From the FutureDerm Facebook page:
Can I apply sunscreen around my eyes?
This is a complicated question. Though the active ingredients in sunscreens are some of the few ingredients in skin care products regulated by the F.D.A. in the United States, sunscreens are not required to be tested for use around the eyes. Manufacturers, in turn, play it safe by clearly labeling that their products are not for use around the eye area.
Unfortunately, as you can imagine, the skin around the eyes is susceptible to sun damage. What’s more, the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the face, so UV-induced signs of aging often appear in this region sooner than the rest of the face.[Read more: FutureDerm: How Can I Get Rid of Crow’s Feet?]
Eye Creams with SPF
That said, a few daring manufacturers have produced sunscreen for the gentle eye area, each with a warning not to get the product in your eye. The first is Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 32 ($25.17, amazon.com). It is the highest SPF I have found in an eye cream to date. The product is better as a sunscreen than an eye cream; it is fast-absorbing, moisturizing, and sets well under makeup. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much in the way of treating wrinkles – only preventing them.
The second is LaRoche-Posay Hydraphase UV Eyes SPF 29 ($19.95, amazon.com). LaRoche-Posay took a chance with this one; it is a treatment product, with caffeine to depuff undereye bags and salicyclic acid to refine the undereye skin. Unfortunately, some with sensitive undereye skin may find the octinoxate irritating.
Can Regular Sunscreen Be Used Under the Eyes?
The major issue here is not whether or not you will get sunscreen in your eye. If this occurs, you will experience burning and stinging, and gently rinsing your eye with warm water for 30 seconds should alleviate any problem. I’ve never heard of a case where someone went blind from getting sunscreen in their eye – but it sure is uncomfortable!
That said, the major issue here is finding sunscreen formulas for around the eye that will not cause skin problems. The eye area tends to be more sensitive than the rest of the face, so most eye creams are formulated to be the following:
- 1.) Moisturizing. Many contain humectants to draw in moisture from the environment (examples include glycerin, glycerol, sorbitol, urea, and lactic acid), occlusive agents to lock moisture into the skin (examples include petrolatum, mineral oil, triglycerides, sunflower oil, soybean oil, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil and olive oil), and emollients to soften the skin (examples include cetearyl alcohol, isopropyl myristate, triglyceride, myristic acid, and palmitic acid).
- 2.) Mild. The creams used around the eyes tend to be free of potentially irritating agents such as fragrance and harsh detergents. They also tend to have a moderate pH (i.e., not too acidic or too basic).
What This Means for You
As such, if you do choose to use a regular sunscreen around your eye, it is best to choose one that is moisturizing and designed for sensitive skin, just like an eye cream. One I have heard many great things about is Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 60 for Sensitive Skin, with zinc oxide, hydrating cetyl alcohol, and zero added fragrance.
If you start to notice irritation after using a sunscreen around your eyes, as always, contact your dermatologist and discontinue use immediately.
I hope this helps, Lore (and everyone else)!
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