Eye creams, gels and serums – we’ve all heard the promises they make and been told we need them from an early age. There are dozens of products aimed at the eye area in stores and more being released all of the time. But do we really need them?
Women, and more recently men too, worry about ageing for various reasons. The eye area is one of the areas in which we show many signs of the passage of time.
It’s true that the skin around our eyes is thinner and slightly more fragile than elsewhere on the face. It’s more prone to dehydration, and thus quicker to show the signs of age and fatigue.
The main causes of fine lines and wrinkles however are our expressions and for the most part we can’t stop those! It’s an area of almost constant movement – even when we’re asleep – and all this frowning, squinting, smiling and even blinking can be responsible for the appearance of fine lines. Puffiness, dark circles, sun damage; eye creams can address some of these issues. Surprisingly though, the product you choose doesn’t necessarily need to be sold as specific to the eye-area. While the skin may be thinner here its needs are rarely that drastically different from the rest of your face.
Many eye creams are actually very poorly formulated and may even contain nothing particularly special for the eye area. They are often very thick and can be quite comedogenic as a result. Many lack ingredients that may seem obvious when you think about the external environmental factors behind ageing skin.
We all know how big a factor in ageing exposure to sunlight is, in particular UVA rays. So it seems odd to me that the seeming majority of products made for this area do not contain sun protection even when specifically designed to
be used during the day.
Of course it is fine for a night time only product not to have SPF, but during the day you’re left vulnerable to sun damage in this area of already finer thinner skin – something which almost guarantees to make puffiness, wrinkles and darkness much worse. None of the eye products in my photo here have any SPF despite three of them being for use specifically during the day.
Indeed, just because a particular product is labelled as specific to the eye area doesn’t mean it’s actually any use to that area or indeed useful to any part of the face at all.
So What Should I Be Using?
Any well formulated moisturising product that your skin tolerates well. A mix of emollients, skin-repairing ingredients and ingredients to suit your specific skin concerns. Remember, these helpful ingredients don’t have to come from a product labelled as an eye cream; they can come from any well formulated, well-tolerated moisturiser or serum. If you’re already using an effective moisturiser for the rest of your face it might be perfect to use in the eye area too thus saving you time and a ton of money! That’s right, it’s time to look at the ingredient list of your moisturisers!
Ingredients To Look For
If you have a specific skin or ageing concern you want your product to be geared towards, here are some handy tips on useful ingredients. I’ve used their common names and included their scientific names as found on ingredient lists in brackets where needed:
- Fine lines and wrinkles: Retinol (listed as retinol or pure retinol in the ingredients), Pro-Retinol (retinyl palmitate), Hyaluronic Acid (sodium hyaluronate), Peptides.
- Dark Circles: Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid) is said to help thicken skin that has thinned and may be helpful in some cases depending on the cause of the circles. Dark circles under the eyes are however most frequently caused by dilated blood vessels which are genetic and sometimes by hyper-pigmentation, neither of these can be undone. I recommend always using a sunscreen/SPF to prevent causing or increasing hyperpigmentation and investing in a good concealer rather than trying expensive potions!
- Puffiness: It depends on the cause of your puffiness as to what may help and indeed if anything will help at all. Puffiness caused by fat deposits moving around cannot be solved with a cream, sorry!
Puffiness caused by an accumulation of fluid, possibly from not getting enough sleep might be helped by soothing and cooling the area. Lifestyle changes (more beauty sleep etc.) are your best bet though. Caffeine as an ingredient may be of benefit.
If the issue is caused by sun damage simply keeping the area well hydrated and nourished with things like niacinamide and panthenol and always using sunscreen can make huge improvements.
- Sunkenness: Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid), Hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate).
- Preventative Use: If you want to use an product in the eye area as a preventative rather than to treat a specific existing concern always use a product with SPF during the day.
5 Other Ways To Keep Eyes Looking Good
- Drink plenty fluid, water is crucial for maintaining the elasticity of the skin and will keep skin plumped up and firm too delaying or minimising the appearance of fine lines.
- It really goes without saying that you should also stop smoking if you still do. Nicotine causes something called vasoconstriction which means the blood vessels become smaller and circulation is decreased which can make it difficult for nutrients to be absorbed. Over time this leads to the breakdown and loss of collagen, a decrease in levels of vitamin A and moisture.
- Avoiding over-exposure to the sun cannot be stated strongly enough, as UV-A rays also cause damage to our collagen fibres leading to premature aging, as well as age spots and hyperpigmentation. When out enjoying the sun, as well as your SPF, accessorise your outfit with a pair of sunglasses to avoid squinting and protect the skin.
- When taking your make-up off at the end of the day try to avoid any unnecessary tugging or dragging on the skin – be gentle! Coconut oil is great for gently removing eye make-up and its good for the skin too.
- And last but certainly not least, get plenty of beauty sleep – it’s called that for a reason you know!
I hope this has been helpful and will encourage a few of you to check out whether your expensive eye creams are really necessary or even helpful and whether you might be better off using your regular moisturiser for both areas.