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Eye Cream: Gimmick or Godsend?

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Most aestheticians and dermatologists will tell you that eye cream is basically moisturizer in a smaller (and more expensive) package. Go see for yourself; your eye cream probably has the same ingredients as your moisturizer or hydrating serum. This devastating fact is confirmed in an article on Well + Good: “I personally don’t use eye cream,” says Shirley Chi, MD, a California-based dermatologist. “I know some people swear by them, but there’s nothing in an eye cream ingredient-wise that’s different than a facial moisturizer.”

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your body, particularly the eyelids, where it's less than a millimeter thick. It's this fragility and constant movement in this area of the face (blinding, squinting, talking, smiling, etc) that is the reason why the skin around the eyes is usually the first to show signs of aging, i.e. wrinkles.

Even though there are doubts about the efficacy of eye creams in reducing puffiness, wrinkles, and dark circles, certain ingredients are good for your skin no matter what. Studies have shown that caffeine is probably the best ingredient to include in eye creams because it's a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows the blood vessels resulting from contraction of the muscular wall of the vessels, albeit only temporarily. But be careful! Studies have shown that the formula must contain at least 3% caffeine for it to be effective, and that anything less is probably not doing anything for you.

Gif from the movie Jennifer's Body, a girl with short brown hair wearing glasses is sitting at a table and says "It's true, it's on Wikipedia."

There are certain ingredients in eye creams you should try to avoid. Products that contain high levels of retinol or fragrance tend to be more irritating to the delicate skin around the eye, and most dermatologists agree that collagen doesn't sink into pores effectively and is a basically useless ingredient.

A good example of the precariousness of eye creams is Glossier Bubblewrap, their $25 "one-of-a-kind eye + lip plumping cream, specifically formulated to give these two zones the moisture and protection they require." In Bubblewrap, hyaluronic acid and squalane are the "plumping" agents, and they reported immediate results (the low hanging fruit of skincare), but nothing is said about the long term. In the end, you could get the same result by applying a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid or squalane under your eyes. According to a very in-the-know Reddit user; "Honestly, for $25 you can get a whole regimen from The Ordinary, which offers a $7 caffeinated eye serum or concentrated antioxidant."

There are a lot of gimmicks in skincare, and we're here to help you weed through the BS. Don't get us wrong, most of us here at SG own and use eye cream, and we want to believe in it's promises too.

Do you use an eye cream that you love? What are the ingredients? Share your review below.

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