How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tender Skin Under My Eyes: A Stomach Sleeper’s Story

I’ve been a stomach sleeper all my life. Basically, when it’s time for sleep I just whale-flop onto my bed and extend my arms above my head like I’m waiting for a police officer to draw a chalk outline around me. Let me tell you, this is high-impact sleeping, at least when it comes to face creases. No big deal when I was 8 years old and my face was like the taut fabric of a trampoline. Now, however, on the mornings when I actually feel the most rested, I look like I spent the night in the garbage compactor on the Death Star, a deep fault line running from the corner of my right eye to the side of my right nostril.

It was this intense crease line that first galvanized me to experiment with undereye treatments. In the beginning, I made all the typical mistakes guys make with this stuff: I put on way too much (you only need about half a watermelon seed-worth for each eye), I slathered instead of gently patting (the ring finger works best for light dabbing because it’s the weakest), and I didn’t use anything consistently, which is what you need to see long term results.

After a few months of experimenting, I’ve got my routine down. For “rough night” triage, I usually reach for caffeine-packed stuff like Kiehl’s Eye De-Puffer (especially satisfying to apply for a former high school baseball player who loves eye black) or Kiehl’s Eye Alert, but for a long-term wrinkle-fighting treatment I’m finding StriVectin really effective for extrafine lines—as well as the single big one my sleep habits have wrought. I’m only a week into the regimen, and even though it’s supposed to take two to eight weeks to notice a difference, already my right eye is looking significantly less earthquake-ravaged in the mornings.

Best of all is the psychological effect of twice-daily application: Putting on eye cream before bed has the same effect as all those fancy apps and bracelets that track and record the quality of your sleep. It reminds me to stop rubbing my eyes, preventing me from breaking tons of blood vessels in the process, and it incentivizes a good night’s sleep—in proper mummy position.

Photo: NBC

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