 5 times thinner than the skin on the rest of our face so is more susceptible to damage, it requires more hydration to retain its elasticity and because it is so thin it means damaging effects penetrate easily.

Our eyes are also at risk from the sun, however we have been blessed with eyelashes that have a natural purpose of protecting our eyes from the sun, the elements and dust particles. Eyelashes are fun to enhance, lengthen and volumise but they are also serving an important purpose every single day.

Each day when you think about it, we put our eyes through their paces, the sun is a major factor isn skin elasticity and causes of wrinkles as I have mentioned, but also the fact that our eyes water, or when we cry it is actually causing excess dryness in the long run, it will lead to irritation and puffiness. Now, I know watering eyes is a natural occurrence and our clever bodies find ways of looking after our vital parts, so when our eyes water, it is actually keeping them hydrated, flushing them out from harmful particles and flushing out irritants. Our tears contain certain amounts of sodium or salt and while this is good for our eyes, the skin surrounding them… not so much!

Its actually two-fold, the salt naturally dries out the skin and also by crying we are losing moisture from our body. So, it’s important to put that moisture back in so we don’t see the ageing effects.

Natural Remedies for Skin around the Eyes

There is a reason you see images of people relaxing with cucumber slices over their eyes. Cucumber is so high in water content that by placing the slices carefully with contact to the skin, it helps with hydration, especially after a good old cry! The anti-inflammatory qualities in cucumber also help reduce swelling, puffiness and redness, which we could all do with from time to time!

So, what about coffee? Everyone’s daily stimulant and lifesaver when it comes to a sleepless night and a busy day of work. But it can be used as a natural remedy for the skin around the eyes. Now, you don’t just rub coffee beans on your face and hope for a miracle. You would mix it with something equally soothing like honey after finely grinding it down. It should be more of a lotion and less of a pumice, remember the skin around the eyes is very delicate and is not in dire need of exfoliation.

Coffee has similar antioxidant qualities as cucumber, but aside from that it can help with pigmentation problems and uneven skin tones. It is said to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and let’s face it, who doesn’t love the smell of coffee!

Coconut oil is brilliant for a boost of moisture and is the kind of thing that will help skin in the long run. Those laughter lines around your eyes, the lack of hydration in your skin, the youthful glow that once was… they all see huge improvement with a dash of coconut oil left on the skin overnight and results leave the skin looking healthy and nourished.

As well as being used in natural remedies, cucumber, coffee beans and coconut oils are also used in many skin creams or lotions and cosmetics, known for giving your eyes their healthy and youthful glow again, it is also important to look after the small army of lashes that help protect them.

Remedies for Damaged Eyelashes

Eyelashes face damage from all over. They have a natural growth cycle that lasts between 30 and 45 days during the Anagen phase, which is the period of time the eyelashes start to form in the follicles and grow to their maximum length. The sun has its fair share of responsibility that’s for sure, but eyelashes also face maximum exposure to all elements such as wind, rain and snow. Weather itself shouldn’t cause any immediate damage but it can cause strain.

We also inadvertently treat our eyelashes badly with heavy make-up or mascara use, rigorous cleansing and rubbing. While our eyelashes are in the Catagen phase or transition phase, they are sitting there and ready to enter the Telogen phase or shedding phase. Eyelashes tend to start falling out naturally when new lashes start to form in the follicles, but they will come out more when put under extreme pressure.

This pressure can be as simple as leaving mascara on without removing it at the end of the day, it can be rubbing your eyes when you are tired. Either way it is pressure. If eyelashes have already lost moisture through being exposed to heavy sunlight, then it causes more reason for them to start breaking off or falling out. Hydration is the key to repair and there are many natural remedies that have been used throughout history that are supposed to counteract the pressures and damages eyelashes face daily.

Oils are always a positive. Coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil. But stay away from anything non-natural, or oils you would use to fry your food in! They have a completely different use. But castor oil for example, is great for ridding eyelashes and surrounding skin of impurities and locking in moisture. Castor oil is perfect for bringing out shine and making the lashes look more vibrant.

Not only a healthy remedy and protector of eyelashes, castor and coconut oil are fantastic stimulants of growth in the eyelashes, so why not kill two birds with one stone! If eyelashes react positively to a well carried out beauty regimen, then that means they are healthy and will also therefore grow. The question isn’t “Why?” its is simply “Why not?!” Afterall, our eyelashes are already doing so much to protect our eyes, its about time we started to protect them.

Of course, we have come a long way in creams and serums and remedies to protect our eyelashes. But these days, it is very common for eyelash extensions to adorn eyes everywhere and as long as performed by a trained technician, they shouldn’t cause any harm to the eyelashes while they are in their growth phase. Applying extensions to individual lashes in their shedding phase would pretty much deem them pointless as they would fall off with the eyelash quite quickly. The only thing that could cause real lasting damage is the stress that is put on the eyelash follicles through extra weight. I know, I know, eyelashes weigh nothing to us, but when you think about having the weight of the new lash and the binding glue, it can pull the eyelashes down and weaken the follicles.

I mentioned earlier that oils are good! Well remember this. Oils are not good for extensions. The binding glue does not hold with oils so water-based products are the way forward. Moisturisers and growth serums that contain natural fruit or plant extracts are the exact kind of thing you should be using on your eyelashes as they have stimulating properties and are nourishing at the same time.

Baby shampoos tend to be a better course of action for cleansing or otherwise again water-based eye makeup removers to keep those extensions healthy and in place!

Eyebrows Need Some Attention Too!

All this talk of keeping our eyes healthy and thinking about how they get damaged from the sun and other elements, it’s easy to forget that our eyebrows are there to be protected too and are also fairly more exposed than even our eyelashes.

Eyebrows frame our face and our eyes, they create shape and invite some playfulness in the way that we can change them depending on our mood, a certain event or fashion phase. We’ve plucked them, we’ve tried to grow them out, we’ve tinted them and some of us have even tried tattooing them, so because they sit so prominently on our faces, surely we should be taking care of them too.

Creams and moisturisers we use on our face tend to also land on our eyebrows but they probably weren’t formulated for use on hair so won’t have much impact if any. As far as the sun goes, when we cover our faces in sun protection creams and sprays, they are designed to cover even the patches of skin under our eyebrows as it can be easily missed and then burnt too. Sun burned eyebrows? No thank you! But what about the actual hair on our brows? How do we make sure they are nourished?

Eyebrow hairs tend to thin out with age so adding things that will cause further lasting damage could see us looking quite sparse in the eyebrow department faster than we would like. Serums and home-made lotions containing plant or root extract again will help with the hydration and oils will help with the shine.

But how do we fix sun or element damaged eyebrows? Well Aloe Vera as a natural remedy is just the ticket. Known for its soothing properties, it helps regenerate skin while keeping it cool in the healing process of damage. Sun burn can really affect this area of the face as the skin is so thin, so the best fix for damaged eyebrows is to prevent it in the first place. Trust me on this! Walking around with lobster red brows for the last 3 days of my summer holiday last year, all because I forgot to fully cover my face in sun screen…. Not fun!

Microblading is the ultimate and most time-convenient remedy for thinning eyebrows or loss of shape. A trained technician will talk you through the full process, consult you on the best shape brow for your face and carry out microblading which is sort of like a semi-permanent tattoo in that it is performed with a needle, but far less painful, as far less layers of skin are penetrated. This alone can be a fix for damaged eyebrows but as it is a cosmetic procedure, it too has its health drawbacks and requires extra care, especially during the healing process.

It is quite important with microblading, that the after-care routine as advised by your technician is followed and to keep your brand new eyebrows out of direct heat and sunlight for a couple of weeks. This causes discoloration, increased risk of infection and loss of hydration. As well as the all-important sun burn! Please don’t burn your newly microbladed brows! They cost a few pennies and as I said before, they are right there on your face for all to see. No hat will cover that kind of damage!

Important Vitamins for Eyelash or Eyebrow Health

I’m pretty sure that throughout my life I have been told to take my vitamins and ingest various minerals to keep my body strong and healthy. Sure, I make sure my diet is rich in vitamins, irons and proteins, but I suppose you never really think of the health impact they have on your eyelashes, eyebrows and the surrounding skin of your eyes until one day, you can visibly see they are lacking in the vitamins. The tell-tale signs could be dark circles under the eyes, dry or falling out eyebrows, lack lustre colour or shine or maybe your eyes have just lost a bit of their sparkle.

So, there are products available to help counteract this and contain the right vitamins for the right purpose. Take Vitamin B-3 for example. Widely found in cosmetics for hair, eyelashes and eyebrows as it increased the blood flow to the hair follicle and therefore encouraging growth. You can find this ins, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and various green vegetables, so it doesn’t just have to be an ingredient you look for in a serum, your diet can take care of this for you!

Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that rid your body of inflammation and sources of disease for a healthy environment all round. This is especially important if you have recently undertaken a cosmetic procedure, such as microblading as it helps your body to heal without infection and will help your brows reach their full potential.

Vitamin H is what absorbs the nutrients being fed to your body, so if you have suffered with thinning out lashes and are looking for the vitamin that helps thicken them and give them a new body of life, then Vitamin H is the one you go to.

Serums for Eyelash and Eyebrow Health

I’ve touched on the use of serums and creams, and deservedly so! The best part about an eyelash serum or an eyebrow conditioning serum is that they harness the power of the vitamins that your lashes and brows need to either get stronger, grow stronger or stay stronger. Serums aren’t just for the damaged brows and lashes you know, they pack a mighty punch in ensuring you get the right nutrients to maintain even the most well looked after eyebrows or eyelashes.

Xlash Eyelash Serum for example is a personal favourite of mine. It contains the important B Vitamins needed to maintain healthy and strong lashes as well as natural botanical extracts that work wonders for the follicles and the skin surrounding my lashes. Add to that the fact that they grow faster and thicker than before? Sold!

See there are ways we can look to heal the damage that has been caused through natural lash loss or thinning eyebrows that include seeking out your local natural products and combining them to fashion a serum, or you could buy one ready-made.

Ultimately the choice is yours, but what is the most important thing is learning to protect your brows, lashes and skin surrounding your eyes in the first place!

The sun may be our favourite, and we know we can’t wait to sip cocktails on the beach on our next summer holiday but taking just a few minutes to safeguard our eyes really will save you a whole lot of time trying to reverse the negative effects. Your sparkling eyes will really thank you for it in the end.