Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Mahek Chawla (Dietitian & Nutritionist)  on 16th Dec 2020

Eye gels vs. Eye Creams. What's Your Pick?

Eye gels vs. Eye Creams. What's Your Pick?

The largest organ of the body, the skin, has probably been given an enormous amount of attention.

When talking about the skin type, it varies from person to person, which helps us choose a different product from the wide variety available. Do you that's the case with your eyes too?

Have you ever wondered why there is a sudden need for eye cream or eye gels, separately when doing fine without it all these years?

Well, necessity is the mother of invention! Not that eye cream is a new invention, but the study of ocular skin has made it easy for us to know why eye care has become the new must-do. 

Ocular skin:

Has anyone ever been capable of beating the process of aging? I wish we could!

It is challenging to deal with aging signs if we haven't considered prevention as our key in our 20s. So, talking about the skin around the eyes, it is not hard for you to determine if it shows aging signs. Wonder why? Here it is.

The skin around our eyes is incredibly tender because it lacks an enormous supply of oil glands and collagen, unlike skin anywhere else on the face. As we age, this soft, thin, and less subcutaneous fat skin layer tends to lose its elasticity, fragility, and moisture, leading to several eye-related problems like dark circles, fine lines, dry eyes, and pigmentation, etc. In today's generation, there are several other factors to blame for these eye issues like screen time, stress, lack of nutrients, disturbed sleep cycle, etc.

When we look at a preliminary approach for any superficial ocular skin issues, doctors and dermatologists often recommend including a fresh fruit diet and a fair amount of undisturbed sleep. Undoubtedly these two can do wonders if aging is not the factor to blame for your woes.

But, if you struggle to deal with early signs of aging like fine lines, dark circles, wrinkles, etc., eye gels or eye creams can do the job!  

What are eye creams?

As you may know, Creams are oil-based or fat-based hydrating or moisturizing products made with specific active ingredients like vitamin A, which is retinol to fight the signs of aging, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, etc.

Usually, it needs the right base to seep into the skin, like vitamins B and C are water-soluble for an active ingredient to work. Thus, they might need a gel or water base to seep into the skin or vitamin A, D correctly, E and K, which are fat-soluble, will go well with cream bases.  

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Thus, an eye cream should contain all the essential ingredients that do the following things : 

  • Builds collagen 
  • Moisturises  
  • Reduces cell disintegration  
  • Increases cell turnover

All these attributes must be kept in mind while choosing any eye cream. Additionally, an eye cream is more thick and heavy in consistency than an eye gel. Thus, it has a higher molecular weight. Due to this, it is believed that eye creams tend to take more time to seep in than eye gels. 

What are eye gels? 

The water or aqua-based eye ointments containing active ingredients like vitamins, acids, plant extracts, etc., are termed eye gels. Eye gels are lightweight and have a smooth and creamy texture, making them easier to penetrate the skin. Functions attributed to an eye cream like increasing cell turnover, building collagen, reducing fine lines, etc., are the same for an eye gel.

Moreover, due to an eye gel's extra hydrating ability, eye gels can also heal puffiness, swelling, or edema resulting from lack of sleep, stress on eyes, or water retention.

Eye gels have been said to provide a soothing and cooling effect on eyes because they seep in quickly and deal with all the issues. Also, they can be stored in the fridge before application to give you that extra coolness.  

What should you choose? 

Irrespective of your skin type, ocular skin, i.e., the skin around your eyes or called orbital skin, tend to be thin, sensitive and lacks subcutaneous fat.

This area of your skin needs the most tender care and should be started early as aging signs are most visible around the eyes. Back in the time, when our hands weren't handcuffed with cell phones, our eyes were brighter and our eyesight sharper. With technology comes its curse. Tired, exhausted, and dry eyes have been ubiquitous.

Vitamin A or retinol as an oral drug or as an eye ointment has been used for many years to treat eye disorders like dry eyes, keratomalacia, conjunctivitis, etc. Similarly, a diet rich in b-carotene like carrots, milk products, and eggs has been much discussed and studied to improve eye health.

Despite the precautions taken, there comes the point where intervention is needed. Eye gels or eye creams is that intervention! 

A Little About Eye Creams: 

Anyone having dry, acne-prone, dehydrated skin should choose an eye cream because eye creams tend to be oily or fatty, which can also exceed the eye area when applied in circular motions.

This circular application of an eye cream may benefit the eye and the rest of the skin to become soft and supple.

Additionally, people with milia, i.e., small white bumps around the eyes, which are hardened sebum, should always avoid greasy eye creams. They might increase the chances of getting more milia.  

When should you use eye creams? 

Eye creams, due to their thick and heavy consistency, take more time to absorb. Thus, it should ideally be applied at night when there is the least eye movement, and your body is at rest. It will surprise you in the morning!

If applying eye creams in the day time, allow it to rest and seep in before applying makeup or another ointment. Eye cream might give you a cracked and sober look after makeup.  

A Little About Eye Gels: 

For all those who have oily, thin, rough, itchy, acne-prone skin, and those with sensitive skin very quickly, they should opt for eye gels as they are light in weight, low molecular-sized, and easy to absorb.

The skin around your eyes, when exposed to gels, will not only feel instantly rejuvenated and fresh but also cool your eye muscles.

Moreover, gel-based creams are suitable for acne-prone skin because when applied in circular motions, some eye gel is also used on the high cheekbones. This area is oily and produces more acne in acne-prone skin. Thus eye gels won't aggravate acne, unlike eye creams.  

When should eye gels be applied? 

Ideally, whenever your eye feels tired and swollen, eye gel can give you an instant soothing effect, but if using eye gel as a prevention or as a treatment for the signs of aging, it can be applied in the day time.

It absorbs pretty well and leaves no residue behind. It can also be used as a primer for eye makeup as gel does not give a cracked look. Eye gels seep in almost immediately. Hence, they don't interfere with makeup products or other products.  

Some ingredients to look for when buying any eye care product: 

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  • Vitamin A (retinol) a commendable anti-aging ingredient.  
  • Vitamin K (reduces the appearance of erythema).  
  • Anti-oxidants  
  • Omega-three fatty acids  
  • Omega-six fatty acids  
  • Vitamin E  

Why do we not use the active ingredients directly around the eyes? 

It comes down to the fact that ocular skin is sensitive, and a high concentration of any active ingredient can cause more harm than any good. Active ingredients are highly reactive and can also cause irritation, which is not favorable, especially around the eyes. You don't want to keep rubbing your eyes because of your eye care products! 

Special note:

essential fatty acids are vital for eye health even if you have oily skin. The skin around the eyes lacks subcutaneous fat, which otherwise provides us the much-needed cushion. Fat everywhere else prevents our cells from shock and provides insulation. The lack of fat around the eyes makes them sensitive, so rubbing an ice cube around the eyes wakes our eyes up! 

The Last Word 

A rigid skincare routine is indispensable for healthy and youthful-looking skin, but extra attention must be given to more delicate areas.

Applying an eye cream or an eye gel as per your preference might seem over the top in your early twenties, but taking good care of this sensitive skin will make you look younger. The signs of aging appear so quickly around the eyes that young women and men complain about fine lines and wrinkles in today's time.

Pollution and other irritants also force you to rub your eyes and the delicate skin around, creating more wrinkles. Another factor that makes our eyes stress a lot is constant micro-movement, which occurs due to continuous screen light exposure. Thus all these factors add to your reasons to start using a separate eye product.

Lastly, for you to distinguish, eye creams are a better night time treatment and focus mainly on slower renewal of fine lines, dark circles, wrinkles, etc. At the same time, eye gels can be used for an instant boost of hydration, de-puffing, and soothing effects on your eye in the day time. Eye creams can leave your concealer or foundation looking cakey, and eye gels give a smoother surface for foundations and concealers.  

Pro tip:

Use your ring finger in a circular motion to apply any eye care product as it applies the tiniest amount of pressure and helps the delicate area increase blood circulation.

Have a sound sleep!