We can all agree that a skincare routine, at minimum, consists of washing your face, slathering on some moisturizer, and using SPF. But the more controversial step in your nightly routine might just be: eye cream. Eye cream is a hotly debate, and we're here to settle it once and for all.
It may depend on who you talk to, but it seems as though most dermatologists would agree that eye cream is marketed based on the fact that the general consumer lacks knowledge about how products are formulated. If you think about all the benefits of an eye cream boasts, you'd also want those same benefits applied to the rest of your face.
According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades, Associate Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Medicine and Director of Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center of New York, she said, "There is no real reason to have a separate eye cream, as you want the same ingredients there as you do elsewhere. Oftentimes the eye creams are just face creams in a smaller jar." (1)
Fact or Myth: Skin Under The Eye is Thin
It is true that the skin on our eyelids as well as the surrounding areas of your eye is thin. However, according to Dr. Fayne L. Frey, a New York-based dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon and founder of the education skin care webiste FryFace, "If you're a skin pathologist and you take a little piece of skin from right around the eye and you compare it under the microscope to a little tiny piece of skin that you get, say a little bit lower down on your cheek …[skin pathologists] cannot tell where the skin is coming from. There is no way to distinguish those two pieces of skin." (1)
There's no reason why you would need to use special cream for the skin under your eye versus a few inches below, say, on your cheek, or your chin. In fact, the most beneficial proactive step you can take in your skincare regimen is to make sure you're putting SPF under your eyes in order to protect it from harmful sun rays which are the number one cause of wrinkles, free radical damage, and skin damage.
The reason why the under eye skin feels thin is what lies underneath the skin. Naturally, there is less muscle tissue and fat tissue underneath your eye compared to other areas of your face. And as we age, there is tissue loss, which creates a void or bags.
Fact or Myth: Eye Cream Helps With My Wrinkles
Wrinkles can temporarily diminish due to humectants like glycerin or hyaluronic acid, however, no product can permanently remove, reduce, or prevent wrinkles. It is similar to pumping water into a raisin until it becomes a grape. But once the water has dissipated, it will go back to being a raisin.
In short, an eye cream may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles temporarily. But, those lines are staying there for the long term. It's a part of aging, and one should try to look their best self at the current age that they are. The best solution to combatting aging skin is to protect it with sunscreen.
Fact or Myth: Eye Cream Helps With My Dark Circles
Puffiness can be due to fat cells sagging underneath the skin, which happens as we age, and there is no product that can combat this. If you have dark circles, it may be worth it to look into the root cause. If it's due to lack of sleep, we suggest fixing the root cause first. To really see a change, you will have to sleep more, drink less alcohol, drink more water, and eat less salt.
If your eye cream (or moisturizer) contains niacinimide, antioxidants, or Vitamin C, it can definitely help with dark circles as it will help brighten and protect against free radicals.
Veins around the eyes can create a dark hue as well. Ingredients such as arnica and Vitamin K can reduce the appearance of darkness around the eyes.
The short answer: it may be worth looking into a specialty cream that targets these concerns, but look for ingredients we've just highlighted for you.
Do You Really Need It?
A good moisturizer should be able to support your skin barrier not only on the face, but also under the eyes as well. There should be no reason to buy an eye cream for this reason alone.
If you're looking to temporarily combat wrinkles or dark circles, a specialty eye cream can probably do the job.
And finally, if you're wanting to protect the skin from further signs of aging and damage, sunscreen and protection like sunglasses and/or a hat is your best bet.