Do Eye Creams Really Work?

Updated 8/6/17. One time I was flipping through a magazine when I read a quote from a top beauty editor, “I never use eye cream because I haven’t found one that actually worked.” So it got me thinking. If a top editor at a major publication, who is given lots of free skin care products from beauty brands around the world and who has surely tried many of them is saying this, certainly consumers must be feeling this, too.

Do I really need to use an eye cream? What do they really do?

Let me start by saying that eye creams and other skin care products will not work miracles, even though many cosmetic companies and their salespeople say they do. We are under the impression that eye creams will remove all lines and wrinkles and make the skin under the eyes smooth and youthful again. If you’re using an eye cream thinking it’s a quick fix, unfortunately, I have bad news. More invasive treatments, such as Botox, can dramatically smooth eye wrinkles away. An eye cream, however, simply cannot do this. BUT can eye creams help to prevent wrinkles and keep this area moist and younger-looking? Absolutely yes…

The skin around the eyes is ten times thinner than that of the face, and it has very few oil glands. Plus, we blink 10,000 times a day, squint and smile, so this area is the first to show signs of aging. It’s important to treat this tender area by using an eye cream every single night. Skin cells are like fish–they need water to live–so you need to keep hydration levels up to prevent moisture evaporation. This can lead to premature skin cell death.

For an example of the powerful effects of topical moisturization, I always refer back to a study done on stretch marks in pregnant women. It showed that women who applied lotion to their stomachs several times a day (any kind of lotion, no specific magic ingredient) had fewer stretch marks than those who rarely moisturized. When the skin is hydrated topically, it keeps the skin’s structure intact. This, in turn, keeps it supple so there is less wear and tear. The bottom line–moisturizing definitely works. With regards to the eye area, since this skin is constantly moving from smiling, squinting and rubbing, an eye cream definitely prevents collagen and elasticity breakdown. The result is fewer premature lines and wrinkles.

There have been many breakthroughs in the science of moisture retention. When choosing an eye cream, it’s important to use one that is well-formulated and doesn’t use petrolatum or mineral oil. Instead, choose eye creams that use good emollients and barrier-repairing oils like sunflower or jojoba oils. These natural oils are much better for repairing the skin and preventing trans-epidermal water loss. This keeps the skin moist and supple—the way it should be to prevent visible aging. I recommend that my clients use Total Eye Repair Cream and/or Vitamin C Eye Brightener. They offer other benefits in addition to hydration and are both very powerful formulas.

Trust me, eye creams do work. I swear by them; I personally use them every single day and night. Do I still have wrinkles around my eyes? Yes. I’m in my late 40s and this is normal. But when I look at my siblings and parents to see how they are aging under their eyes, by comparison, I feel that I’m doing much better because I take better care of my skin. (Here’s a recent picture of me and my oldest sister. I often get mistaken for her daughter.)

I do also use a retinol serum called Advanced Resurfacing Serum. When used long term, this can really help build up collagen and smooth the skin both on the face and under the eyes. Using a performance ingredient like retinol in your routine makes for a great complement to eye cream. If you’re not using a retinol product and you want your skin to look smoother, you should really try it.

Note: Eye creams do not have to be heavy and greasy to work. In fact, if an eye cream is too greasy, it can migrate into the eyes and cause under eye puffiness. This then unnecessarily stretches out the skin, causing a weakening in elasticity. Not good at all!

Finally, it’s so important to keep the eye area protected from the sun by using sunglasses when outdoors and making sure to use sunscreen near the eye area during all daylight hours.

Bottom line, invest in a good eye cream and commit to wearing it faithfully.

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

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