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Which serum is safe to use around the eyes?

Young woman applying eye serum with a serum dropper.

What is eye serum?

The aging process affects every part of the body, including the eyes — in both an eye health and cosmetic sense. 

Crow’s feet, wrinkles and bags under the eyes are some of the most common beauty concerns for people, and many look to various treatments to address them. Eye serum is a popular solution for aging eyes because it’s affordable, accessible and easy to use. 

But are eye and face serums safe for use near the eyes, and are they effective? In short, many topical products are generally safe and can be beneficial to the user. However, the results may vary from person to person, and some chemicals found in these products have the potential to cause irritation.

Eye serum and who needs it

Eye serum is often marketed to those with wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of maturing skin. While many people are fond of these products, not everyone “needs” to use them — they are cosmetic, not medical.

People with certain eye and skin concerns may opt for eye serums to improve their appearance and noticeable side effects of their condition, but it’s not something that is medically necessary.

Can serum be used around the eyes?

Yes, serums, creams and other products can be used around the eyes, but it’s important to ensure that whatever you use is safe for that area. Some items have ingredients that may be too harsh to use around the eyes, especially for those with sensitive skin or certain conditions.

People with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as those with dry eyes and eyelid dryness, may not tolerate heavy products as well.

It’s also important to remember the following when applying serum or any other product near the eyes:

  • Wash your hands before and after application.

  • Avoid getting product in your eyes.

  • If you do get product in your eyes, rinse them thoroughly with lukewarm water and contact your doctor if you experience problems afterward.

  • Don’t use products after they expire.

  • Stop using serums that cause irritation or allergic reactions.

When in doubt, always consult your eye doctor or dermatologist for advice about using products around the eyes.

What does eye serum do?

Eye serum is designed to hydrate the area under the eyes, which can plump the skin up and diminish the look of aging. Some special ingredients may also actively work to prevent the nerves from signaling to the muscles, which limits the motions needed to form wrinkles.

The most common reasons people choose an eye serum for anti-aging include:

  • Puffiness

  • Fine lines and wrinkles

  • Bags under the eyes

  • Roughness

Eye serums, creams and gels may help with the appearance of these unwanted features when they are used regularly.

RELATED READING: Eyelash serum and how it works

Does eye serum really work?

Research has shown that using an eye serum can produce noticeable results in as little as four weeks. However, the results from eye serums and related products may vary from person to person, depending on the frequency of use and each person’s individual skin type. 

Additionally, eye bags can actually be inherited in some cases, which can limit the effectiveness of serums if they are being used to conceal or decrease the appearance of the bags.

It is important to note that eye serum can sometimes cause unwanted side effects for some people. If you experience irritation, an allergic reaction or other uncomfortable effects, stop using the serum immediately and consider trying a different product. Contact a medical professional if the effects are serious.

Which eye serum is the best?

When it comes to eye serums and eye creams, the effectiveness seems to come down to the ingredients on the label. 

According to research, certain ingredients provide superior results. One study found that using products containing these ingredients helped reduce the look and depth of wrinkles in as little as four weeks’ time.

The following top-rated components can be found in various products:

  • Retinyl propionate or retinol

  • Niacinamide

  • Pal-KT, Pal-KTTKS and acetyl hexapeptide-3 peptides

  • Carnosine

  • Antioxidants

  • Caffeine

  • Sun protection factor (SPF)

  • Hyaluronic acid

Eye serums that often have high ratings include:

  • The Ordinary Eye Serum; specifically the Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%

  • Verso Super Eye Serum

  • Sudden Change Eye Serum

  • Crepe Erase 4-in-1 Renewal Capsules

Always check with your eye doctor and dermatologist before using a topical product around your eyes. 

Alternatives to eye serum

Eye serum is used to improve the appearance of the skin under the eyes. Other methods work similarly and may provide comparable results. They may be worth trying instead of, or in addition to, the use of eye serum:

  • Cool compresses can help with inflammation.

  • Placing caffeinated black tea bags over closed eyes can treat puffiness.

  • Hemorrhoid cream contains ingredients that can help reduce swelling of the skin, but it should be used with caution since it is not designed for use near the eyes.

  • Procedures such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels and under-eye filler can be used to reduce signs of aging around the eyes.

  • Cosmetic blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) is a surgical procedure that may decrease eye bags by tightening the skin under the eyes.

RELATED READING: Eyelid surgery: What it is, how much it costs, what the risks are 

Choosing the right product

Eye serums for wrinkles, dark circles and other cosmetic concerns have been popular for decades. Although many products on the market claim to be the best, research suggests that certain ingredients provide worthier results than others.

As with other cosmetic products, you may find that a particular eye serum is the most suitable for your personal needs, whether it is based on your eyes’ appearance, skin type or even your budget.

It is recommended that you see an eye doctor and/or dermatologist before using products around your eyes. Additionally, be sure to see an eye doctor regularly to support the overall health of your eyes.

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