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Is face oil safe to use around the eyes?

woman putting on face oil near her eyes

Can I use face oil near my eyes?

In short, yes, cosmetic oils can be used around your eyes — but they must be applied very carefully so they do not get into your eyes. It’s also critical to review the ingredients on each product you use to ensure none are harmful to your eyes or too harsh for your skin in general.

As you are browsing through products, you may find both “face oils” and “eye oils.” While face oils are considered safe to use on the entire face, eye oils are usually designed to be more suitable for the sensitive skin around your eyes. Whichever you choose should still be used cautiously. 

In the progressing world of beauty and cosmetics, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of face and eye oils before adding them to your skin care routine. Here are some things to keep in mind on your quest for the next best cosmetic oil product:

What are face oils and eye oils?

Products for the face that contain ingredients such as rosehip oil and argan oil often claim they are soothing, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory, among various other pleasing benefits. But while they may improve or reduce the look of wrinkles, it’s important to be cautious when using oils close to your eyes.

Although face oils can provide advantages for your face, they can sometimes be irritating for eyes — especially if they are not specifically designed for such a sensitive area. If you have sensitive skin or eyes, you may want to consider a product that is formulated for the eye area, such as an eye oil, rather than a general face oil.

Before purchasing (and applying) any kind of oil to your face, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is it labeled safe for use near the eyes?

  • Is it designed or recommended for use anywhere on the face?

  • Does this product have a high concentration of any irritating or potentially harmful substances?

  • Do you have any doubts about the product?

Always use your best judgment when selecting a face or eye oil (or any cosmetic), and ask for advice from your dermatologist or eye doctor if you are unsure of its quality and ingredients. 

Beauty products can tend to follow certain trends (such as the fad of using coconut oil for the face, hair, makeup, etc.), but popularity doesn’t always equate to effectiveness.

Is oil good for under the eyes?

You may find numerous benefits of oils when they are gentle enough for under your eyes and when they are used properly.

Many people use face and eye oil for purposes such as:

  • Hydrating and plumping the skin 

  • Relieving puffiness under the eyes 

  • Managing or preventing wrinkles and fine lines

  • Brightening the skin

  • Soothing irritated skin

Results vary from person to person, as everyone’s skin has different structures and needs.

SEE RELATED: What is the best makeup for hooded eyes? 

What about essential oils for eyes? 

When it comes to the eyes and the space around them, experts warn against using topical essential oils and highly concentrated substances that are applied to the skin. These types of oils can be more potent, irritating and dangerous to the eyes.

Although some essential oils are said to have medicinal purposes, they can still be harmful to the eyes, and using them cosmetically should be avoided. 

If you get essential oil in your eyes for any reason, rinse them with clean, lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. Consult an eye doctor as soon as possible if you feel continued irritation or notice concerning symptoms such as redness, itching or burning

Can I use oil instead of eye cream?

There are some alternatives to eye cream that come in an oil form — these are called eye oils. These can be used, but with the same caution: Keep it out of your eyes and only use products that are deemed safe for use around the eyes.

Is eye oil better than eye cream? This depends on your skin type and your skin goals, according to dermatologists. Eye creams include both oil and water in their ingredients, which work together to provide maximum hydration for the skin. Eye oils, on the other hand, do not have water in them, which means they may not provide as much hydration as a cream would.

That being said, oils are sometimes recommended in place of eye cream because they are not as heavy on the skin, allowing them to provide the under-eye area with more of the desired plumping effect than an over-hydrated appearance in some. Those who have dryer skin may prefer the benefits of an eye cream, however. 

Which oil is best for eyes? Some examples of popular eye oils on the beauty market include:

Everyone’s skin is different, and it’s important to know the risks and benefits associated with using cosmetic products on your individual skin. If you are unsure about a product, whether in regard to its effects or its safety for the skin near your eyes, be sure to talk to your eye doctor or dermatologist before beginning use. 

How to safely use a cosmetic oil around your eyes

Be sure to read the instructions for use on your oil’s packaging before you apply it to your skin. Some oils come in containers that can affect the way they are applied, and that packaging and application can also affect their advantages for the skin.

Many oils come in a bottle with a dropper for easy dispensing of the recommended amount. If you have a bottle with a dropper, follow these instructions:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face.

  2. Cleanse your face and pat it dry.

  3. Apply one drop of the oil to a ring finger and rub it in with the opposite ring finger.

  4. Gently dab the oil onto your upper and lower eyelids, avoiding direct contact with your eyes.

  5. Massage the oil into your skin in a circular motion until it is absorbed. If you have excess oil, massage this away from your eyes.

  6. Use the oil as often as it is instructed on the label.

Products that don’t have a dropper can be applied with a clean cotton swab or round, and gently massaged into the skin.

If you experience any discomfort or other negative reaction to eye or face oil, stop using it immediately and monitor your symptoms. Contact an eye doctor if your condition becomes serious.

Also note that all cosmetics have a limited shelf life and should not be used if they have a worrisome smell or appearance, if they have reached their “period after opening” date or if they have expired.

What to do if you get cosmetic oil in your eyes

Getting oil in your eyes can feel unpleasant, and can potentially be dangerous for eyes, as it can cause infections and other problems. In any case, removing the oil from your eyes should be done promptly.

Make sure to rinse your eyes with plenty of clean, lukewarm water and gently pat them dry. If you feel irritation after you have rinsed your eyes thoroughly, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. 

SEE RELATED: How to safely remove something from your eye 

Castor oil for eyes

Other types of oil products, such as castor oil eye drops, are sometimes used to improve conditions in the eye like cataracts — though the benefits are not scientifically proven. 

It’s important to understand that castor oil and castor oil eye drops are two different things and they are not interchangeable. Plain castor oil should never be used in or around your eyes. 

As with cosmetic face and eye oils, it is critical to talk to your optometrist or ophthalmologist before beginning any treatments for your eye health. Be sure to see an eye doctor for an annual check-up to ensure your vision is in good condition and evaluate any treatments you may need (or want) to try.

8 benefits of rosehip oil for your skin. Women’s Health. December 2018. 

Argan oil is your skin's new secret weapon — here's why. Marie Claire. June 2020.

Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. January 2018.

Should you use coconut oil on your face? Harper's BAZAAR. February 2021.

Is it safe to use olive oil as a make-up remover? American Academy of Ophthalmology. January 2013.

Swap your eye cream for one of these 9 brightening, de-puffing oils. Fashionista. January 2019.

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