If You Have Sensitive Skin, Don't Worry—I Found 15 Eye Creams That Will Work
Speaking from experience, there's nothing worse than trying a new eye cream that you're excited about only to find out a few days later that it made your eye area look raw and inflamed. As someone with sensitive skin around my eyes, I've unfortunately had this happen to me one too many times—particularly if I try an eye cream with one too many actives, added fragrances, or other sneaky irritating ingredients.
After a particularly bad spell with a retinol-laced eye cream in the fall that left me with an irritated patch I couldn't get rid of, I nearly swore off eye creams altogether. Of course, I didn't want to do that—eye creams have tons of benefits if you choose the right formula. To continue being able to use eye creams, I decided to get derm input on the best picks for sensitive skin (including plenty of drugstore eye creams!).
How do I choose eye cream for sensitive skin?
There are a few major red flags to be on the lookout for in any ingredient list. If you're sensitive, avoid eye creams that contain retinoids, hydroxy acids, fragrances, and alcohols. "Alcohol will dry out the eyelid skin and fragrance has a high likelihood to cause allergic reactions in the very sensitive and delicate eyelid skin," says Nava Greenfield, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
Instead, opt for hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, according to Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City. These work to support the delicate skin around your eye area. "Hydrating ingredients like oils, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides are excellent for eyelid skin, as well as ingredients that promote and boost skin health such as peptides, antioxidants, and extracts," says Greenfield. Keep reading for some of the best eye creams out there for sensitive skin.
This new eye cream from Innbeauty Project is flying off the shelves and keeps selling out—but if you can get your hands on it, it's worth waiting for. "Innbeauty Project's Bright and Tight Eye Cream is a great choice for sensitive skin," says King. "It contains humectants, emollients, and occlusives to moisturize the skin, as well as peptides and bakuchiol to help to soften fine lines, caffeine to help decrease puffiness, and vitamin C and tranexamic acid to help brighten." Talk about a do-it-all product.
"It contains retinol, antioxidants, anti-aging peptides, algae extract, rice and soy peptides, and moisturizing ingredients to address fine lines, crepiness, dark circles, and puffiness," says King. "Even though it contains retinol, the overall formulation is hydrating and moisturizing and should be suitable for sensitive skin.”
If you were to plop me on a desert island and only let me have five skincare products (sad), this would without a doubt be one of my choices. It's incredibly gentle, and it both hydrates and de-puffs your eye area like magic. It also has a pudding-adjacent texture that melts into the skin seamlessly, making it a true pleasure to use.
One of my friends has severely dry skin around their eyes—it's something they've been dealing with their entire life. This is the only eye cream that helps curb their flaky eye skin. It makes sense, as it's infused with La Roche-Posay's signature thermal water, which has been clinically proven to intensely soothe skin.
At just $10, this eye cream feels much more expensive than it actually is. Hyaluronic acid and peptides work together to create a supremely moisturizing formula that plumps and hydrates.
Meet my new favorite eye cream. This gel formula not only moisturizes the skin around my eyes like crazy, but it also manages to make every line around my eye area vanish. That's thanks to hero ingredients like glycerin which holds onto water and two different algae-derived complexes that help smooth skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
This eye cream isn't called a "moisturizing eye bomb" for nothing. Packed with tons of hydrating ingredients, it's truly equivalent to dousing your eye area with moisture. It's star ingredient is something called comfrey leaf, an ultra-hydrating botanical that has been long-used by Scottish farmers tending to their calloused hands. It also has tiger grass to soothe while it moisturizes.
With both chamomile and thermal spring water, this eye cream works wonders against both puffiness and irritation. Hyaluronic acid helps plump and moisturize the under-eyes, while pre-tocopheryl (something that goes into vitamin E) works as an antioxidant to defend the skin from environmental aggressors.
This eye cream blends together five different ceramides for intensive moisture. It also has niacinamide, which helps support ceramide production.
Squalane works to hold moisture in so this eye cream is able to be as moisturizing as possible. In a clinical study, the brand found that 97% of people showed improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after just one week.
This eye cream has just about every ingredient that sensitive skin would want. Colloidal oatmeal and hyaluronic acid render it both hydrating and soothing.
You can always count on Cetaphil to make formulas that are both affordable and efficacious. This eye gel is infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamins to nourish skin gently.
This is another pick that feels like it should cost more money than it does. Rice extracts and aloe work in tandem with each other to calm and hydrate the skin.