The best eye creams for those puffy bags, according to dermatologists
Do we really need them or are they just overpriced moisturisers?
One of the great dividers of the beauty industry is eye creams. Some experts claim a special eye cream is unnecessary. Nothing more than your regular moisturiser in smaller bottles and higher prices. Others say they’re formulated differently to suit the fragile skin of the under-eye area.
I’ve swooned over eye creams and marketing claims, even splurging on a tiny jar that promised to ‘Banish dark circles! Look 10 years younger and wrinkle-free!’
There were little-to-no results after months of use. I still had dark circles that made it seem like the last time I enjoyed eight hours of sleep was in the pre-Taimur Ali Khan epoch.
But Dr. Kiran Sethi of Isya Aesthetics believes that eye creams are a necessary addition to our skincare routines.
“Only certain ingredients are gentle enough to be used on the under-eye area as the skin there is thinner and more delicate,” she says. “It can get dry and irritated easily if incorrect products are used.”
Well, I dug my own grave here.
Dr. Rinky Kapoor, The Esthetic Clinics, explains that many factors play a role in the condition of your under-eye area.
“The amount of hydration of the skin, the amount of blood supply and efficacy of drainage in that area, the extent of hollowing under the eyes — all of this determine the health of this area. Hence, just like the rest of the face, this zone also needs more than just a moisturiser to keep it in optimum health.”
Kapoor adds that there’s no one cream to solve all our under-eye problem (sadly), but she insists you protect the area from UV damage by using sunglasses or sunscreen.
If you notice a problem, it’s worth investigating with a professional and finding a targeted ingredient/product to work on it.
Don’t just buy the most expensive cream and expect miracles. “Buy a good eye cream recommended by a dermatologist, and do an effective treatment,” says Sethi. “It will be cheaper for you and you will look better.”
Eye creams to address a variety of concerns
Dark circles can occur from pigmentation, sun exposure, lack of sleep, even eye strain. It’s also hereditary and is likely to show up in people suffering from health conditions like diabetes, anaemia and hypertension.
“The list is long,” says Kapoor.
Sethi advises us to get products targeted towards reducing melanin or pigment in the area. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, alpha arbutin, kojic acid, peptides, liquorice extract, niacinamide and even low strength retinoids, if need be, under the guidance of your doctor.
Your under-eye skin can become sensitised when you use ingredients like acids that are too strong.
Sethi says, “If the skin is too thin, or the blood vessels too reactive, the skin gets sensitive. Look for peptide-based creams to increase collagen, vitamin K to boost vessel strength or hesperidin for improved vascularity.”
The skin can also be sensitive if you suffer from conditions like atopic eczema, asthma, sinus and respiratory problems.
Also, the area gets irritated for those “who use low-quality eye makeup for long hours of the day and do not remove it properly daily,” adds Kapoor.
It’s important to identify the reason for puffiness in your under-eye area, especially if it’s persistent.
Of DIY quick fixes, Kapoor shares, “Do not sleep on your stomach. Take short intervals off-screen if your job involves continuous use of computers, mobile phones etc. Sleep on time and for at least 6 to 7 hours a day.”
She adds, “If you have refractive errors, use your glasses to avoid eye strain. Limit alcohol consumption, sugar intake and cigarette smoking. You can place cold cucumber slices, cold potato peels or cold wet tea bags on your under-eye area for 15 to 20 minutes every day.”
Sethi advises a retinol-based eye cream. “You want to boost collagen so fluid doesn’t accumulate in weak, aged skin.”
Dermatologists say that the biggest issue people come into their clinics with, as they age, is wrinkles. No wonder then that the anti-ageing sector is booming, with the anti-ageing cosmetics market valued at USD 17.28 billion (and growing).
You can’t really defy how nature flows. The only thing we can do is perhaps smoothen the process a bit.
In the early stages, a good hydrating and anti-ageing cream (like retinol and hyaluronic acid) can help slow it down.
Kapoor says that there are procedures involving Botox, injectable fillers and carbon dioxide laser resurfacing that are very effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.