Ever wonder why there are so many skin issues on your face and around your eyes? The skin around your eyes is very different from the skin on your arms or back. You might not be surprised to learn that your eye skin is one of the thinnest and, therefore, most fragile and sensitive areas of skin.
Eye skincare, in addition to regular facial care, is important to consider. And it’s especially true if you are older or spending too much time outside. But even if the former is not the case, it’s never too early to begin taking care of your eyes.
Why Eye Skincare Matters
When we refer to “eye skincare,” we’re talking about the skin right below the eyes and the eyelids. Between dark circles, aging lines, puffiness, redness, or other irritation, almost everyone will experience a skin issue around their eyes during their life.
While eye skincare issues are normal and often go away in time, it’s still best to take extra care of your eye skin. Today, we are going to give you some must-know recommendations for general eye skincare and tips to help combat any problem you might experience.
There are countless over-the-counter eye skincare treatments and dermatologist solutions out there. While a healthy diet and lifestyle go a long way when it comes to keeping skin radiant and youthful, this article will cover the basics so you can begin your skincare journey confidently.
The foundations of skincare include ingredients, product type, and then your specific skincare concern (lines, puffiness, and dark circles, for example). We will take you through the basics of these basic pillars of eye skincare, and then you’ll be on your way to taking charge of your skincare!
What To Look For In Products For Eye Skincare
With countless products and options for eye skincare in every drug store, where does one start choosing the best products for eye skincare? Let’s begin by covering some of the basics. Later, we’ll dive into treating specific issues. To start, we will cover some things we think everyone with eyes should know.
Firstly, always keep your eyes’ skin clean. Again, it is one of the most sensitive parts of your skin, so you can’t just ignore it. This just can’t be said enough: remove your makeup carefully before you sleep!
Most people use the same products on their eye skin as they would for the rest of their faces. While it would be great if you could treat your eye skin with the same moisturizers and other products as the rest of your face, you just can’t.
There are fewer sebaceous glands on the skin surrounding your eyes. General facial products that contain retinoids can be too strong, irritating the eyelids and under-eye skin. Products designed specifically for eye skincare will have a lower concentration of retinol.
For the majority of people, the following ingredients are important to look for in eye skin-care products. But if you have extra sensitive skin or are particularly prone to acne and other serious skin issues, then you should consult a dermatologist before using these ingredients:
- Hyaluronic acid: Also called “hyaluronan,” hyaluronic acid is a common ingredient in many skin care products. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced in our skin, eyes, connective tissue, and joints. The substance works to hydrate and gives structure to these parts of our body because it helps retain water. Its skin-hydrating qualities are overall beneficial but particularly aid in keeping skin smooth and supple while preventing wrinkles.
- Vitamin C: Also known as “citric acid,” Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps your body repair itself by encouraging your skin to grow special proteins called collagen that effectively promote elasticity and eliminates wrinkles. Beyond anti-aging effects, Vitamin C can promote overall skin health by impeding environmental skin damage. It can also inhibit excess melanin production, meaning it can help even skin tone from hyperpigmentation due to acne scarring or other dark spots without affecting normal pigmentation.
- Vitamin E: also called tocopherol, is another antioxidant that supports the immune system. But as we age, our natural production of Vitamin e decreases. This is why incorporating Vitamin e into a skincare routine is a great choice for many. Similar to Vitamin C, this vitamin also helps fight off day-to-day skin stressors. Its anti-inflammatory properties aid in anti-aging functions as well.
- Vitamin B3: also called niacinamide, is another important vitamin. This antioxidant is extremely beneficial for general skincare. Just like the other antioxidants, niacinamide strengthens the skin against environmental stressors. It also reduces signs of aging and keeps the skin hydrated. Because of its ability to restore and repair cells, vitamin b3 has a strong reputation for giving skin a youthful glow. It can also treat acne and reduce uneven pigmentation.
- Polyphenol: Polyphenol is beneficial for unclogging pores and reducing aging. Specifically, when it comes to eye skincare, the additional benefits of polyphenol include its power to constrict blood vessels. For those struggling with puffiness and eye bags, polyphenol’s ability to tighten skin can feel a lot like magic.
These ingredients should not be used in isolation but rather in combination with each other. Experiment and find out what combinations work best for you.
How To Pick The Best Products For Eye Skincare
Now that we have covered the basics for ingredients your eye skin needs, let’s dive into understanding different eye skincare products. Having established that eye skincare is a bit different from the rest of your body, including the rest of your face, you may be wondering, what even are eye skincare products specifically?
Broadly speaking, there are three different kinds of eye skincare products:
Typically, choosing an eye skincare product is less of an ordeal than finding the right facial skin care products, as eye skincare does not have quite the range of variation and issues.
Eye skincare is more of a matter of desired results and personal preferences. We’ll give a quick breakdown of each of these variations for you:
Eye Creams, Eye Gels, and Eye Serums
The first thing you should know about eye skincare products is that there are different ways to apply them. Many people benefit from having both a cream and a gel or incorporate all three into their routine. Specific brands may even create multiple products to work together for the best possible results. It is important to do your research and understand your own skin as you are working on your eye skincare journey.
Eye cream is thick in texture and penetrates deep into the skin to nourish and hydrate. Most eye creams should be applied before bed and worn overnight. Eye creams have moisturizing benefits great for almost everyone regardless of age and skincare needs.
Advantages of Eye Creams:
- Great for dry skin, a good moisturizer that is hydrating and nourishing.
- Some sort of moisturizer is essential for general eye skincare upkeep.
- Although you may find a gel or serum that gives the moisturizing benefits your skin needs, you probably will need some sort of cream in addition to other products to keep your eye skin well hydrated.
Disadvantages of Eye Creams:
- Your run-of-the-mill eye cream may not be the top choice if you are trying to combat a specific issue, as eye cream is more of a moisturizer addressing surface-level skin issues.
- The heavier, thicker texture may be uncomfortable for some, hence why eye creams are usually worn at night.
Gels are cool, light, and refreshing products to apply to your under-eye. For those dealing with puffiness or needing something to help wake up their eyes, gels are the ideal choice. Gels may have many benefits, but the primary uses for gel are brightening and depuffing. Most gels should be worn during the day.
Advantages of Eye Gels:
- Lighter quality makes gels best for those struggling with eye puffiness.
- The lighter texture makes gels a great choice to wear underneath makeup.
Disadvantages of Eye Gels:
- Most eye gels are a bit more limited in that they address puffiness and brightness around the eyes, but they may not be best for preventing or combatting wrinkles.
Eye serums represent the most target-specific option. For those who know exactly what results and ingredients they want to use for solving their skincare goals, serums offer direct and often more timely results than a gel or cream. Eye serums are definitely what you want if you are repairing or fixing a specific skin problem rather than taking preventative measures. Most eye serums are not a daily product, unlike gels and creams.
Advantages of Eye Serums:
- Serums are typically formulated to treat specific issues like crow’s feet and other lines.
- Serums absorb much more deeply into the skin than creams and gels, activating deeper results. Creams and gels are more about providing surface-level skin issues.
Disadvantages of Eye Serums:
- Often a bit more expensive and not as readily available or popular as creams and gels.
- You probably will still need an additional moisturizer product to keep your eye skin hydrated. Serums are typically not a daily application product.
In a way, choosing a cream, gel, or serum depends on what your skin has and what you are expecting them to do. While creams work great most of the time, gels can feel much more comfortable to use instead. On the other hand, eye serums are the best in what they do, if only they weren’t so expensive.
Choosing The Right Product
When choosing a product, you should check what its label says it’s for. For instance, some products aim to moisturize the skin. Those that claim they do this focus on moisturization more than aging prevention.
On the other hand, others focus on the latter while taking a long time to remove dark circles and puffiness. The trick here is finding out what your skin needs — and not just an all-in-one eye skincare product.
For us, choosing the best eye skincare product was a multi-tiered approach. We wanted to make sure the product addresses the fine lines and wrinkles and helps moisturize and smooth the delicate areas surrounding the orbital bone.
Typically, eye skin care products aim to solve four things:
- Dark circle removal
- puffiness removal
Many products can do more than one of these, mostly because their active ingredients can do that. There are also some products that claim to do all of these. Usually, they are either incredibly expensive or work great for preventing problems in the first place.
For us, we wanted something that would tackle all four of these major issues that we face as we mature. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t be afraid of doing routines using different products. But with that said, you should give your skin some time to absorb each product before applying another.
While eye skincare products seldomly cancel each other out, your skin still needs some time to absorb the ingredients. And while light tapping helps the rest of your body during your general skincare ritual faster, your eyes are too small and the skin too thin for that.
Our Favorites for General Use, Hydration, and Aging Prevention
Whether you are planning to try new products on a tight budget or planning to keep more stuff in a tight travel bag, you should always have these that could practically do it all for the perfect prevention routine.
D.E.J. Revision Eye Creme
D.E.J. Revision Eye Creme strengthens the eye skin using several natural ingredients that are readily absorbed by the body.
- Contains Vitamin C, goji water, and cucumber fruit water
- Specifically known to deal with wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles
- Helps fight against dryness
- Comes in an easy-to-pump bottle
- Can get quite expensive
- Takes some time to get absorbed
- Smears makeup if applied right away
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado is a cheaper but still highly-rated option for those starting in the eye skincare treatment game.
- High-quality eye cream for an affordable price
- Best for sensitive skin
- Leaves a shiny layer for a short while
- Can get a little harder to apply
Christian Dior Capture Youth Age-Delay Advanced Eye Treatment
Christian Dior Capture Youth Age-Delay Advanced Eye Treatment is a fantastic serum that brightens the skin and does a fantastic job addressing puffiness and dark circles.
- Specialized for aging skin
- Dries quickly
- Beginners might find it difficult to apply the serum
Best Picks for Anti-Aging and Wrinkles
So maybe you are looking for something else that’s best at making your skin look supple and younger. Fret not, these are so good that they can make anyone in their nineties look like they’re nineteen again (or we could hope!).
RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Anti Aging Retinol Eye Cream
RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Anti Aging Retinol Eye Cream is a gentle but powerful moisturizer for countering the effects of aging.
- Contains hyaluronic acid and Vitamin A
- Made from hypoallergenic materials
- Takes some time of regular use before having any noticeable effect
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex is the premium choice if you want more anti-aging power.
- Doubles as a sunscreen
- Best choice if you are regularly going outdoors
- Perfect for fighting against crow’s feet
- Can get really expensive
Favorites Helpers For Dark Circles
Be it a week of partying or a series of extra work; there will be times when you can’t just get enough sleep. And when dark circles form on your eyes because of this, here are the best ones for getting yourself cleared of dark circles:
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème is not actually made with bananas, but it’s still good enough to make you go bananas over its effectiveness.
- Contains Vitamin C
- Yellowish tint doubles as a concealer
- Tones dark circles
- Helps against excessive pigmentation
- Has a nice scent
- Does not contain bananas at all
- Can feel a little greasy
- Some people might not like the scent
SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel
SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel is a premium product that uses a combination of antioxidants that improve pigmentation, prevent sun damage, and helps the eyes look bright, awake, and youthful.
- Works rapidly for reducing drooping and pigmentation
- Has the scent of almonds
- Only needs a small amount to work
- Comes in a small bottle
- Really expensive
- Some people might not like the smell
Our Favorite Picks for Puffiness
Whether it’s age, sleep deprivation, or a fancy combination of both, puffy eyes can make your eyes look, well, puffy. Good thing we’ve got the best products for puffy eye skin.
SkinBetter Instant Effect Gel
SkinBetter Instant Effect Gel refreshes the skin under your eyes in an instant, making you look fresh and refreshed even though you didn’t feel like you had a good night’s sleep.
- Uses caffeine to wake your skin up
- Consistent use gives lasting results
- Lies on the expensive end of its price range
Kiehl’s Eye Fuel
Kiehl’s Eye Fuel literally works to fuel your thin, sensitive eye skin and leave it glowing without using parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
- Removes darkness over time
- Cheaper price
- Takes some time and consistent use to work properly
Important Safety Tips for Using Eye Creams
Investing in eye skincare and ensuring your under-eyes stay healthy with the perfect products is an important step. However, there are some general safety practices we would like to mention to best take care of one of the most sensitive parts of your body.
Always check the ingredients of the products you are using. Eye skincare products will have distinctly fewer ingredients as eye skin is much more prone to irritation. Make sure your products include antioxidants and other natural ingredients that sound like they belong in your body.
You should also be always gentle when removing makeup and applying products. Should your eye sting, water, or begin looking reddish, stop what you are doing, flush out the eye with water, and give your eyes a break. If any issues persist, talk to a dermatologist. Do not forget that this is the thinnest area of skin, so it needs special treatment.
Question: How do I treat the skin around my eyes?
Answer: The skin just around your eyes is thin and is quite sensitive. It’s also very prone to wrinkles, pigmentation, and irritation. For best care and anti-aging prevention, treat the skin around your eyes differently than you would the rest of your face.
Having separate eye skincare products with fewer ingredients created specifically for the skin around your eyes is extremely important.
Do not neglect to use sun protection with a product that is gentle on the skin around your eyes. Apply products with your fingers to ensure gentleness and precision so you can fully protect the skin around your eyes from sun damage. Similarly, always carefully and intentionally remove your makeup thoroughly around your eyes.
Using UV-blocking eyewear (such as sunglasses or your everyday ophthalmic eyeglasses) can also help protect your eye area, as well.
Question: When should I start using anti-aging products?
Answer: There is no wrong time to start using anti-aging products. Consider focusing on prevention and developing good skincare habits early on is much easier and more effective than trying to combat and cure issues that have already developed, so we recommend people begin an eye skincare routine as young as their 20s.
Most skincare issues result from sun exposure, and it is good practice to at the very least apply sunscreen or other facial products at least 15 minutes before going out. Even on cold days when you may not get a sunburn, sun exposure still negatively affects your skin. In addition, keeping well-hydrated, a healthy diet, avoiding smoking are all excellent practices to keep your skin young.
Question: Is knowing my skin type important for eye skincare?
Answer: When it comes to facial products and keeping your face healthy and glowing, it is important to know whether your skin is normal, oily, dry, or sensitive. However, when it comes to eye skincare, your skin type most likely is not as relevant.
Many eye skincare products will not be targeted to different skin types. Instead, they will be marketed to specific skin issues such as aging lines, puffiness, and dark circles.
The only exception is certain eye creams may claim to be compatible with certain skin types. Some will find it helpful to have an eye cream that works with their skin type but take note that your eye skin will probably be much drier or less oily than the rest of your face.
Question: Is there an eye cream that actually works? I’ve tried several products and am still not satisfied.
Answer: Unfortunately, skincare is complicated, as everyone’s genetics and different environmental stressors create unique situations. We recommend you try different combinations of products and ingredients as listed above.
However, there may not be the perfect product or combination of products for you. Do not underestimate the effects of a poor diet, dehydration, or other unhealthy lifestyle choices such as lack of sleep, excessive smoking, or alcohol use.
It is important to remember that skin issues do not occur overnight, so skin solutions will not happen overnight either. Usually, one will not see results until 4-12 weeks of daily use. However, if you have stuck to several different routines for this amount of time and live a healthy lifestyle, it might be time to talk to a dermatologist.
Not only can a dermatologist recommend specific ingredients, but they may also offer more complex solutions that you can’t just do by yourself, such as hyaluronic acid fillers, laser treatment, or surgery.
Question: Is an eye cream or an eye serum better for me?
Answer: For choosing a cream, gel, or serum, there is no such thing as “better.” The best product depends on your skincare goals and personal preferences. The texture of each product varies in terms of thickness and water levels. Many people have their preferences with what feels comfortable near their eyes.
Often people like to use multiple products on their eyes.
Creams are typically used at night, gels during the day, and serums just a couple of times a week to work on a specific issue. Most people could benefit from using multiple eye care products. Consider also the ingredients in your eye care products. Make sure you are getting a variety of antioxidants and nutrients to nourish and moisturize your eye skin.
Our Final Thoughts: Best Eye Skincare Treatments
Countless products and brands are promising beautiful, flawless skin. It can be understandably confusing and overwhelming to choose and research eye skincare.
And truthfully, many products won’t work. This is not a scam per se, but rather a reflection that everyone’s skin is unique and not everyone has the same skincare goals. We gave our best recommendations to give you some direction on your skincare journey, but know it will most likely take some trial and error before finding the right ingredients, products, and combinations that work best for you.
That said, our favorite from this list would have to be Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. Between its relatively affordable price point and its known benefits, in addition to its loyal following and glowing reviews, it’s a clear winner in our books!
At the end of the day, everyone’s skincare routine will look a little different. But a healthy diet, moisturizers, sun protection, and regular application of antioxidants are essential parts of any skincare treatment. It’s never too early to begin, and never too late to find solutions to eye skincare issues, either.