Crash Course: Everything You Need To Know About Eye Cream

There are dozens of face products on the market, and it’s hard to know if you really need an eye cream. It might seem a lot like the facial moisturizer you already use—sometimes, the ingredients are even similar. Why would you also use an eye cream?

The answer is simply that the skin around your eyes is much more delicate than the rest of your face. It tends to develop fine lines, wrinkles, and under-eye discoloration faster than other areas. Eye creams are formulated to protect and treat the skin around your eyes.

Why Should You Use Eye Cream?

Because the skin around your eyes is thin, it’s prone to damage and allergic reactions. You’ll likely notice signs of aging around your eyes before seeing them anywhere else. After all, your eyes move and change expressions more than any other part of your face, and all that motion adds up.

Face lotions aren’t designed for this tender area. They contain active ingredients in concentrations that can damage delicate skin. This is especially true of anti-aging lotions that contain retinoids and exfoliating oils. You really can have too much of a good thing—high doses of these wrinkle fighters can cause irritation and dryness around your eyes.

Eye creams are formulated to hydrate, treat, and restore the delicate skin around your eyes. They may contain anti-aging and exfoliating ingredients, but they’re found in low concentrations that don’t cause irritation. Dermatologists consider them a skincare must that should be used daily starting in your late 20s.

What Does Eye Cream Do?

Most people blink 15 to 20 times per minute or more than 15,000 times daily. All that movement is a lot of work for your eyes. That’s why you might notice crow’s feet beginning to form long before you see wrinkles on your forehead or cheeks.

Eye creams are designed to restore, rejuvenate, and protect the skin around your peepers. They hydrate deeply to provide much-needed moisture to the under-eye area, combatting puffiness and dull skin. They also contain plant extracts, amino acids, and oils that help repair skin damage. Of course, these ingredients are used in low concentrations that provide results without triggering sensitive skin.

Common Active Ingredients in Eye Creams

If you’ve shopped for eye cream, you know that there are a lot of options out there. Understanding what the most common active ingredients in these products are and how they’re used will help you make smart purchasing decisions. Remember that eye cream doesn’t need 100 ingredients to be effective.


This ingredient needs no introduction. It’s used in eye creams because it offers the same perk-up powers as its liquid relative, coffee. Spread a little caffeinated cream on your eyes, and your skin will instantly tighten and brighten. It’s a standard anti-aging ingredient you’ll almost always find in an eye cream for dark circles.

Green Tea

A powerful antioxidant, this natural plant extract helps fight damage from free radicals and sun exposure. It’s used in eye creams to control fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and discoloration. Green tea is also a popular ingredient because it soothes skin and protects it from irritation.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Did you know that this anti-aging powerhouse is already produced by your body? It’s a natural lubricant found in your joints and the fluids in your eyes. HA is added to eye creams (and other skincare formulas) because it has unparalleled hydrating powers. It also fights the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots.


Naturally derived glycerin can be used in everything from soaps to eye creams to dynamite. It helps build up the skin barrier and protects from dryness. In eye creams, glycerin is used to hydrate and plump dull skin.


The older we get, the less collagen we have. That means our skin loses elasticity and looks saggy, wrinkled, and brittle. Peptides help counteract all that by repairing skin and signaling it to increase collagen production.


Your eyes deserve round-the-clock protection, and that’s why ceramides are included in eye creams. They help build up the skin’s protective barrier so that the skin around your eyes stays hydrated and plump. Ceramides also prevent bacteria, pollutants, and toxins from irritating the delicate eye area.

Fatty Acids

You know you should eat omega fatty acids for heart health, but your skin can get a boost from these compounds too. They provide excellent hydration and protection from irritants. Omega-3 acids can also help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Retinol is a form of vitamin A. As such, it’s a powerful antioxidant that can help reverse existing damage and minimize future signs of aging. Be careful using retinol products around the eyes, though. The concentration of this ingredient in most face lotions is likely to irritate under-eye skin. It appears in very small amounts in some eye creams.

Vitamin C

Another powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is in many skincare products because it helps improve brightness and glow. A double-duty ingredient, this vitamin is also used as a stabilizer to ensure that eye creams stay fresh and deliver reliable results.


Moisturizers are only effective if they’re able to penetrate the skin beyond the surface level. Enter phospholipids. These fatty compounds help hydrating ingredients absorb more readily so they can restore and rebuild skin from the ground up.

When & How to Apply Eye Creams

For the best results, you should apply eye cream twice daily after washing your face. Most eye creams, including Upgrade and Immortal Eyes, are designed to be applied after your serums and moisturizers. Using your middle or ring finger, dab product all over your top and lower lid. If you’re using an eye cream during the day, be sure to follow it with sunscreen. Some of the active ingredients found in eye products leave skin vulnerable to sun damage.

Whatever your application technique or the product you choose, one thing matters: Don’t skip the eye cream. It’s an essential product that you can’t afford to leave out of your daily routine.