No skin care product causes more dispute than eye cream. Some swear by them, others consider them an unnecessary add-on. So, do you really need one? Stylist investigates…
Once scorned as something beauty counters tried to upsell to make you part with your cash, modern technology is now making a strong case in favour of the eye cream. And it’s not just traditional formulas that are finding their way back into our beauty bags, but serums, gels and treatments too. It seems the eye cream has finally come of age - but can they really make a difference?
According to Dr Maryam Zamani, leading Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor and creator of MZ Skin, the answer is likely yes: “All individuals over 20 can benefit from eye cream. It is true that face creams can help the eye area; however, given the delicate and thin nature of the periorbital area, (the area around the eye) eye creams are formulated for better penetration of actives and retention of hydration” she explains.
As the skin around the eye has a different structure, it makes sense that we should treat it in a different way. “The periorbital area is particularly vulnerable to ageing” explains Dr Zamani. Eyelid skin is extremely fragile and thin, at only 0.05mm thick, and therefore the most delicate skin on our bodies. When you think that the underlying musculature (22 muscles and approximately 10,000 blinks per day) is under constant exertion, it is understandable that the eyes are prone to appearing more wrinkled” she says.
So far, we’re almost swayed. Anything else?
“Unfortunately, the periorbital skin also has less sebaceous glands, making it more prone to losing moisture and becoming dryer and, with time, there is a decrease in elastin and collagen production”: adds Dr Zamani. “As we age, the bony structures below the skin also change and remodel, making them appear to age more quickly. External environmental factors like sluggish microcirculation can also exacerbate tired looking eyes, making them appear darker. Because of the thin overlying skin, markers for poor circulation are more prominently revealed around the eyes than on other parts of the body. The more dehydrated the skin around the eyes, the more tired and fatigued they appear.”
So, with an endless amount of products to choose from, how do we know which one will fix our beauty woes? “When treating this area, it is important to look for ingredients that have potent antioxidants which protect from free radical damage and promote collagen production,” says Dr Zamani. She advises looking for ceramides as a key ingredient, as they help to lock in moisture. Similarly, Hyaluronic Acid can be good for drawing in hydration, but must be well formulated to ensure it can actually penetrate the skin - look for brands that use a low molecular weight (in layman’s terms, smaller particles.) Finally, liquorice and caffeine can help minimise the appearance of dark circles.
But it’s not just the formula that can make or break your eye-nourishing mission - application is key too. “The biggest mistake that people make with eye products is applying too aggressively, or not using enough” says Dr Zamani. “Also, many people forget to use sunscreen, which is very important as the periorbital area is very delicate and sensitive.”
Ready to rekindle a love affair with eye cream? Here are the editor-approved eye formulas to try now…
If puffiness is your primary concern, this one is for you. Part of celebrity dermatologist Dr Colbert’s second skincare line, this cooling gel is formulated with chamomile, cucumber and arnica to soothe, as well as Hyaluronic Acid to seal in hydration. Perfect for instant relief after a not-so-saintly Friday night.
Sluggish city skin needs a heavy dose of antioxidants to combat dullness, and Jurlique’s latest offering is up to the task.The serum texture absorbs instantly into the skin, and is packed with pollution-fighting extracts grown on the label’s own organic Australian farmland.
It might look like something that belongs in a chemistry lab, but this science-y bottle is a wonder product for tired eyes. As the name suggests, it contains a massive amount of caffeine which has been proven to reduce the appearance of puffiness, alongside EGCG (an micronutrient derived from green tea.)
Antioxidant-rich plant extracts are combined with hyaluronic acid, peptides and ceramide in Dr. Maryam Zamani’s heavy-hitting formula – a dream for crepey skin and fine lines. The cherry on the cake? A broad-spectrum SPF30 - a rare (and welcome) find in an eye product.
Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten + Firm Eye Cream, £63
This rich cream contains an ultra-stable form of Vitamin C to energise dull, tired eyes. Puffiness and crows feet will be gently reduced, while the airless pump keeps all the actives fully charged, right to the last drop.