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A simple skin care routine each morning and night can treat existing dry skin and help prevent it from developing into a chronic issue. You might also avoid harsh products, excessively hot water, and rubbing your eyes roughly.

Dry skin is no fun no matter where it crops up, but when it’s under your eyes it can be especially bothersome. If you’re noticing tight or flaky skin beneath your eyes, read up on why it’s happening, and which treatments you can try for healing and prevention.

The skin in your eye area is thinner and more delicate than on other parts of the body (think the soles of your feet). That means it isn’t as able to retain moisture and is more susceptible to drying out. The tricky part is often identifying what exactly is causing the skin beneath your eyes to become dry. There are many possible culprits.

Not only is it unsightly, dry skin is uncomfortable, too. That flaky skin can quickly become itchy, irritated, cracked, reddened, or even discolored. Chronic dry skin also affects elasticity, which can lead to premature wrinkles (no, thank you). Even worse, skin that’s dry enough to crack can open the door to invading bacteria, which in turn can lead to infections.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to manage dry skin under the eyes, and prevent it from happening again.

Start by simplifying your beauty routine. The right products, along with consistent cleansing and hydrating, can go a long way to combat dryness. Making some simple changes to your diet can make a difference as well.

1. Ditch the harsh products

Step 1: Assess what you’re currently putting on your face and what needs to go.

While the cosmetics industry makes it seem like you need an arsenal of products, that’s not necessarily the case. Overuse, and even overzealous regular use, of facial cleansers and skin products like scrubs, deep cleansers, and peels that contain harsh chemicals or alcohol can seriously dry out your skin. And remember, the skin beneath your eyes is thinner and more sensitive, so it’s much more vulnerable to irritation.

2. Stick to a daily skin care routine

Make a habit of washing your face every day, morning and night. Switch to a mild, soap-free facial cleanser, and use gentle strokes and lukewarm water instead of hot. Find a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer and apply it after patting the skin dry. Lightly dab onto the sensitive eye area.

If you use concealer, look for brands that are hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist recommended. And remember that it’s especially important to remove makeup before going to bed.

3. Reduce stress to your skin

Sometimes we don’t realize all the small ways we’re putting extra stress on our skin, especially those super-sensitive areas. Avoid rubbing beneath your eyes and using overly hot water on your face. Also, make sure to use clean makeup brushes and avoid reapplying under-eye makeup too often. All these things will reduce eye skin stress.

4. Supercharge your diet

Proper hydration is essential for a healthy body, and helps to combat dry skin as well. Aim for a diet of antioxidant-rich foods, including leafy green vegetables, brightly colored fruits, and nuts. Avoid processed foods (skip the chips), drinks (sayonara, soda), and refined carbohydrates (kiss those cakes and cookies bye-bye).

While dry skin beneath the eyes certainly isn’t considered an emergency situation, it is important to manage it, both for your comfort and to avoid potential problems down the road. A simple skin care routine that you can commit to in the morning and at night will treat existing dry skin and help prevent it from developing into a chronic issue. Avoid harsh products, excessively hot water, and rubbing your eyes too roughly. Treat this delicate skin with care, and look for products that are both hypoallergenic and approved by ophthalmologists.

If your dry skin doesn’t improve with home remedies, or you consider it to be severe and notice other symptoms, speak to your doctor. Otherwise, use these pointers to pamper your peepers and keep good eye health in sight!