They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. This makes the area around the eyes a very important part of our face. Unfortunately, this area can start to deteriorate quickly and begin to show signs of aging before the rest of our bodies. Proper care and prompt attention can help delay this deterioration. Recently, under-eye patches have become a popular treatment to rejuvenate this area.
The under-eye area contains the thinnest skin on the body and is the easiest to damage, thus requiring special care.
Several ingredients can help the under-eye area, such as retinol, kojic acid, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and niacinamide.
Look for under-eye patches that contain your target ingredients within the first 3-5 ingredients on the list.
Under-eye patches deliver higher concentrations of key ingredients for longer periods to increase penetration and give better results.
Studies are lacking on the long-term benefits of under-eye patches, but they may help temporarily.
Why is under-eye skin different?
The under-eye area is uniquely different than other areas of the skin. It is the thinnest skin on the body, making it the easiest to damage. The under-eye area is the first area on the face to show signs of aging or distress. Because it's so delicate it requires special treatments, products, and care to keep it looking healthy.
Under-eye area – causes of dark circles and wrinkles:
There are several causes for dark skin and wrinkles under the eyes. Genetics plays a role, but there are some other important factors.
- Sun damage. The sun stimulates the production of melanin leading to the darkening of the skin. It also produces free radicals, which break down collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles.
- Smoking and air pollutants. Pollution and smoking release free radicals too. They also contain harsh chemicals which have a negative impact on skin.
- Alcohol. Excess alcohol consumption causes dehydration, which gives the area a sunken and wrinkled look.
- Allergies and sleep. Allergies and a lack of sleep can lead to puffiness and darkening of the skin around the eyes.
Products for the under-eye area
Various ingredients can be helpful in the under-eye area to rejuvenate the skin. That includes the following:
- Retinol. It can increase collagen production to help fade wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps fade dark spots.
- Kojic acid. These can interfere with pigment (melanin) production to fade dark spots.
- Caffeine. It can help remove water that can lead to puffiness around the eyes.
- Shea butter/squalene/ceramides. These are great moisturizers that can also help repair the skin's barrier function to avoid dehydration.
- Hyaluronic acid. This is a humectant moisturizer that pulls in and holds onto water to hydrate the skin.
- Niacinamide. It helps fade dark spots, moisturize the skin, and protect the skin from free radical damage resulting in collagen breakdown and wrinkles.
As with all skincare products, there are certain ingredients to avoid in your under-eye products since they can irritate the skin. Even if the product says "all-natural" it can still cause problems. Remember, poison ivy is natural. So here are the ingredients that harm the under-eye area:
- Citrus oils
What to look for in an under-eye patch
To determine if your under-eye patch is worth the money, you must read the ingredient list carefully. Usually, the first 3–5 ingredients in the list are present in the highest concentrations. If the ingredient you are looking for — such as kojic acid — is not one of the first 3–5 ingredients, you will not be getting a potent product, and it is not worth the money. The only exception is retinol. It can be found in small concentrations and still be beneficial.
Side effects of under-eye patches
Any skincare product can have side effects, especially for those with sensitive skin or eczema.
- Sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin or eczema, always do a test spot first on your forearm to determine if your facial skin will tolerate it. Any product can cause irritation or an allergic reaction.
- Follow the guidelines. Always read and follow the directions. Only leave the patches on for the recommended time, otherwise it could irritate your skin. Also, only use it as often as recommended because overuse can irritate the skin. More is not always better when it comes to skincare.
- Signs of irritation. If you develop any signs of a reaction, stop the product. Look for redness, flaking skin, itching, or burning. These could be signs that the product is harming your skin.
Do under-eye patches work?
There are limited studies on the long-term benefits of using under-eye patches. You may experience temporary results from them. If you are consistent with their use, you may experience some long-term benefits. Theoretically, under-eye patches deliver higher concentrations of key ingredients for longer periods, so they should be superior to just using an under-eye cream.
Keeping your under-eye area healthy
You can nourish your skin from the inside out with healthy lifestyle choices benefitting you internally and giving you that youthful glow.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat a well-balanced diet rich in antioxidant fruit and vegetables
- Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine, and salt
- Do not smoke
- Protect your skin while you are outside in the sun
Professional treatment options
If the under-eye patches and proper lifestyle choices are not delivering the results you want, do not worry. There are other professional treatment options to improve the area.
- Injectable dermal fillers
- Laser treatments
- Chemical peels
- PRP/PRF with or without micro needling
The under-eye area has delicate skin that is easily damaged. It requires extra care and special treatment. Under-eye patches can help improve the appearance, at least temporarily. More studies are needed to see if long-term permanent improvement is possible.
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. The tricky tear trough: a review of topical cosmeceuticals for periorbital skin rejuvenation.
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Comprehensive treatment of periorbital region with hyaluronic acid.
- Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. Acquired hyperpigmentations.
- Dermatologic Surgery. Treatments of periorbital hyperpigmentation: a systematic review.