Do You Really Need an Eye Cream?


A woman’s eye. Esperanto: Virina okulo. França...

First off, I love your site! THANK YOU! Just a few questions, if you don’t mind. I am using Skinceuticals C, E and Ferulic Acid, Revale Intense Recovery, Complexion MD, Green Cream 6, and NIA 24 Sunscreen. Do I need an eye cream? I feel like I am using a lot already and adding an eye cream to the mix seems like just one too many! THANKS!


Dear Kathy,

Let’s talk about eye creams first because there are a lot of mixed messages out there about whether or not you actually need an eye cream. The answer is that while some like Paula Begoun say that you don’t, dermatologists often think that for a regular routine, it’s good to include and eye cream. If you feel disinclined to use a special eye cream, it’s not wrong or the end of the world to use your regular moisturizer — but it’s not specially formulated to be near your eye.

Similarity to Face Cream

Beauty Products
Even though it’s similar to face lotions, eye creams are gentler and thicker.

One critique of eye creams is that they have similar ingredients to face creams, which means that they are just smaller versions of what you have at higher prices. This isn’t totally false, but it’s important to know what goes into a good eye cream. According to Neil Sadick, MD (The New Natural), a good eye cream should be similar to the creams you put on your face, but because the skin on the eye is more delicate, these formula is lighter. That’s what makes it difficult — but not impossible — to find eye creams with SPFs. If yours doesn’t have SPF, be sure to layer a sunscreen overtop.

On the other hand, Consumer Reports did a study in October 2009 where 107 people used two creams, one on each side of their face, morning and night for six weeks. They found that the difference was minor, that price didn’t matter, and that some creams work for some people and don’t work for others. They also found that moisturizers that did not claim to reduce wrinkles worked as well at wrinkle reduction as creams that were intended for this purpose.

One important note: When looking at this study, it’s important to understand that many dermatologists recommend creams to prevent wrinkles and signs of aging, not necessarily to smooth away wrinkles.


Wrinkles!! or experience in tough life
The delicate skin around the eyes shows the first signs of aging.

The skin around the eyes has fewer oil glands than the rest of the face, and thus gets dried out more quickly. It wrinkles more easily and tends to have more visible blood vessels and darkness (Age-Less). Eye creams can be thicker and come with an extra boost of moisturizing and wrinkle-fighting ingredients for you eye.

Eye Sensitivity

Another thing that eye creams have that face creams don’t is ophthalmologist testing, according to Dr. Fredric Brandt (10 Minutes 10 Years). Ophthalmologist testing means they’re gentle and won’t sting or burn when they get in your eyes. While your current face products might not affect the skin, they could cause burning if they’re in your eye. Even if you aren’t concerned about the skin around your eye, you should consider your eye itself and be sure that whatever is near it won’t harm it.

Bottom Line

Using eye creams is a personal choice. They tend to be gentler, more hydrating, and ophthalmologist tested. However, testing shows that they aren’t necessarily more effective at fixing wrinkles, though that test didn’t look at whether they’re preventative. At the end of the day, whether or not to use eye cream is a personal choice — though it is dermatologist recommended because the formulations are specially made for the skin around the eyes. If you decide to use one, apply it in the morning and at night, using your finger to gently dab it on.

For ideas on what eye cream to get, check here: The Best Eye Creams of 2011: The Friendly Friday Q&A Post


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