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I'll level with you: I have always had a dark eye area. Sometimes I've felt like it's the only thing holding me back from being 100% confident in how I look without makeup. It doesn't matter how much sleep I get: my eyes will always look less fresh than I feel. There are so many eye creams on the market promising you the world and I've had the opportunity to try a lot of them through reviewing products for this blog. However, today we're going to get really real about dark circles and eye bags...

The truth is, most eye creams are moisturising and contain some antioxidants to protect the skin from free radical damage. Is that bad? No! Skin that's dry or dehydrated is always going to look less healthy and plump, and it's good to protect the skin around the eyes. But, is that alone going to correct and treat significant or deep bags, lines or dark circles? No. As lovely as some of the eye creams I own are, you don't need to spend the same price as an all-over moisturiser for those benefits alone.

The eye area is delicate and prone to sensitivity so it's a good idea to use a dedicated product when it comes to actives like retinol and Vitamin C (as an eye-specific product should be formulated to be nice and gentle) and I recommend steering away from fragrance around the eyes. These ingredients can help treat hyperpigmentation, but what we sometimes don't realise is that this isn't the only root cause of eye problems. It could be pigmentation, it could be that the skin around your eyes is very thin and therefore blood vessels underneath it are more visible (in which case caffeine can help), the darkness or puffiness could literally be the result of the structure of your eyes. With all these potential causes, you can see how hard it is to treat them with a topical that feels moisturising and has some antioxidants or retinol in it.

Finding out the root cause of your eye issues is the most important thing; you could spend over £100 on an eye cream from La Mer, but if the structure of your eye just creates a shadow beneath it, you probably would've been better off spending that money on a treatment. You could spend a fortune on a cooling eye gel but what you actually needed to do to reduce puffiness was get on top of your hayfever and make sure you're taking your antihistamines, that's soothing the symptoms rather than treating the cause.

Look at all marketing with a critical eye and try to remember that products can say what they like, short of of medical claims; the brand wants you to buy it. If you're serious about treating the eye area, the first thing you need to do is work with a professional to understand what's going on: is it hyperpigmentation, dehydration, lost volume, ageing or something else? Then you can make an informed decision about whether you want a cosmetic treatment, to try with a prescription or cosmetic topical for now or just accept that your eyes are the way they are. 

I will personally always give an eye cream a chance (I've pictured the formulas that have done something for me), but you don't have to if you're spending your own money on them. Nothing has been a total revelation that's completely fixed everything I'd like to improve, though, and I've kind of realised I don't care enough to take further action on it. I guess I just have more important things to spend my money on right now and I've made my peace with that! Yes, we all want that ultimate confidence without makeup, but for the time being, if I want to cover my dark circles: I have concealer. It's really a personal choice as to what's important to you and what makes you feel confident, but I'd really caution against buying an expensive eye cream unless you know it contains active ingredients that can take on the root cause of your concerns. It kind of sucks to say this but I'd rather people were realistic and had a bit of extra money saved up if they're really serious about this to spend on treatments and professionals rather than throwing it all away on tiny pot after tiny pot that's promising them the world!

Do you suffer with any eye-related issues? Do you find eye creams make a significant difference?

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Read more posts from this series here!


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