Grow Up and Get an Eye Cream
by Brittany Fischer
Is it ever too early to start using eye cream? For a while I convinced myself that I’m in my twenties and I probably shouldn’t be messing with that stuff yet. My logic was that if I start too early, I might build up a resistance to the active ingredients. Then, when I really needed it, I would be immune. I know, I’m kind of an expert at making excuses that provide reasoning for why I shouldn’t be doing something. For example, I really shouldn’t go running because it’s like, a very high-impact activity and I know a lot of girls who have developed knee problems from it. It’s bad for you, actually, when you really think about it. Ha.
But today is the day this nonsense ends, once and for all. First off, I’m going on my first real run tomorrow morning. (What?! I was tired this morning!) And second, I’ve ordered an eye cream that is all set to arrive at my door this evening. I spent my lazy Sunday eating delicious freshly-picked apples, laying in my hammock, and google-ing the best ingredients for the undereye region. Here’s what I found.
The first step is to identify which type of problem you’ve got going on beneath your peepers. If you don’t have any problems, I think you’re probably lying, but I invite you to stop reading here because you’re practically perfect in every way. Congrats! For the rest of us, let’s figure this out.
Blue or green circles (picture my hand shooting up!): Luckily I’m not dealing with the next three issues just yet, but this one is unfortunately one of the more difficult issues to treat. These kind of dark circles simply mean your that blood is showing through your skin. Blood pools up here, especially when you’ve been lying down for a while, and since the skin is super thin, we can see it. As we age, we lose more and more fat under the eye, making the skin even thinner and the blueness more and more obvious. Joy. The best way to deal is by using Retinol, which is basically the best thing ever and your skin’s new best friend. My dermatologist is obsessed, and he told me that the results are unbelievable. He said that there were tons of women who used Retinol on their faces for years and have gorgeous skin, but they forgot their necks–and their necks are disasters. It was obviously a mistake, but it ended up proving the amazing difference that Retinol makes. Basically, Retinol contains Vitamin A derivatives that clear your skin, speed cell turnover, and boost collagen production. Collagen production under the eye is perfect for the girl comme moi, who needs to thicken up that zone.
*HOWEVER, if you have sensitive skin, you are going to have to ease into this big time. Retinol can cause redness, dryness, and flakiness, and many people jump ship early because they can’t deal with the initial reaction. The key is to begin by using it only every third night, then increase to every other, and eventually use each night. If you hang in there long enough to let your skin adapt, you’ll see the amazing results. Slow and steady wins the race, girlfriend–don’t forget it! Now, if you absolutely refuse to deal with Retinol, your best bet is going to be a product containing peptides and hyaluronic acid, which will plump the skin similarly.*
Fine lines: Retinol is great for fine lines too, since it speeds up cell turnover. Think of it as a chemical peel that’s happening at a slower, less insane rate. According to Oprah.com, fine lines are, “about 20% genetic and 80% environmental (in other words, brought on by the sun and smoking).” Well, that’s kind of terrifying. I thought I was safe because my skin is oily. According to this article, the sun is the real culprit, so it’s key to wear a strong SPF–you know, the depressing ones that you can’t tan through. You already knew that. I already knew that. Why oh why do we still spend our summers laying out on the beach? Will we ever learn?!
Dark skin or Age Spots: Okay, I made a huge mistake here. I confused my blue circles for dark skin, and started using Murad’s Lighten and Brighten Eye Treatment religiously for months and months. The blueness kept getting worse, so I applied more and more product. Eventually I figured it out–I was bleaching my skin! This product is for people whose actual skin beneath their eyes is dark (generally, this is a common problem for darker complexions), so I was doing the exact opposite of what I should have been doing. The thing is, its claim is that it “reduces dark circles by 59%.” Not really very clear. But what I can say is that this product works–the skin under my eyes was a strange combination of paper white and completely transparent, so I know the active ingredient, which is 1.5% Hydroquinone, is totally effective. What it can do, very well, is lighten melanin-based skin discolorations. What it can’t do is address blood vessels showing through the skin. Lesson learned.
Puffiness: For some strange reason (and hey, I’m not complaining), this has never been an issue for me, even after a wine-filled evening. My boyfriend, however, will have a few drinks and wake up looking like someone injected him in his sleep. He’ll have two perfectly puffy little pillows under each eye, and while I find it kind of adorable, he does not. The benefit of dating a Beauty Correspondent? I treat his eyes like they’re my own. I’ve tried all sorts of little samples on him, and what I’ve discovered is that the best way to reduce puffiness is to use a gel or serum with a cooling effect, which also feels really nice. You can do this by refrigerating it, or by purchasing one that comes with a metal applicator, or (ideally) doing both. As of late, we’ve been using “Lancôme Génifique Yeux Light-Pearl Eye-Illuminating Youth Activating Concentrate.” While its name is just absurdly, outrageously, laughably fancy, I have to it admit it works like a charm. But after reviewing the ingredients, I’ve come to the conclusion that I think it’s just because of the coolness. A cold, wet rag or some cucumber slices would be just as effective. The one ingredient that is said to make a difference is caffeine because it tightens the skin while simultaneously addressing the fluid retention, so that’s next on our list to try. (Jon, please don’t kill me for revealing all this to the world.)
Those were my findings, but like I said, I’m new to the eye cream scene, so I’m curious: what are your favorite ingredients and products for addressing the dreaded undereye region?