Sun Care for Eyes

Sun Care for Eyes

Sunscreen for the delicate, wrinkle-prone eye areas is a must, but there are other steps you should take to protect the skin around your eyes and the eye itself. We compiled our best, research-supported tips to keep UV rays from harming your eyes and help prevent visible signs of ageing.

Sun care for eyes begins with facial sunscreen. It must be labeled “broad spectrum,” which means it protects skin from the two main types of UV radiation: UVA rays and UVB rays.

Because the skin around the eyes can be more sensitive, look for sunscreens or for eye creams with sunscreen that contain only the mineral actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Among sunscreen ingredients, these are the least likely to cause stinging, even if they get into the eyes.

Here are more essential steps you can take to protect the skin around the eyes, and the eyes themselves, from direct light:

  • Wear sunglasses year-round, every time you’re outdoors, even if it’s cloudy—UV rays penetrate clouds.
  • Look for sunglasses labeled as providing “100% UV protection” or those that have an E-SPF rating, which measures the amount of protection the lenses provide from UV rays. Sunglasses not only look great, but also protect the eyes from numerous health issues.
  • When shopping for sunglasses, choose a wraparound style. This style protects your eyes and the skin around them from UV light that sneaks in from the sides and top of other sunglass styles.
  • For long days outdoors, especially on sunny days, wear a broad-brimmed hat. There are many fashionable options, and they complement the protection you get from sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Any sunscreen for your face should be fragrance free and loaded with antioxidants. The wide variety of antioxidants found in non-fragrant plant extracts, vitamins, and food ingredients like green tea work in combination with sunscreen to help skin around the eyes look younger and resist further visible signs of ageing.
  • Consider using a concealer with sunscreen. You can apply this, or a gentle, mineral-based facial sunscreen, around the entire eye area, including on the delicate eyelids.
  • Mineral-based sunscreen sticks are a quick and convenient way to reapply sunscreen around the eyes when you’ll be outdoors for more than a couple hours. To avoid tugging at eye-area skin, warm the product on your fingertips first and gently dab it around the eyes—then put those sunglasses back on!
  • Eat foods rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. They’re found in leafy greens like kale and spinach, in orange bell peppers, kiwis, grapes, and zucchini. Research has documented their protective role when eyes are exposed to UV radiation.


References for this information:
Clinical Ophthalmology, Volume 8, 2014, pages 87–104
Nutrients, April 2013, pages 1169–1185
British Journal of Dermatology, November 2011, pages 1011–1021
Indian Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2012, pages 335–342
Mutation Research, November 1998, pages 15–22

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!