Fact or Fiction: It is important to use a separate eye cream from a facial moisturizer.

Written by Amanda Azar, L.E., founder and executive artist at Azar Beauty

Facial skin is thinner and behaves differently than the skin on the rest of the body. The skin around the eyes, however, can be up to 90 percent thinner than the rest of the already delicate facial skin. Furthermore, the ocular area contains significantly fewer oil glands, which can cause dehydration and premature signs of aging. The eyes are sensitive to internal expressions and external environmental factors that escalate collagen breakdown within the skin. Habitual facial movements, like squinting, smiling, winking, looking surprised, and frowning, have a dramatic effect on the eye area. These expressions and other influences, including smoking, sun exposure, lack of sleep, and alcohol consumption, cause wrinkles around the eye (crow's feet).

Like other moisturizers, eye creams usually include two types of essential ingredients: emollients and humectants. Emollients including hyaluronic acid, squalene, paraffin, mineral oil, and cocoa butter, many of which have soothing and softening properties that can help give the skin a full appearance. On the other hand, humectants such as aloe vera gel, urea, glycerin, and other sugar polyols help the skin retain moisture. The body produces less collagen and elastin as it ages and its cellular turnover rate decreases. Active ingredients, like vitamin A derivatives (retinol), help boost collagen production while peptides (ceramide) and antioxidants (vitamin C) assist with collagen retention and elasticity improvement.

A vast majority of clients claim that under-eye darkness is one of their main aesthetic concerns. Thinning skin and dilated blood vessels increase the appearance of darkness under the eyes, especially near the tear ducts. Lightening ingredients, such as vitamin K, arnica montana, hydroquinone, licorice extract, and kojic acid, help diminish these shadows. Allergies, sinus problems, and lack of sleep cause a buildup of fluid, creating bags under the eyes. When focusing on this concern, skin care professionals should suggest a cold compress or products that have anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as caffeine, calendula, chamomile, and cucumber. Polymers are also added in some products for their tightening benefits, which reduce the appearance of puffiness and wrinkles.

Products that are specifically created for the eye area are typically free of excess fragrances; ophthalmologist-tested; and generally milder, since the eyelid skin is more sensitive to topical products. A pea-size amount of an eye cream, used consistently, should show optimal results within four-to-six weeks of use.

Does everyone need an eye cream? No. If clients are fortunate enough not to have dark circles, puffiness, or fine lines/wrinkles around their eyes, then a good quality facial moisturizer will keep the area hydrated. However, eye creams are specially formulated for the fragile skin around the eyes and provide great benefits if used properly. This statement is not fact or fiction; it is preference and depends on the client's needs.

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