Can eye creams contribute to fine lines and wrinkles? A doctor reveals the answer.

It’s a skincare reality check- that eye cream you’ve been faithfully applying might not be the miracle worker you hoped for. In fact, it could be playing a part in the wrinkles, fine lines, and dark circles you’re trying to combat. In the skincare world, where marketing claims are rampant, it can be tough to figure out which products really work and whether we actually need to use eye cream in our skincare routines.

We spoke to global skin doctor and cosmetic formulator at SkincarebyDrV, Doctor Vanita Rattan, who shares how your eye cream could be causing wrinkles and what to look for when shopping for your skincare.

How do eye creams contribute to fine lines and wrinkles?

Eye creams can contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles due to their formulation and ingredients. Many eye creams function as basic moisturisers, containing only one key active, such as Niacinamide. Often, there is a smaller quantity of product, but eye creams are sold to consumers at a multiple of the cost. The reality is, eye creams are very difficult to formulate as there needs to be a delicate balance of high-strength actives to combat ageing concerns. These should ideally include collagen stimulators that penetrate the dermis, antioxidants to combat free radicals that could damage collagen, tyrosinase inhibitors to address dark circles, and humectants to lock in moisture and prevent under-eye shallowness with age. Many eye creams on the market have a low percentage of weak actives, and therefore won’t do much for anti-ageing. As well as this, while moisture is essential, some companies compensate for the lack of oil glands around the eyes by incorporating rich oils into their formulations. This can weigh down the delicate skin tissue and can weaken elastin fibers, causing premature wrinkles. Therefore, I recommend avoiding ingredients such as olive oil or petroleum jelly, found in natural eye creams. It’s important to be cautious with these ingredients near the eyelashes, as they could block gland ducts and lead to styes or other eye conditions.

What should we avoid when purchasing an eye cream?

Avoid eye creams that contain irritants, like essential oils and fragrances, which can damage the sensitive skin around the eyes and cause premature ageing. Denatured alcohol is another irritant which is used in many eye creams to help them dry quickly, however this ingredient can aid transdermal water loss and strip the skin of its essential moisture. Skin of colour demands a more targeted eye cream formula, as melanocytes are easier to trigger and can cause hyperpigmentation. It’s important to avoid potent Vitamin A derivatives and instead, select milder concentrations like 0.1% Retinaldehyde and 0.1% Retinol for your eye cream to prevent hypersensitivity.

Finally, packaging also plays a part in how effective an eye cream can be. I would avoid eye creams packaged in a tub or container. Airless pump packaging for eye creams is superior due to its ability to preserve active ingredients by minimising exposure to air, preventing oxidation. This is crucial to stabilise sensitive active ingredients, increasing the efficacy of the eye cream and contributing to a longer shelf life. As airless pumps are in a sealed environment, there is also a reduced risk of contamination, and it is more hygienic.

Do we really need an eye cream in our skincare routines?

At a younger age, the skin around the eyes tends to be more resilient. During this time, the skin naturally produces plenty of collagen, a protein that keeps it plump and elastic, minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. So, addressing these concerns with an eye cream isn’t essential. Gentle cleansing twice a day, moisturiser and SPF is enough for hydration and preventative care. Using too much product, even if labelled “gentle,” can lead to irritation, puffiness, or milia (small white bumps).

As we get older, the skin around the eyes becomes thinner and weaker. This is because we lose 1% of our collagen production every year from mid 20’s onwards, which can lead to loss of volume around the eyes and the development of wrinkles. At this point, it is best to incorporate an eye cream into your skincare routine and 8g of Hydrolysed Marine Collagen daily.  Even if you do not notice any fine lines during your mid 20’s, eye creams can be useful as prevention. I formulated the Triple Action Eye Cream as my go-to product because, in my search, I haven’t come across any eye cream in the market that effectively tackles the three main ageing issues (dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines) without causing irritation.

How should we apply our eye creams?

After you have prepped the skin, pump the eye cream onto your fingertips and then rub your fingertips together, to ensure even distribution of the product. Gently pat the cream under your eyes and onto your eyelids so it absorbs into the skin. Vigorously rubbing your eye cream on can stretch the delicate skin, leaving you vulnerable to under-eye bags or more fine lines developing. It’s important to note that eye creams can take between 8-12 weeks to see what the full results may be, so be consistent with your application and patient with your skincare journey.

If you have eczema, instead of opting for an eye cream with collagen stimulators, the focus should shift to adding fats and humectants into your under-eye skincare. This will help prevent exacerbating dry skin and minimise the risk of wrinkle by hydrating the skin. I would recommend applying a Calm Balm fatty stick with your fingertips to gently occlude the skin barrier to trap water underneath and lock in moisture.


About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4262 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.