Here’s Why You Need an Eye Cream

Do you really need to wear eye cream? If you’re old enough to order a glass of rosé, the answer is yes — even if you aren’t seeing signs of aging just yet. “We start losing collagen even in our late twenties,” says Dr. Yunyoung Claire Chang, MD, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. “It’s better to start eye creams and preventative skin care before the problem starts.” Our thoughts exactly.

Eye creams actually are different from other moisturizers — because the skin around the eyes is different. “This is the thinnest skin on the body,” says Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist in NYC. There’s also little fat or muscle to help skin appear plump, and the skin is covering the eye socket (a literal hole in your skull!). In short, the skin needs all the help it can get. “Using a cream designed for these issues can help strengthen the skin under the eyes and keep it looking its best even under less-than-ideal conditions,” says Dr. Day. 

With that in mind, here’s our guide to the three most common eye issues.

Fine lines

When signs of aging begin to appear, they happen around the eyes, where thin skin is first to develop fine lines. “The eye area doesn’t have a lot of collagen to start,” Dr. Chang says. “As we mature and as we see environmental stressors like UV exposure and environmental pollution, we start losing collagen. This leads to skin laxity, fine lines, and wrinkles.” (The area is more prone to dryness and irritation, too, if you’re keeping score at home.)

Keeping skin hydrated is one aspect of preventing these fine lines, something that both derms say hyaluronic acid is best at for the eye area.

For existing fine lines, turn to the holy-grail ingredient — retinol. It increases cell turnover, which in turn reveals fresher skin, reduces dullness, and minimizes wrinkles. Here, it’s wise to choose a cream specifically for the eyes. “If there’s an eye cream with a retinol in it,” Dr. Chang says, “it’s formulated so that it’s more gentle.” 

Extra credit: Invest in an eye-safe SPF. (FYI, the Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen SPF 50 is ophthalmologist-tested and safe for use around the eyes.) You need to wear sunscreen to protect all of that fresh, smooth skin. But you were doing that already, right?

Undereye circles

First, the bad news: Dark circles are largely the luck of the genetic draw. “A lot of my patients complain about them,” Dr Chang says. “Those circles can really be due to multiple issues: loss of collagen, thinning of the skin, volume loss, and the blood vessels that give a purple or blue hue to the skin.” 

The good news: You might not be able to totally prevent them, but you can improve the appearance of dark circles. One powerful ingredient to do this? Vitamin C. Not only is it a tyrosinase inhibitor — meaning it blocks an enzyme essential to pigment production, helping to fade hyperpigmentation — but it also spurs collagen production. That can help thicken skin, which is a big deal since thinning skin (due to age) can make blood vessels more visible and, in turn, blood vessels darker. It’s basically a one-two punch of dark circle solutions. Niacinamide, a.k.a. vitamin B3, is a literally brilliant ingredient. “Niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant that has multiple benefits in the skin, including reduction of pigment and collagen stimulation,” Dr. Chang says. Along with reducing the look of pores, it brightens and helps renew the surface of skin — so discoloration is less prominent and eyes look smoother and more luminous overall. You can find it in both our Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Cream and the Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream, by the way.

Extra credit: Even with a solid skin-care regimen, never underestimate the value of a good concealer. Look for one with illuminating and/or color-correcting powers to offset the blue tones of those circles. 

Puffiness

There’s no single cause of undereye bags and swelling around the eyes, but puffiness is almost always a sign of fluid retention. “The skin on your eyes is covering the socket where your eyeball and the surrounding structures sit,” Dr. Day explains. “This makes it prone to swelling, since it doesn’t have much support. It can also be reactive, which makes it red and swollen when you have allergies and puffy when you’re dehydrated.” Salty meals, lack of sleep, and genetics play roles in how swollen they get as well.

Along with sleeping enough and monitoring your salt and alcohol intake — both of which help skin look its best anyway — a firming eye cream produces the most immediate improvements. “I like caffeine as an ingredient,” says Dr. Chang. “For patients who tend to swell around the eyes, it can temporarily help with the appearance.” Caffeine boosts microcirculation and reduces swelling — all of which help the eye area look smoother and less tired. And isn’t that the goal?

Extra credit: Gently massaging the eye area can help drain the fluid and bring down swelling. Apply a generous layer of your eye cream (*cough* Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Mask *cough*) and glide your fingers underneath your eyes in an outward motion. You can also do this with a face roller. Or, if your puffing is next level, pop two spoons in the fridge for an hour or so, then take them out and press them down on your eyes. The cold will provide an immediate, tightening effect that will temporarily bring down the severity of the puffiness.

We took all of this expertise into consideration when formulating for this delicate area. For starters, there’s the Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream, which we wanted to be the best overnight eye cream around. It has super-moisturizing hyaluronic acid, plus soothing and nourishing avocado oil to lock in that hydrating goodness. We went the extra mile and encapsulated our retinol, giving it a gradual release that makes it less irritating but still gives you the full-strength power of the ingredient, all-day long. And, we get our caffeine from antioxidant-rich coffeeberry to boost microcirculation and reduce swelling.

Then, there’s the Guava Vitamin C Eye-Bright Cream, which is designed to target both dark circles and puffiness. Instead of a rich, velvety cream, it’s a lightweight, gel-cream formula, which makes it ideal for daytime (under makeup) and in the evenings, if you prefer a more weightless feel. It works magic with a combination of five forms of vitamin C, which are encapsulated to ensure peak freshness, minimize sensitivity, and absorb more effectively into skin. You’ll also find niacinamide, which both calms inflammation and works alongside C to brighten skin and improve discoloration, as well as peptides and caffeine to depuff. And let’s not forget the namesake guava, which is jam-packed with both vitamin C and other potent antioxidants. That makes for the perfect day or night — or day-to-night — eye cream. 

Whether you choose between Avocado or Guava or decide to score the (many) benefits of both, they make the all-in-one, total package for bright, rested, smooth eyes.

Read more about eye cream:

SHOP THE LOOK

Glow Recipe

Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream

$42

https://www.glowrecipe.com/collections/avocado/products/avocado-melt-retinol-eye-sleeping-mask

Glow Recipe

Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream

$38

https://www.glowrecipe.com/products/guava-vitamin-c-bright-eye-gel-cream

Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen SPF 50

$34

https://www.glowrecipe.com/products/watermelon-glow-niacinamide-sunscreen-spf-50