How Do I Choose an Eye Cream?

With the plethora of eye products available on the market, it can be confusing and difficult to choose the right eye cream for you. Devising a systematic approach to choosing your eye cream will help optimize your results and minimize adverse effects. There are three main issues you need to consider:

1.Do I have sensitive skin or can I tolerate stronger products?

This is a very important question to consider as eyelid skin is
particularly thin and can become easily irritated by various active ingredients in eye products.  For example, creams with alpha hydroxy acids or retinol can be very effective but will be irritating to those with sensitive skin and therefore should be avoided by these individuals.  In general, more moisturizing, hydrating, and gentle bases should be chosen.  Eyelid reactions can range from small itchy red patches to full blown redness and swelling that will require prescription medication for treatment. Conversely, individuals with oilier skin may be able to better tolerate products but may be more prone to developing blacheads, whiteheads, and small white bumps called milia from heavy moisturizer based products.

2. What are my goals for treatment?

Most people are looking to eye creams to address three main issues:
1. dryness, 2.  texture change and wrinkles, and 3. hyper-pigmentation.
It is best to determine what you are trying to achieve and pick active
ingredients that will appropriately help reach your goals as
delineated below.

3. What active ingredients should I look for?

Once you have determined your skin type and your goals, look for these
active ingredients to meet your needs:

-hyaluronic acid and ceramides:  These are molecules that are normal
components of healthy skin and help retain moisture and hydrate the
skin. They will help to treat dry skin issues and are well tolerated
even by sensitive skin.  Look for these actives to plump up the skin
for a more youthful look.

-peptides: These subunits of proteins are found in many eye creams and
penetrate the skin to stimulate collagen. They also have an
anti-inflammatory effect which is  may help to minimize free radical
damage that can result from sun and environmental factors.  Copper
peptides are one example of peptides found in eye creams that can
generally be used even in sensitive skin.

-anti-oxidants:  Vitamin C,  coffeeberry extract, green tea, and alpha
lipoic acid are some examples of anti-oxidants that can be used to
counter free radical damage. Those with sensitive skin issues can
usually tolerate the above listed anti-oxidants well.

-alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s) and retinol: AHA’s are derived from sugar and milk (glycolic acid and lactic acid respectively) and have been shown to stimulate collagen production over time. Similarly, retinol, which is a vitamin A related molecule, can also stimulate collagen production to thicken the skin.  However, both AHA’s and retinol can cause stinging and irritation and must be used with caution.

-kojic acid, hydroquinone: To address issues of dark circles or
hyperpigmentation, look for these active ingredients which have skin
lightening properties. Use may have to be limited by skin irritation.
Although they are not primarily skin lightening agents, AHA’s,
retinol, and vitamin C can also help to lighten hyperpigmentation.

High quality eye creams can be found at the phsycian’s office,
department store, or the drugstore at various price points. Don’t
forget that sun protection with sunscreen and sunglasses is also very
important in preventing damage and maintaining healthy skin around the eyes.

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