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How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

Sunscreen for eyes: How to protect your delicate skin from UV rays

Protecting the area around your eyes from sun damage and photoaging is important—and it’s easy, too.

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Curology Team
Sep 07, 2022 · 6 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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Protecting your skin from the sun is your best bet to help prevent premature signs of aging and skin cancer. The skin around your eyes is more sensitive than other areas of the face and body, and it’s often one of the first areas to show fine lines and wrinkles. That’s why sunscreen for your eyes is so important and should be part of your daily eye care routine.

Sun damage is an extrinsic factor in skin aging—meaning it’s something you can control. On the flip side are intrinsic factors, which include genetics, hormones, and the normal process of aging.¹ You can’t fight these natural forces that lead to signs of aging, but you can slow the process with the help of good sun protection. 

The importance of protecting the skin around your eyes

The delicate eye area is more sensitive than other parts of your face. It’s where many people often begin to first notice signs of aging, like fine lines, dark spots, and crow’s feet. A good eye cream is a moisturizer (or other treatment) formulated specifically for the eye area, including your eyelids. 

Depending on the specific ingredients, using an eye cream may help: 

  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

  • Minimize puffiness

  • Reduce the appearance of dark circles

  • Hydrate skin

  • Even out skin tone

  • Protect delicate skin

  • Soothe and refresh tired eyes 

  • Prepare your skin for makeup

Here are some great anti-aging eye creams we recommend.

Using eye cream with SPF? Definitely a ‘yes’

There are three types of UV radiation, but only two of them are known to cause damage to our skin: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA is longer and primarily associated with skin aging, while UVB is shorter and mainly associated with skin burning. They have different effects on our skin, but both can damage our skin cells² —especially the sensitive skin around your eyes. 

Only sunscreen labeled as broad-spectrum protects against both UVA and UVB rays.³ The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least SPF 30,⁴ but you can get extra protection by layering sun-protective eye cream containing SPF protection. Anyway, you look at it, eye creams with SPF can make an excellent addition to your daily skincare routine. 

Some of the best eye creams with SPF

Most face sunscreens are safe to apply around the eyes (including the sunscreen by Curology), but if you’re looking for something with sun protection that’s also designed specifically for sensitive eye skin, we recommend trying any of these: 

Just in case you don’t already have a facial sunscreen, here are our choices for oily skin, dry skin, and under $20. Remember, no matter your skin type, the best sunscreen for you is a sunscreen you actually like to wear! 

Sunscreen for eye and anti-aging 

Sunscreen is your skin’s best defense against premature aging. Because many of us don’t cover our faces or wear wide-brimmed hats every time we go outside, we need to be diligent about sunscreen. The sun is responsible for about 90% of visible aging, especially in those with lighter skin tones.⁵ 

Use a dab of sunscreen for eyes about the size of a pea. Lightly tap it around your eyes until it’s well-blended. Apply sunscreen after you moisturize and before eye makeup. For optimal results, let it soak in for a minute. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going into the sun,⁶ so it has time to work its magic. Reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.  

Chemical sunscreens around the eyes

When it comes to sunscreen, you can choose a chemical or mineral sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone that work by absorbing UV rays. Technically, they can be used around the eyes, but if you have sensitive skin or notice irritation with chemical sunscreen, they might not be your best option. Instead, look for ingredients that don’t tend to irritate the skin, like those often found in mineral sunscreens (aka physical sunscreens). 

Mineral sunscreens are generally considered less likely to irritate sensitive skin.⁷ They use natural ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block the sun’s rays. 

Of course, you can always use an eye cream with SPF like any of those mentioned above. 

Use it every day!

man putting sunscreen on his arms

Sunscreen that you actually use every day, no matter the season, is your best defense against sun damage. Just like you would when shopping for a face and body sunscreen, look for an eye cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher. Remember, it’s estimated that 90% of visible aging comes from the sun. Eye creams with SPF may be formulated with ingredients like antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, while also protecting you from sun damage from UV rays.

Sunscreen by Curology

Curology Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 No White Cast

The sunscreen by Curology is 100% mineral-based grease-free sunscreen that won’t leave a white cast on your skin (blend well!) or clog your pores. Developed and tested by dermatologists, our sunscreen was formulated specifically with acne-prone skin in mind but works with all skin types. Its silky texture makes application a breeze—even for the sensitive skin around the eyes. We use zinc oxide to block UV rays and protect you from the sun. The SPF 30 sunscreen is formulated to work synergistically with Curology products and can be used daily as part of your skincare routine.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Subject to consultation. 30-day trial. Just cover $4.95 in S&H.
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For new members, sign up for a 30-day trial and add the sunscreen to your order for free (you just cover $4.95 for shipping). Existing members can add sunscreen to their plan for $14 (tax will apply where applicable).

FAQs

Using eye cream with SPF? Definitely a ‘yes’

There are three types of UV radiation, but only two of them are known to cause damage to our skin: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Only sunscreen labeled as broad-spectrum protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least SPF 30.

Why is it important to protect the skin around your eyes

The delicate eye area is more sensitive than other parts of your face. It’s where many people often begin to first notice signs of aging, like fine lines, dark spots, and crow’s feet. using an eye cream may help in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimize puffiness, reduce the appearance of dark circles, hydrate skin, even out skin tone, protect delicate skin, soothe and refresh tired eyes, and prepare your skin for makeup.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Farage, M.A., et al. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: A review.International Journal of Cosmetic Science. (April 2008).

  2. Dale Wilson, B., et al. (2012). Comprehensive review of ultraviolet radiation and the current status on sunscreens. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology.  (2012).

  3. Food and Drug Administration. Sunscreen: How to help protect your skin from the sun. (2021, November 8).

  4. American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQs. (n.d.).

  5. Farage, M.A., et al. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: A review. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. (April 2008).

  6. Wang, S.Q., et al. Current status of the sunscreen regulation in the United States: 2011 Food and Drug Administration's final rule on labeling and effectiveness testing. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (October 2011).

  7. Skin Cancer Foundation. Ask the expert: Can you safely use sunscreen around your eyes? If so, what kind would be best? (2018, September 6).

Sunscreen cannot prevent all harm from UV rays. UV radiation from the sun, even while using this product, can still be harmful.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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