Our eyes can say a lot about us, and statistics show that most of us focus on other people's eye contours when communicating. Therefore, keeping our eyes in peak condition is essential to improving not just our overall appearance, but also first impressions.
That's not always an easy task, especially for men whose skin tends to show signs of ageing later than that of women. "Men don't show signs of ageing until their 30s. Then, look out - loss of firmness, lines and wrinkles suddenly appear," says Priscilla Pun, education manager of Clinique Hong Kong.
According to John Ho, brand manager of skincare company Biotherm, the pace of ageing also accelerates much faster in men compared with women in their 40s due to various factors.
"Skin around the eyes is particularly thin and subject to more external attacks, such as rubbing and dust. As we get older, our skin becomes thinner, drier and less elastic, owing to the slowdown in skin-cell regeneration," he says. "While fatigue is often seen as the key reason for dark circles, they can also be caused by a mix of other factors like emotional stress, pigmentation irregularities and UV exposure."
Gemmy Chow, training manager for Shiseido, adds: "The skin around the eye is one-third finer compared to the rest of the face. Normally, we blink more than 20,000 times a day, and that's why ageing problems appear earlier around the eyes. Skin ageing normally occurs when men hit the age of 25, but with a fast-paced lifestyle and unhealthy diet, skin can easily worsen even before that."
Pun also points to lack of sleep and long hours squinting at the computer as causes of wrinkles and dark circles.
So what can men do to remedy, or at least postpone, the ageing process? "On the first signs of ageing, men should take immediate measures to restore the vitality of [the eye area's] vulnerable skin," says Pun, who recommends Clinique's all-in-one eye cream, Skin Supplies for Men Age Defense for Eyes.
"Men who want to slow down ageing should complement their skincare routine with an anti-ageing serum, face cream and eye cream," Ho suggests. "Anti-ageing eye products can stimulate the construction of new cells and smooth the skin surface to combat wrinkles. To address dark circles, apply eye products with micro-circulation technology to normalise drainage around the eyes."
An array of eye-care products is available for men. ClarinsMen's Anti-Fatigue Eye Serum deflates puffiness, reduces dark circles, smooths fine lines and tightens eye contours. The fresh matte finish helps minimise the look of fatigue so the eyes look rested and relaxed. In addition, its Line-Control Eye Balm is designed to tackle deep crevices around the eyes. With extract of paracress and maritime pine, it targets puffiness and lifts the overall look.
Biotherm Homme's Force Supreme Total Anti-Aging Eye Care contains extract of Japanese cedar bud, plankton and Pro-Xylane to restore moisture and firm the eye area. "Ingredients like peptides, retinol and ceramides can be found in many anti-ageing products," Ho says. "As skin science and technology improve, we are also seeing more advanced ingredients, such as Pro-Xylane and sirtuins which have brought skin-cell regeneration to the next level.
"While most women recognise their first signs of ageing around their eyes and start using anti-ageing eye cream at an early age, a lot of men do not see fine lines as a threat, or even appreciate them as a hint of charisma. They will probably regret when those lines turn into wrinkles and become much harder to tackle. This can be prevented if eye cream is included in their skincare routine sooner."
Biotherm Homme's Age Fitness eye cream is another product dedicated to smoothing fine lines. Containing a pure concentrate of olive leaf and olive wax, the cream repairs wrinkles and energises the eye area.
Shiseido Men's Skin Empowering Cream consists of three replenishing ingredients - Carnosine DP, beech bud extract and argan wood. It helps improve skin power and tighten pores, while stress-relieving fragrances calm nerves.
Also by Shiseido Men is the Eye Soother, a cooling gel designed to restore vitality to skin aged by the environment, computer strain or insufficient hydration. With derivatives of vitamins C and E, it reduces signs of fatigue such as dark circles and fine lines.
Clinique also uses vitamins C and E in its Skin Supplies for Men Age Defense for Eyes to provide free-radical protection while whey protein and peptides promote collagen production.
"Men should apply the right anti-ageing tools, such as serum and eye cream, that build the skin barrier and contain soothing antioxidants that protect against future damage and slow down the [ageing] process," Pun says.
Other options include Giorgio Armani Skin Minerals for Men's new Eye Master, a light gel that targets wrinkles, bags and dark circles.
With the demand for men's grooming products booming over the past decade, it's never been easier to treat ageing or problem skin. Eye care products, in particular, are very popular among men, thanks to the visible impact they have on overall appearance.
"Men nowadays are more reliant on grooming products and services to improve their appearance for satisfying both their personal and professional needs," Ho says.
"As their awareness increases, the demand for grooming products has expanded from
basic skincare to specialties such as BB cream for skin tone correction and anti-ageing serum for deep repair."