Does Under Eye Cream Work for Dark Circles
No matter how many age-concealing makeup tricks you learn, correcting dark eye circles takes Houdini-level talent. Yet curiously, brightening creams are everywhere on the beauty market. So with all these options available, shouldn’t finding a solution be easy? Afraid not. The possibility of achieving any noticeable improvement depends on the severity of your discoloration and the sophistication of the treatment. If your last few efforts to cure your bags were a bust, it’s no wonder you’re skeptical about whether under eye cream works for dark circles.
For starters, the answer is yes. Under eye cream does work for dark circles but most products don’t perform well and individual results will vary. To find solutions that deliver real results, you’ve got to be extremely savvy about choosing skin care products. That’s why we enlisted the wisdom of leading dermatologists to shed light on this shady matter.
What causes dark eye circles?
There’s never one simple cause for dark under eye circles. The reasons could range from avoidable factors like your lifestyle choices to unavoidable factors like your DNA. Here are the top three causes according to dermatologists.
1. Skin thickness
Skin thickness affects how much our dark circles show. According to Dr. Kenneth Howe, a board-certified dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology, “The under eye area can look purple or bluish because the skin there is so thin and translucent that you can easily see the underlying veins.” For this reason, if you have hollowness beneath your lower eyelids, it means there’s not enough fat less padding to cover up the discoloration.
Usually dark circles are a matter of “luck” in the genetic lottery. “Due to genetics and heredity, the skin beneath or around the eyes is actually a darker hue,” explains Dr. Eve Glazier, President of the UCLA Health Faculty Practice Group. Factors like your ethnicity and skin tone, which can make your eye sockets look more purplish or puffy, are influenced by your genes.
3. Lifestyle habits
Worn-out and sunken, dark eye circles say a lot about your lifestyle habits. “Poor diet, chronic lack of sleep, excessive use of alcohol or tobacco, physical exhaustion, certain medical conditions and allergies can all contribute to, or exaggerate, this effect,” says Dr. Glazier. These problems cause the blood vessels under and around the eyes to become dilated, adding to the illusion of darker pigmentation.
Does under eye cream work for dark circles?
Let’s be realistic: not all under eye creams work for dark circles. The level of correction you can expect depends on the depth of your hollows and whether the formula you’re using is advanced. How will you know? It will deliver three main cosmetic criteria: brighten, hydrate and tighten.
Pick your beauty battles — trying to brighten blackened, deep-set eyes is extremely difficult. But it’s not impossible. The course of treatment should focus on an under eye cream that boosts circulation, while keeping your expectations realistic.
To increase blood flow beneath the lower lid, an eye cream should contain stimulating natural ingredients. “Available are a range of creams that contain vitamin C, caffeine and retinoids to build collagen and constrict blood vessels,” says Dr. Glazier. It’s like an energy drink for your skin tone; you’re encouraging blood flow and draining away the blue tones from under your eyes.
Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer agrees and recommends applying “antioxidants, or something called coffee berry caffeine or green tea.” These natural ingredients stimulate circulation under your eyes to help relieve puffiness and pigmentation. For this type of treatment, Dr. Emer tells his clients to use the EMK Radical Eye Cream. Made with bioplacenta, sea kelp and green tea , this formula works to improve radiance, brightness and firmness.
It’s like an energy drink for your skin tone; you’re encouraging blood flow and draining away the blue tones from under your eyes.
Like watering a wilted plant, tired-looking eyes need hydration. To soak up your skin with fluids and nutrients, you should use an eye cream that focuses heavily on moisture.
“Hyaluronic acid and glycerin help pull moisture into the epidermis,” says Dr. Heidi Waldorf, a board-certified dermatologist and owner of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics. Using eye creams that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin will fortify the skin with water. You’ll notice a plumping effect that helps minimize the look of dark circles.
For those who live in cold climates, hydrating eye creams are even more vital. The seasonal air gets drier, causing the skin around your eyelids to lose moisture. “Essential oils are particularly helpful at hydrating and restoring the skin,” suggests Dr. Zainab Laftah, a dermatologist at the London Dermatology Centre. However, warm climates can also deplete moisture levels under the eyes. “Ultraviolet light can worsen pre-existing pigmentation,” she adds. Therefore, applying sunscreen is important in your daily skin care.
It’s no secret that our skin deflates with age. If we compare our skin to a shrinking balloon, you can picture how it eventually becomes flat and wrinkly. Our under eyes go through a similar process, but instead we’re losing collagen — the protein that gives our skin elasticity and bounce, according to Patricia Farris, MD, a clinical associate professor at Tulane University School of Medicine.
An under eye cream that focuses on skin tightening can help improve the overall look of your dark circles. “Retinol, a game changer, is your go-to ingredient for preventing fine lines," says Dr. Laftah. By repairing and increasing collagen formation, it works to decrease fluid build-up and depuff. Dr. Lafta also suggests to avoid rubbing your eyes, which stretches and stresses the delicate tissues and can cause inflammation and capillary damage.
Key ingredients in under eye cream
Swollen, puffy eyes? Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe your skin and heal irritation and redness. This jelly-like substance is rich in enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids — all of which work to replenish your dark circles.
Giving our skin a dose of fresh antioxidants and botanicals helps detoxify and nourish the skin under our eyes. Extracted from berries or plants, these ingredients increase moisture and circulation to minimize the appearance of dark circles. Dr. Emer recommends botanicals like sunflower oil or kernel oil, ingredients that are high in linoleic acid, which moisturize and brighten dark circles.
In the battle against under eye circles, retinol is a key fighter. It’s a type of vitamin A that works by accelerating the cellular turnover process, revealing younger, fresher skin underneath. “This product does wonders for dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines”, says Dr. Shah. By stimulating the skin around the eyes on a deeper level, it’ll correct dark circles with varying levels of improvement based on your condition.
Known as the Hollywood breakthrough ingredient, bioplacenta is an anti-aging powerhouse ingredient.
This nutritious protein comes from the Agave cactus plant. After three decades of research, scientists have maximized its healing properties, making it the ideal ingredient for an under cream that works for dark circles. According to Life & Style Weekly, “Victoria Beckham keeps her face baby-smooth with EMK’s plant based placental extract which hydrates and protects the skin while diminishing fine lines.”
How to apply eye cream
Applying eye cream demands a delicate touch. The skin under our eyes is quite thin and prone to wrinkling and irritation, so it's best to be gentle.
Lightly dab the product onto the skin using your ring finger (because it uses the least amount of force). Make sure you’re not just treating beneath the lower eyelid where you see pigmentation. You should also be applying cream to the trough area — the spot between the lower eyelid and the cheeks. And finally, never neglect the brow bones and inner eye corners.
Whatever remedy you choose, it’s important to be realistic. The goal is to manage the condition, not reverse it. Even though under eye cream does work for dark circles, you should be practical about its limitations. And when all else fails, there’s always concealer.