Tightening my under eyes and upper eyelids had never been a concern for me until I hit my mid-twenties. As I started to etch closer to 30, I gradually began to lose fat and collagen around my eyes causing them to look more hollow, droopy, and tired. I was frequently being asked, “didn’t you get enough sleep?” or “you seem exhausted?” Most of the time I wasn’t actually exhausted. My fresh, youthful, and plump eyes had been replaced by a permanent baggy look. I had even thought about anti-aging creams or treatments until I started experiencing this lack of elasticity around my eyes. Until then, I was focused on acne, hyperpigmentation, and reversing sun damage. Incorporating eye-tightening creams was never a priority, I rarely used an under-eye cream let alone a hyper-focused one.
So, when it came to finding the right solution to tighten my eye area, I tested a plethora of creams, serums, and tools to help slow the signs of aging. But my journey to tightening my eye area only started with eye cream, and for me, there wasn’t one magic cream that fixed it all, either. Incorporating hydration, tools such as gua sha, microneedling and microcurrent, healthy sleep habits, and supplements in conjunction with an eye cream is what I found to be the holy grail of tightening and lifting my eyes. If I strayed away from not combining all these things, I noticed a huge difference in appearance.
So, Do We Actually Need an Eye Cream?
I asked Dr. Nancy Samolitis, co-founder of Facile, and Kerry Benjamin, aesthetician and founder of Stacked Skincare, why we actually need eye creams, best practices, and their favorites when it comes to tightening the eye area. Dr. Samolitis explained that the skin around the eyes often shows signs of aging before other areas of the face or body, including loss of collagen and elasticity (which is what I was experiencing). This leads to a darkened appearance, dull, crepey skin, and fine wrinkles. Some people genetically have excess fat under the eyelid skin and this can also be more pronounced with aging and sun damage leading to the appearance of under eye “bags.”
Since the skin around your eyes is far thinner and more delicate than the other skin on your face, Benjamin shared that this ares is also prone to dehydration but generally requires lighter moisturizers because of the risk of milia—the tiny, white, difficult-to-remove bumps that can be caused by using rich moisturizers around the eye area. She recommended investing in an eye serum loaded with active ingredients. Eye serums are lighter in texture, which means they penetrate the skin and deliver anti-aging ingredients more effectively. They also generally contain a higher concentration of active ingredients than eye creams, which means you’ll see faster results.
Both Dr. Samolitis and Benajmin emphasized starting sooner than later when it comes to preventive treatments. Incorporating a tightening cream in your mid-20s could save you from needing intensive treatments in the future. As far as the frequency of use, twice a day is recommended unless there is an active ingredient such as retinol that could cause irritation. But what is the best way to actually apply eye cream? The rationale behind using your pinky finger or ring finger to apply eye cream is due to the importance of a gentle tapping motion rather than pulling on the skin, explains Dr. Samolitis. And Benjamin agrees. If you pull or tug when applying eye cream it can lead to bagginess and sagginess.
And what about treatments to tighten the eye area?
Beyond eye creams, Dr. Samolitis often uses in-office medical treatments like microneedling, laser resurfacing and PRP treatments that can improve the under-eye skin by repairing sun-damaged cells and producing new collagen to thicken the delicate tissue. Benjamin suggests at-home tools to pair with their cream or serum such as a derma roller to help stimulate collagen and plump the skin along with an ice roller to give you a temporary tightening effect while reducing puffiness.