The Products That Really Reduce Puffy Eyes & Dark Circles

The skin around your eyes is five times thinner than the rest of your face, so it’s no surprise it can become puffy and dull. While there are numerous products and treatments on offer, only a handful truly yield long-term results – to find out which, we asked dermatologist and skincare expert, Dr. Sam Bunting for her honest advice.

First, Understand Why It Occurs

"Dark circles and puffiness are incredibly common – they’re also very hard to get rid of with skincare alone. The reason so many of us complain about these two issues is our eye area has the thinnest skin of anywhere on our body, and being entirely frank, most of the solutions go beyond the scope of skincare. However, there are a few key products that yield better results than others – the same goes for ingredients." 

Don’t Buy Into The Hype Of Eye Cubes 

"These new eye cubes on the market are essentially glorified ice cubes. They’re often a soothing combination of moisturising and calming ingredients and are designed to be put in the freezer, wrapped in gauze and then applied to the eye area. There is no doubt that ice can temporarily reduce swelling and puffiness – particularly in the morning or after intense crying, as cold temperatures cause constriction of blood vessels, in turn, reducing swelling. However, you could just carefully use ice cubes wrapped in a muslin cloth, because it’s very unlikely that the ingredients in these dedicated eye cubes will have much of an impact on the skin, given the short contact time, and the fact it has been frozen." 

Invest In Good Quality Serums 

"A serum is essentially a light, fluid consistency, which can deliver ingredients deep into the dermis. But it’s the actual ingredient in the serum that really counts. They’re a useful addition to any skincare routine because they layer up so well and target areas like puffiness efficiently. Vitamin C formulations are great, too. They work to assemble collagen and brighten, while preventing further damage to the delicate tissue in the eye area, thanks to their antioxidant benefits. I also rate niacinamide as it brightens and stimulates ceramide production, which in turn, helps to build collagen – all the things you need in this delicate eye area."

Remember, Hydration Is Paramount 

"Clients often ask how essential and effective eye creams are. In short, it depends on your individual skin type and needs. Generally, the eye area benefits from most of the ingredients that the rest of your face does, but the main consideration is this delicate section can be much dryer and more sensitive than the rest of your skin. So, while you don’t have to use a dedicated eye cream, they are useful if your skin is oily or dry. You’ll find you benefit from targeted, richer hydration in this instance. The same goes for those with sensitivity – a soothing formula may be helpful. Whatever you choose, the more hydration the better, as dryness will accentuate fine lines and darkness. Look for ingredients like shea butter, glycerine and hyaluronic acid if you do invest as all of these work to hydrate. Caffeine is great too as it does reduce puffiness, while a mild retinol (if tolerated) will help to diffuse fine lines and wrinkles." 

Use Eye Patches, But Sparingly 

"Using an eye mask can be soothing and help to temporarily improve puffiness. However, if an ingredient is worth putting on the skin, it’s usually worth leaving it on there. My issue with masks is that, often, they have relatively short contact with the skin, so products that can be massaged in and left to absorbed are preferable. That being said, some formulations and patches are now quite advanced, so it’s about shopping savvy. For instance, the patches in Radara are thought to produce micro-channels which allow product to penetrate deeper into the skin. Likewise, you can now buy ‘microneedling patches’ which tend to deliver formulations more efficiently and deeper into the dermis." 

Finally, Always Apply SPF 

"It’s an obvious statement, but it’s amazing how many people still skip SPF around their eye area. Likewise, how many people don’t take their SPF and creams right up to the lashline – this is crucial. The key to avoiding irritation is to use physical sunscreens as these tend to be less abrasive and don’t cause your eyes to water or feel sensitive."

Follow @DrSamBunting for more advice and skincare tips.

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