We love eye cream, we really do. It's a fantastic addition to your skincare routine since there's practically one for every concern out there, be it dark circles or fine lines. However, through the years, we've noticed that it's never really on most skin experts' radar. In fact, most dermatologists we've spoken to don't have an eye cream in their regimen. When recommending must-have products, only cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen, and sometimes a vitamin C serum are on the list. So is an eye cream actually necessary? We asked an expert to find out.
Do we really need to use eye cream?
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), not really—especially when compared to your cleanser or moisturizer. "Unless you are already experiencing problems specific to the eye area, there is really no need for an eye cream," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas tells Preview. While yes, we do need to take care of the skin around our eyes, the derm explains that eye cream isn't the only way we can do so. "Other moisturizing creams, for as long as they do not contain harsh ingredients that are too strong or may irritate the eye area, are actually sufficient to nourish and protect it," the doctor adds.
That said, even if you don't need it, there are definitely still perks to using eye cream (people swear by them for a reason). It's just not in the essential category. Dr. Gaile agrees with this as well, since most eye creams are made to specifically target concerns in that area after all. Some contain active ingredients such as retinols to keep the area smooth, niacinamide to reduce discoloration, or caffeine to address puffiness. Eye cream can be amazing under makeup as well, since it'll help your concealer and foundation stay on and prevent it from caking. Basically, if an eye cream works for you, then there's no reason to stop using it!
Can regular moisturizer replace eye cream?
Good news for all the skincare minimalists out there: Your moisturizer can do an eye cream's job just fine. However, the derm notes that we should make sure that the formula is safe to use around your orbs. Check for ingredients that could potentially irritate your eyes such as microbeads, exfoliating acids, acne medication, and fragrance. You can also do a patch test, just to be on the safe side!
Also, to properly replace an eye cream, your moisturizer has to actually be moisturizing enough. Remember that the skin around your peepers are thinner and doesn't produce as much sebum as the rest of your face, which is the reason why eye creams tend to be thicker than most skincare. That said, any skincare product that contains humectants (hyaluronic acid), emollients (oils, ceramides), and occlusives (petroleum jelly, silicones) can keep your skin just as protected.
How do we take care of our eye area?
Regardless of your stance on eye cream, it's important to take care of the skin around your eyes. Below, the dermatologist shares a few tips on keeping yours plump, even, and smooth:
1. Always keep it moisturized.
This one is a given (as discussed above), but it's crucial because dryness is the main cause of not just dry patches but of fine lines. "You'll want to be using products that contain ingredients that that will attract moisture to the area, such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides, and keep them in, such as fatty acids," says the doctor. "[Fine] lines could also be due to decrease in collagen in the area, in which collagen-boosters like vitamin C, retinoids, and peptides would be more effective."
2. Directly address your concerns with specific ingredients or treatments.
According to Dr. Gaile, for specific concerns such as dark circles and wrinkles, you need more than just a plain creams. Applying sunscreen and using products with antioxidants (vitamin C and E) and mild lightening ingredients can help with dark circles, while more persistent concerns like crow's feet and forehead wrinkles are best addressed with soft tissue fillers or botox injections from your dermatologist.
3. Avoid tugging or rubbing the area.
Another common cause of wrinkles is constant tugging or rubbing, the derm says. "When dealing with the eye area such as when removing eye make-up and even false eyelashes, resist the urge to tug at the area or rub vigorously. Be gentle, use eye makeup remover or soft cotton pads/cloth and dab or gently wipe away in a slow, upward motion," she advises.
4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining proper nutrition and getting enough sleep and exercise have a stronger impact on your skin concerns than you think. "Puffiness [on the eyes] may be due to allergies, not getting enough sleep, consumption of food high in sodium, drinking too much alcohol or simply due to gravity after oversleeping," explains Dr. Gaile. She adds that avoiding exposure to UV rays, pollution, and cigarettes are effective precautions help slow down signs of aging, too.