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Do I Really Need a Separate Eye Cream?

Do I Really Need a Separate Eye Cream?


I get asked this question a lot! There are lots of eye-specific creams and treatments, but the question is…do you really need them?

Lots of people feel the skin around their eyes is different from the skin on the rest of their face, and rightly wonder if it needs specific care and topical treatments because of this. Common concerns in the eye area include fine lines and wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles.

The fact is…the skin in this area is different from that found on the rest of your face and can benefit from specifically formulated products and treatments.

What are the differences?

The skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate. It also lacks oil glands, so is prone to dryness and can often be more sensitive. A common complaint I hear in the clinic is a stinging/burning sensation around the eyes, even when using a tried and tested product that has been part of a patient’s routine for years!

The signs of aging can be more prominent around the eyes due to these inherent differences in the characteristics of the skin. As with any skincare principle, the key is prevention rather than correction. Selecting a specific product suited to the delicate eye area has its benefits.

  1. It’s been formulated to avoid irritation and sensitivity
  2. It can target eye-specific concerns
  3. Minimize dark circles
  4. Minimize puffiness

How to treat the delicate eye area.

Firstly, apply your eye cream with a dabbing motion, using your ring finger. This way you’ll avoid tugging or pulling the skin too much…it’s delicate enough without dealing with any aggressive rubbing! Avoid the eyelids and target the eye socket only.

Ensure you gently cleanse the eye area, and avoid any harsh exfoliation or active topicals in this area. It won’t take much to irritate the skin here if you overdo it!

The key take-home is that moisture is your friend! Fine lines and wrinkles appear much worse when the skin is dehydrated, and the eye area becomes dry much more easily than the rest of your face. If in doubt, apply a soothing and hydrating treatment

Secondly, look for products that include the following:

These products aim to support the delicate skin around the eye by protecting the skin barrier, improving the integrity of the skin, and treating eye-specific concerns

  • Vitamin C — This powerhouse antioxidant stimulates collagen production (can plump the thin skin around the eye) reduces the appearance of dark spots, evens skin tone, and gives a boost to the under-eye area.
  • Hyaluronic Acid — this ingredient attracts and holds water, which is perfect for plumping and hydrating the skin around the eyes.
  • Retinol — A gentler alternative to prescription retinoids, retinol can be used safely around the eye area and increases collagen, plumps the skin, increases cell turnover, and improves pigmentation.
  • Vitamin B3 — A crucial vitamin that supports moisture retention and an even skin tone.
  • Caffeine — Caffeine gives tired-looking skin a boost and decreases the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.
  • Green Tea — With potent antioxidant power, green tea soothes and protects the vulnerable under-eye area and keeps it looking fresh.
  • Squalane — Squalane is a soothing and hydrating ingredient that mimics our skin’s own sebum for a plumping and moisturizing effect.
  • Aloe Vera — Tired, stressed eyes will appreciate aloe vera’s soothing, cooling, and hydrating properties.
  • Ceramides – key ingredients for soothing and repairing the skin barrier, and protecting the delicate eye area.

Is there anything else I can do for my eye area?

Besides adding a targeted eye cream, to your routine, non-surgical procedures can also be employed in the fight against tired-looking eyes. The appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes from repeated facial expressions such as smiling can contribute to the overall appearance of lines and wrinkles in this area. A good option, in this case, is an anti-wrinkle treatment. Using a neurotoxin to relax these muscles prevents and improves the appearance of fine lines. This treatment will need to be repeated every 3-4 months and is simple, quick well tolerated.

Another option for persistent or deeper wrinkles in the eye area is a series of non-ablative laser treatments. This involves a course of non-wounding laser treatments that aim to resurface and rejuvenate the skin revealing the fresher, more youthful, skin underneath.

Of course, simple things like getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating a healthy balanced diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables will be beneficial for the skin around your eyes, and your skin in general!

Ok, that’s all very well…but do I need a completely separate product for my eyes?

It all depends on your specific goals and concerns. If you are particularly concerned about dry, tired, and dull under-eye skin, puffiness, or dark circles, then a specific eye cream might be for you.

Check out this list of the top 5 dermatologists recommended and tested eye creams. It has a great summary of each cream, plus pros and cons for each!

Masters in Clinical Dermatology Dissertation. This PDF download is provided for personal use and is the intellectual property of Dr. Sarah Tranter  and Dr. Tranter Aesthetics. It cannot be copied or reproduced without permission.

The Efficacy and Safety of Topical Retinoids for preventing and reversing the effects of photoageing (pdf)

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