Is Eye Cream A Scam or Not? We Ask The Pros

Expert Advice

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A little context on what inspired this post… recently, while replenishing on some new skincare stock, a friend of ours asked us a pretty common but totally valid beauty question: is eye cream a scam or nah? Our response? TBH, we couldn’t give her a reassuring yes or no answer because, for us, skincare isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice — a product can work absolute wonders for you, but for others, it does nada. So instead of insisting on personal preferences (as we’re also divided on this pressing matter), we decided to reach out to two amazing experts, dermatologists Dr. Dennis Gross and Dr. Harold Lancer to hopefully nip this beauty debate in the bud. But before we proceed into the nitty-gritty stuff, let’s begin with the basics…

What is eye cream?

Dr. Gross describes it as “a product specifically formulated for the delicate area around the eye. It is typically thicker in texture and addresses concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, crepiness, puffiness, dark circles, and loss of elasticity.” Dr. Lancer holds similar sentiments, explaining that it can also be “used to retain moisture and hydrate the skin around the eye area.” 

What are the benefits of using one?

“Under-eye bags can be the result of genetics, age, stressors, or a combination of all three. While addressing your stressors is recommended to promote overall personal health, you can further minimize the appearance of eye bags and dark circles with a high-quality proven eye product. The skin surrounding your eyes is some of the thinnest on your body, and it is never too soon to begin an under-eye treatment. An efficacious eye cream will work to hydrate the skin, reduce under-eye puffiness and lighten dark circles,” says Dr. Lancer but keep in mind that “proper application is key.” Another frequently asked query is, at what age should I start? Honestly, age is just a number, and Dr. Lancer agrees. “Everyone is different, and it’s really never too soon to start an under-eye treatment.” His advice? “Start in your late teens or early 20s as soon as first signs of aging occur.”

So now that we’ve covered the perks that come with a worthy, restorative eye cream, what type of under-eye skin woes can’t it treat?

Like all other skin concoctions, a topical product can only do so much. Dr. Gross explains, “eye creams are typically very effective, however, there are some cases where injectables such as under-eye fillers might be a better solution. For example, with dark circles, if you lift the under-eye skin off of the bone and the darkened color is still visible on the skin, the dark circles are a result of hyperpigmentation. To treat this, you can use topical products or a professional IPL laser. However, if the dark color disappears after lifting the under-eye skin off the bone, the problem is the transparency of the skin is allowing the dark veins underneath to show through, not the pigment. In this case, I would use fillers to increase volume in the under-eye. If you have hallowed under-eye areas that appear sunken, you may be a good candidate for under-eye fillers – I prefer hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane. They restore lost volume and plump the skin.”

Another crucial pointer to add to this is photo-protection, as Dr. Lancer clears up that “eye creams generally do not include SPF, so they cannot protect against sun damage.” So word of advice, as we’ve said before time and time again, SPF is your BFF.

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Now that you’re clued up on all things eye cream, it’s time to shop.

Key ingredients you should look out for when browsing for an eye cream?

Well, it all depends on what you’re trying to resolve. Dr. Gross expands on this, “If you have dark circles, look for a product with vitamin C which will brighten the eye skin. For puffiness, look for superfoods, caffeine, and niacinamide – these ingredients increase circulation and decrease inflammation. Finally, if you are looking to plump the under-eye, look for a product with hyaluronic acid.”

What about anti-wrinkle eye creams? Do the key ingredients differ?

Definitely. Dr. Gross recommends the powerhouse compound retinol — “[it’s] the gold-standard ingredient for wrinkle-fighting, however, it has a bad reputation for being too harsh to use around the eye area. This is why I created the Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum, $69 – it combines retinol with ferulic acid, which decreases sensitivity and eliminates irritation while correcting lines and wrinkles. It is actually FDA cleared to use on the eyelid and the only retinol eye product in the market that can make this claim.”

So, the verdict… is eye cream really worth your coins?

We say do you boo, but Dr. Lancer and Dr. Gross 100% agree that these under-eye-reviving concentrates should be an essential part of your skincare routine.

Dr. Lancer: “Eye cream is absolutely necessary. As the skin around the eyes is incredibly thin and sensitive, it needs to be handled gently with products created specifically for that area. As noted above, there are several positive benefits to using eye creams that link to hydration and all-around signs of anti-aging.”

Dr. Gross: All eye creams are specifically formulated for the sensitive skin around the eye area — one of the first places to show early signs of aging — with particular attention paid to the delivery system. This makes the product particularly effective and also gentle for this delicate area. An eye cream is absolutely necessary as face moisturizers placed around the eye area might cause irritation, pending the active ingredients.”

Looking for a bomb formula that’s budget-friendly too? Shop the best drugstore eye creams that *actually* work.

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