Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.
Atolla has an answer to the question “is eye cream necessary?” as well as a deep dive on all things under eye.
With so many skin care products out there, it may seem difficult to separate the important products from the ones that are just hype.
For instance, is eye cream necessary? How can you best take care of your sensitive under eye area?
The skin care professionals at Atolla want to help you out as best we can. We’re here with a deep dive into all things under eye, and an answer to whether or not you need an eye cream.
Why Is There So Much Focus on the Under Eye Area?
There really aren’t many areas on the face that get as much specific attention as the under eye area. But why is that?
For one, the skin in the under eye area is the thinnest skin on the entire face. Because it is so thin, it is also easier to see the signs of the aging process. With thicker areas of the face, there is far more resilience against things like sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles.
How thin that skin is really comes down to a number of different factors.
For one, at least part of it is related to genetics. Your DNA, thanks to your mother and father (and their mother and father), is something that is largely unchangeable. Look to your parents. Do they have visible under eye bags or circles? It may be a hint of what’s to come for your own skin.
As we’ll also learn, sun damage and lifestyle choices can seriously impact the way that your under eye area looks.
The skin in the under eye area is also a lot more sensitive than the rest of your skin. Much of this is also due to its thickness but, the truth is, it just can’t handle the intensity of a lot of products used on the rest of the face, like tretinoin. It can lead to increased sensitivity and irritation, which can actually increase issues in the under eye area.
Is Eye Cream Necessary?
There’s no arguing that taking care of the under eye area is just as important as any other area on your face. Healthy skin care is essential to keeping your skin looking radiant. But do you need a special eye cream to do that?
Although the skin in the under eye area is thinner than the rest of the face, it isn’t any different.
Many eye creams on the market claim that they have been formulated specifically to handle the thin and often sensitive skin in the under eye area. Often, that includes being able to get rid of common under eye complaints like bags, circles, and sagging skin. But there really is no “miracle” cure that can be applied to a specific area of the body like that. One of the only exceptions to this is eye creams with caffeine as one of the main ingredients. This has been proven to make eyes look and feel more “awake” and less puffy.
However, while an under eye cream may not always be necessary, using products that can increase the hydration is a great idea. That can really stop to hold off crepey skin and fine lines or wrinkles for as long as possible. Aging isn’t something that you should be ashamed of, as it’s a normal part of life, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it gracefully.
What Eye Creams Are Lacking
The number one thing that most under eye creams are lacking is sun protection. Most skin care professionals agree that sun protection is just as important in the under eye area as it is anywhere else on the body.
So many of the visible signs of aging that show up on the face are the result of sun damage. Things like sun spots (dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation), fine lines and wrinkles can be directly tied to the effects of too much ultraviolet radiation over time. Protecting your skin from that damage is a great way to minimize the impact UV radiation can have. Unfortunately, most eye creams don’t have any sun protective factor. This means it is extremely important to apply your favorite SPF around your eye area, being careful not to get too close to avoid stinging or burning.
What Should You Use In The Under Eye Area?
If the answer to “is eye cream necessary?” is no, then what should you be using in the under eye area to take care of it?
In general, the area doesn’t require any different skin care than the rest of your face. Focus on gentle, fragrance free skin care products to help minimize the change of irritation or allergic reactions. You’ll also want to look for products that contain antioxidants, which help to counteract the impact of free radicals and oxidative stress on the skin. Ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide, and retinol usually come in at the top of the list, as they help the skin both communicate and heal itself.
Most serums are perfectly safe to use around the under eye area. If you’re unsure, reach out to an esthetician or dermatologist to confirm this. Just be careful that you don’t let any of that serum into your eye, and be cautious about applying it directly to your eyelids as well (as they have a tendency to be extra sensitive).
With moisturizers, the key is making sure that you are using the right one for your unique skin. If the skin in your under eye area tends to be dryer than the rest of your skin, you’ll want an emollient. Emollients help to soften and smooth the skin, and it works especially well on dry, flakey, rough skin. The only time that a special eye cream would be beneficial in this scenario is if the skin in your under eye area is a lot different from the remainder of your face. Omega fatty acids can also be helpful, as can hyaluronic acid, which boost the health and hydration level of the skin as a whole.
All of Atolla’s custom serums and moisturizers are safe to use around the eye area.
What About Under Eye Bags And Circles?
One of the most frequently asked questions about products for the under eye area is what can be done about under eye bags and/or circles.
To start, let’s look a little at what causes them in the first place.
The most common cause of under eye bags and circles relates to the amount of fat cells in the under eye area. While fat cells are something that a lot of people try to avoid in the rest of their body, they’re something that you actually want in the under eye area. With more fat cells, the under eye area is thicker and the capillaries there are less visible.
Puffiness in the under eye area (AKA bags) are usually due to an accumulation of fluid or a sagging of the fat cells there. Unfortunately, there is no cream that can fix either of these problems. In some cases, using a serum or moisturizer with calming properties can help a little bit. However, it is nowhere near a miracle cure.
The only thing that you can really do about these issues is make lifestyle changes to help minimize facial swelling. That means cutting down on your alcohol use (or stopping entirely), focusing on getting better sleep, and reducing the amount of sodium in your diet. Fillers, like Juvederm, can also be helpful if you’re willing to do something a little bit more invasive and involving needles.
Pro Tip: For an emergency fix, place your jade roller, sterling silver spoons, or even better: an Ice Roller in the fridge or freezer overnight and use gently over the area to reduce puffiness. It is very important that whatever tools you use are properly cleaned and sanitized before working around the eye area.
Embrace Your Skin
One of the best things that you can do for your skin, and your overall mental health, is to learn how to embrace the skin you’re in — no matter the appearance. That’s not to say that you can’t make steps to improve your skin and reach your skin goals, but learning to love yourself for exactly who you are can make a world of difference.
So, is eye cream necessary? Not really, especially if you’re taking care of your entire face with the right products. That’s why we created Atolla — we wanted to honor and treat everyone’s skin with the attention and respect it deserves. After all, no two of us are exactly the same and neither is anyone’s skin. Why should you use a one size fits all product when you could be getting the customized attention that you deserve?