Sunday, August 9, 2015

Eye Creams 101: What to use?

What is eye cream? 

The skin around the eyes and on the eyelids is some of the thinnest skin on your body. Eye creams provide a lipid or emollient substance to keep this delicate tissue soft. So eye cream is essentially a moisturizer formulated specifically for the skin around your eyes. Eye creams do not erase wrinkles or prevent them from coming. They can soften the look of the lines and help to decrease the appearance of wrinkles, but not the wrinkles themselves. Eye cream is important, but not magical.

What to use. Although eye creams are very important, don’t get ripped off buying an super expensive one. Manufacturers know how important they are (and how concerned you are about wrinkles), so they tend to gouge you, charging exorbitant prices for a tiny tube or jar of eye cream. Although these creams are formulated specifically for the delicate tissue around the eyes, it is unnecessary to pay $150 for an eye cream (unless you want to!).

There are eye creams on the market designed to reduce puffiness and even dark circles. These may help in some cases, but if you have chronic problems around the eyes, no cream is going to eradicate them. If you have inherited dark circles, you can buy as many creams as you want to, but nothing is really going to make the darkness go away. If edema (puffiness) is your problem and if this is inherited, nothing short of surgery will do much in the way of getting rid of the puffiness. I am not advocating surgery, I just don’t want you to get your hopes up when looking for miracles in a simple jar of cream. If your under-eye problems are minor ones, using these types of special eye creams may indeed help.

If you are sensitive around the eye area (most people are), you obviously want to find a cream that causes no sensation (irritation, stinging, burning). Fragrance is out as far as an ingredient in your eye cream. It can irritate even nonsensitive skin. Sometimes product sensitivities can cause puffiness, so be careful.

You can’t always sample eye creams. Many companies don’t make samples available, probably because eye creams come in such small containers as it is. Check the ingredient list and make sure there is no fragrance. Then, if you can, test the eye cream right then and there at the cosmetic counter or facial salon. If you are going to have a reaction, it usually doesn’t take long. If the cream feels good and is reasonably priced, try it out.

Is there a difference between eye gels and creams? If so, which one should I use?

There is actually a big difference between gels and creams.

  • A gel is much less emollient than a cream. It will contain more water and go on much thinner. Gels quickly dry on the surface of the skin and usually cause a tightening effect. Some manufacturers call this a “lift” effect. In actuality, your skin is being tightened or pulled due to the water evaporating from the gel.
  • Creams contain more oil than gels; therefore, creams are more emollient or softening. It is vitally important to keep a lipid (emollient) substance on the lines around the eyes at all times. This is to ensure the under-eye tissue stays soft and pliable, helping to keep the lines less noticeable. Gels will dry out very quickly; creams take a lot longer to actually dry on the skin. If I had to choose between the two, I would pick a cream over a gel.

There are eye gels on the market that contain special ingredients to tackle lines and wrinkles (alpha hydroxy acids, for instance). These are fine to use, but if you consistently feel dry under the eye area I would not recommend using these gels alone day to day. Try using the gel underneath an eye cream or just opt for a cream. However, if you seem to always get puffy eyes using eye creams, try using a gel and see if you have better luck.

When to use eye cream. I like to put eye cream on after moisturizing my face, but you can use it beforehand if you prefer. Either way, you want to use eye cream after cleansing and toning. I also recommend having some on hand to use throughout the day. Because you have no functioning oil glands under the eyes, this tissue tends to dry out quickly, so don’t hesitate to reapply as necessary. If you wear makeup, perhaps this won’t be possible. But if you don’t wear makeup or aren’t wearing foundation, feel free to use your eye cream more than twice per day.

To understand how and why you want to use eye cream along with some other articles related to eye area concerns, see: