From dark circles to crow’s feet, the skin issues specific to the eyes are a common cause of concern. As the focal point of the face, our eyes are often the first feature others notice, meaning every tiny imperfection can be a telltale sign of aging. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a sea of products targeted to treat and handle the fragile area with care. The caveat is the skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face, which makes it more difficult to treat. Eye creams, in particular, have an enticing claim to transform the fine skin in order to give you a more youthful look. But just how well does eye cream work?
According to Dr. Hope Mitchell, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mitchell Dermatology in Perrysburg, Ohio, eye creams are meant to address hyper-specific skin issues. “The skin that surrounds the eye area is the thinnest skin found on the body and is extra prone to distressing issues.” She continues on to say that for this reason, results can vary greatly.
With hopes of gaining a tighter and brighter eye area, many of us continue to use the product every night in good faith, trusting it will live up to its promises. So how do you know whether or not an eye cream is actually working? Ahead, TZR chatted with three experts, including dermatologists and cosmetic chemists to get the low down on eye creams and their effectiveness.
Eye Cream Vs. Face Cream
There’s a reason these two products are meant for different areas of the face. Eye creams may contain some of the same ingredients found in facial moisturizers, but it’s the targeting nature of their formulas that puts them in their own lane. “What most sets them apart from products for the face is that they attack specific areas of concern underneath and above the eye, like droopy lids, puffiness, and dark circles,” says Julio Lamberty, cosmetic chemist and Paula’s Choice research and education team member.
In that vein, he explains that concentrations of the active ingredients vary and are often times lessened to be more conducive to thin skin. “Many face creams contain anti-aging actives but at higher concentrations, which means using them under or around the eye could cause more irritation than using an eye cream,” he says.
How Often Should You Use Eye Cream To See Results?
Regardless of whether you follow a two-step or 10-step skin routine, introducing a new product can be a pain. But frequency is the name of the game when it comes to seeing real results. “If you really want to reap the full benefits of your eye cream, you should be using it every day — once in the morning and again at night,” says Dr. Mitchell. Staying the course is important, but ensuring that you are properly applying it in the correct order for your routine can also affect its results.
In order to protect the fragile skin of the eye area, it’s best to gentle pat the product rather than rub it. According to Dr. Mitchell, you also want to give the it time to settle. Remember, you’re using the active to directly target the concern, not just add moisture. With that in mind, she recommends waiting one to two minutes after applying the eye cream before moving on to the next step of your routine. This also ensures that it doesn’t doesn’t shift to other areas of the face.
How Long Before You’ll See Results?
The waiting period for noticeable results can seem like forever, but some effects appear shortly after you begin using the eye cream. Cosmetic chemist and founder of the skin care brand, BeautyStat, Ron Robinson, tells TZR that hydration and brightening benefits can be seen immediately, but confirms that bigger concerns tied to anti-aging often take more time to discern. “Deeper issues such as a reduction in wrinkles can take a minimum of four weeks or more to show true improvement,” he says.
It’s also important to take in account the magnitude of the problem the cream is targeting and the type of active ingredient in it. After all, you wouldn’t expect a face moisturizer with retinol to deliver instant results, and the principles ring true for an eye cream. “If the product is using an active aimed to smooth fine lines, improve firmness, or treat certain forms of hyperpigmentation, it normally takes four to eight weeks to see results,” says Lamberty. For this reason, he tells TZR that most creams are formulated to provide clinical results within an average of eight to 12 weeks.
Dr. Mitchell also notes that it typically takes 30 days for skin cells to turn over, which is another reason seeing on-the-spot results is less likely. Keep this in mind before you completely dismiss a product — you might just need to stay consistent with using it.
What To Look For In An Eye Cream
With so many options available that claim to brighten dark circles, smooth crow’s feet, and tighten sagging skin, selecting the right eye cream can be difficult. But as Lamberty points out, “today's consumers want products that provide multiple benefits so most companies create formulas to address a range of issues in one formulation.” This is why it’s important to do some research beforehand to not only know the ingredient list, but to be informed about the results from a product's clinical studies and testing.
In addition, Robinson recommends also learning about the texture of the cream as it can affect how well it sinks in and how easy it will be to apply. “From a formulation standpoint, you don’t want the product to have too much slip which can cause difficulty when using, instead it should glide on smoothly in order to stay in place and be absorbed,” he says.