Eye Creams Don’t Really Work. Here’s Why

If you’ve been wondering why that seemingly miraculous eye cream for dark circles and puffy eyes is not working for you, you need to read this.

Published On Sep 06, 2021 | Updated On Mar 05, 2024


Irrespective of the nature of your skin troubles, it’s not difficult to find a perfectly crafted solution in a bottle these days. Suffering from acne, there’s a salicylic acid toner to your rescue. Lines and wrinkles? Night cream with retinoids at your service. Plagued by dark circles and puffy eyes? There are a plethora of luxurious eye creams to choose from. Except, using an eye cream for dark circles and puffy eyes doesn’t really work.

Of all the products you invest in for blemish-free and glowing skin, that expensive tube of eye cream might just be a waste of money. And we’re going to tell you why.

“All eye creams do is hydrate and moisturise the under-eye area. Then depending on your under-eye concern, different creams have different functionalities. From dark circles and puffiness to wrinkles and crepey skin—no one eye cream can fix them all," says Dr Madhuri Agarwal, celebrity dermatologist and founder of Yavana Aesthetics Clinic (Mumbai).

What about the tall claims that almost every little tub of under-eye cream in the market comes with? Well, the answer is not as simple as you might expect. While a few eye creams for puffy eyes, dark circles, and wrinkles do offer some results—they are hardly permanent. That’s exactly why we are decoding what eye creams can and cannot do. Let’s get started.


“They can, however, soften the appearance of these signs of ageing when used consistently,” explains Dr Agarwal. But in order to get these anti-ageing benefits, you need to choose a formulation that has all the necessary ingredients. Dr Agarwal suggests what to look out for in eye creams:

Hyaluronic acid: It stimulates collagen and reduces the dry, wrinkly appearance of the under-eye area by giving volume and fullness.

Retinol: Yes, this ultimate anti-ageing ingredient can also be used on your under-eye skin. Retinol stimulates collagen and elastin and strengthens the skin around the eyes.

Peptides: Peptides help improve collagen and strengthen the eye area, so look for an eye cream that is formulated with Q10, aldavine, and/or tyrostat.

Let’s face it, most of us reach out for that expensive potion of eye cream with a gazillion fancy ingredients to get rid of pesky dark circles. Except, the remedy for dark circles cannot be bottled.

“Dark circles can be genetic or acquired—however, either one is difficult to correct,” explains Dr Agarwal. And even if you do find an effective eye cream for dark circles, the results are most likely to be temporary. “In fact, they are not going to be very noticeable, unless you also employ some major lifestyle modifications for long-term improvement,” she adds.

If you still want to opt for an eye cream for your dark circles, then choose one which has vitamin K, vitamin C, and/or other lightening agents such as liquorice, niacinamide, and azelaic acid.

If puffy eyes have got you down and you’re looking for a lift-me-up product, then you need to know that eye creams can only help to a certain extent.

“Eye creams offer partial reduction in the appearance of puffy eyes caused by external factors,” says Dr Agarwal. “However internal health issues such as thyroid dysfunction, allergies, or shifting of fat pouches under the eye cannot be addressed by eye creams,” she adds.

When it comes to choosing an eye cream for puffy eyes, certain ingredients work better than others. Look for a formulation that has caffeine, retinol, and/or vitamins A and E. “That said, if you have puffy eyes, I personally recommend using a chilled teabag or eye roller instead,” Dr Agarwal suggests.

Hopefully, by now you know that eye creams aren’t exactly the magic potions for your under-eye concerns as they are marketed to be. So, do you really even need one? Well, this is what Dr Agarwal has to say, “In my opinion, your regular facial moisturiser can be extended to the eye area for equally effective results. At best, you may require an additional eye moisturiser. If you are still an eye cream person, choose one which has ingredients suitable to treat your eye concern.” 

There is no denying that your under-eye skin needs some extra TLC—especially since it is thinner than the rest of your skin and has no oil glands. But using your regular moisturiser can keep it hydrated, especially if it has ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and squalene. So, instead of using tube after tube hoping for miraculous results, invest in a nourishing moisturiser that has all the magic elements you need for glowing skin. 


With hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamins C and K—this eye cream lends moisture to the under-eye area while fighting pigmentation.


Featuring the powerful peptide Q10, this eye cream works to prevent lines and wrinkles as well as boosting cell growth.


This formulation boasts of retinol and vitamin C—two ingredients that work together to combat wrinkles and pigmentation.


With caffeine and retinol, this eye cream soothes under-eye skin, boosts elasticity, and fights pigmentation.  


Loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and hydrolyzed collagen—this eye cream offers intense hydration and promises to reduce visible signs of ageing around the eye area. 


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