|Best Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin K, Peptides, Caffeine
|Adjunctive Treatments: Dermal fillers, lasers, Tixel
|Worse Ingredients: High strength topicals (irritation)
|Tips: Always diagnose the cause BEFORE treatments
What ingredients should I be looking for when I’m shopping for an eye cream?
The best eye creams have a combination of the following ingredients-
Caffeine: This changes blood flow in the thin skin of the under eye area, potentially reducing capillaries & veins that cause dark circles.
Peptides: In theory can improve dermal thickness & stimulate collagen production.
Vitamin K: Modulate blood flow, helping vascular cause of dark circles.
Retinol/Retinyl Aldehyde: Can act as an anti-oxidant as well as a powerful collagen enhancer.
Hyaluronic Acid: Is a hydrator with very little side effects.
Vitamin E: Also known as tocopherol is an antioxidant that is gentle on the skin.
Arbutin: Can reduce pigmentation.
Botanicals: Such as licorice root, bearberry, cranberry, & flavonoids are naturally occurring pigment correctors.
Do I really need a separate eye cream from my face cream—or can I use my face product?
Creams are designed specifically to suit their purpose. For the face, the consistency and texture will be different than for the eye. As the skin around the eye is the thinnest, formulations matter if you want to address specific concerns as listed below.
What ingredients should I look for if I would like to correct dark under eye circles?
Pigment correctors include hydroquinone (low concentration in this area), alpha arbutin, licorice, berry extracts, soy, flavonoids, azelaic acid, & kojic acid. These ingredients are most effective against secondary causes of pigmentation including melasma & post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. They are ineffective for the treatment of hereditary or constitutional pigmentation.
Most cases of dark circle will benefit from a combination of eye creams, lasers, peels, & dermal fillers.
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What ingredients would I look for if I have prominent blood vessels around the eyes?
Two stand out ingredients are Vitamin K & Caffeine, these ingredients can modulate blood flow around the eye area. You may get marginal improvement with this combination. Other treatments that I employ for vascular causes of pigment include pulse dye laser, long pulse NdYag laser as well as IPL/BBL.
What ingredients are best for eye wrinkles & anti aging?
Look for the ingredients such as retinol, retinaldehyde, as these build collagen. Antioxidants are powerful preventers of skin aging & include vitamin C, E, ferulic acid, niacinamide, & green tea.
Formulations matter, especially in this area as too high a concentration will lead to skin irritation.
What skin care should I consider if I have dry & itchy eyelid skin?
A bland one ! If you have sensitive skin, avoid all actives including retinol, ascorbic acid, & ‘eye cream’ specific ingredients. A safe & soothing solution is to use Hyaluronic Acid formulations. A great moisturiser for itchy eyes is Refresh Paraffin Ointment.
If you have a history of skin irritation on your eyelids, your first port of call is a medical dermatologist (not me!). The cause of eyelid irritation can be due to endogenous dermatitis such as atopic or seborrheic dermatitis, exogenous, including allergic or irritant contact dermatitis or a combination of all three. In some cases patch testing to allergens & your personal products are recommended. @cutis_dermatology has many experienced medical dermatologists to assist in investigations & treatment of eyelid eczema.
What is the best way to treat under eye wrinkles?
Definitely not creams! Topicals are useful in prevention, but not reversal. This is why you don’t see many before & afters with creams alone, because they simply do not work! Effective treatments for eye wrinkles include-
- Injectables like Botox & dermal fillers
- Lasers including Fraxel, Fractional Laser Resurfacing, eCO2, dermal toning
- Tixel non-laser light based collagen remodelling
- RF including Thermage, Pelleve, Tempsure
- Chemical peels such as VITA peels, AHAs, Jessner & TCA peels
For an obligation free consultation, book with my clinical team @cutis_dermatology
Does it matter if I have been using face cream around my eyes?
If it’s a face cream with no active ingredients, then it may hydrate the skin. Example is Hyaluronic Acid based creams & serums. Different story if it is a potent active like retinoic acid, hydroquinone, ascorbic, lactic, glycolic or kojic acids. These skin ingredients have the potential to cause significant irritation to the eye area.
If you are using skin care actives on other areas of your face you have three options for the eye area-
- Avoid the area all together. Great option especially if you are using retinoids.
- Dilute the actives with a bland under eye moisturizer. Start off with a ¼ dilution, moving up to ½ dilution as tolerated. As always, conduct a test patch with a small area under one eye, use a cotton bud applicator.
Buy an eye cream specific to the problem you would like to correct.
Do I need a serum & eye cream or just one product?
Just one product should suffice, depending on whether you prefer a cream or a serum. Whatever you do, do not double up, as this will probably lead to skin irritation.
Does it matter how I apply my eye product?
Apply eye cream onto the eyelids and underneath the eyes but not too close to the lashes because even eye creams can irritate the eye if you go too close. The motion with fingers is not important—dabbing or circling generally won’t make any difference. As always, conduct a patch test if you are adding a new eye cream to your routine. I recommend starting every second night, increasing the amount & frequency of application as tolerated.
Davin’s ProTip on Eye Creams
The most important thing to understand regarding eye creams is that the majority of eye creams are a waste of time, effort & money. A cream that clinically reverse ageing or dark circles does not exist. Creams however are useful in prevention, take for example cases of skin irritation, dry skin, or dehydrated eyelids. The use of simple bland topicals such as hyaluronic acid, paraffin, petrolatum or squalene can make a huge difference in repairing skin barrier function. Antioxidants are useful in prevention not reversal of wrinkles & pigmentation.
In the context of dark circles, creams play a synergistic role with procedures such as lasers, & dermal fillers. At best, creams can reduce or modulate blood flow & pigment production by 10-20%, giving marginal clinical effects. The most important factor to consider when treating the under eye area is the diagnosis, as this will give rise to precise treatments. Be guided by your skin expert.
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