According to dermatologist Dr. Sheila Farhang, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics, eye creams can provide real benefits if you choose the right product and ingredients.
"In my opinion, you really should invest in the product you're putting on your eyes daily because [the eye area] is the thinnest skin on our body and is super sensitive to allergens/irritation and you want it to work and have science to back it up -- especially for the anti-aging/fine lines targeting ones," Farhang said.
There are so many different concerns to address when it comes to an eye cream, so should you expect to find one that can do it all? Probably not, according to Farhang. "While some eye creams can address a few issues at once I haven't found one that is an all-in-one targeting every single issue, and that's OK," she said. Depending on your concern, you'll want to look for specific types of products and ingredients to target issues, which Farhang breaks down below.
Puffiness: The first thing Farhang recommends for puffiness is products that have a cooling effect -- either from placing them in a fridge before use or some have metal applicators that help with the cooling sensation. The second key ingredient that you'll find in many products for under eye puffiness is caffeine. "I recommend looking for ingredients such as green tea or caffeine as they help constrict the vessels causing the water retention in the area," she said.
Fine lines: "For fine lines -- I recommend looking for an eye cream that has retinol or peptides and growth factors. These actively help treat and prevent," Farhang said. "While hyaluronic acid is not really an active anti-aging ingredient, it will help fade some of those fine lines because the ingredient attracts water and almost 'fill them in' temporarily," she said.
Dark circles: Lots of people think you get dark circles from lack of sleep -- but the issue is a lot more complicated than that. "Dark circles are caused by several things -- one reason for this may be just thinner or duller skin in the area as a result of aging, so using an anti-aging route with retinol can help strengthen the skin," Farhang said.
"Another reason for dark circles may be the vessels showing underneath, so in that case caffeine may help. If the dark circles are from hyperpigmentation, skin brightening ingredients such as vitamin C may be helpful," Farhang said.
Other factors like allergies and skin conditions like eczema can also come into play with dark circles. "If hyperpigmentation is from chronic rubbing from allergies or eczema then lots of hydration and moisturization is needed, or antihistamines," she said.
If you think dark circles are due to a shadowing from hollowness in the eye area, Farhang recommends focusing on strengthening the skin with anti-aging products like those with retinol to help.