If it seems as though there’s a beauty product to solve every type of skin or hair woe, that’s because there is. You can buy anti-aging hand creams to combat wrinkles and dryness, moisturizers that can remedy specific skin conditioners like eczema, foot creams to pamper your tired tootsies, and, of course, eye creams that combat dark circles and puffiness (some are even formulated with powerhouse ingredients like retinol, once thought to be too irritating for delicate eye skin). The latest problem-solving wonder to hit store shelves and online shopping carts: under-eye “patches,” which deliver powerful skin-boosting ingredients in the most Instagrammable way possible (just check out #eyemasks).
The big question: Do these products work—and how are they any different from an eye cream? “The concept of an under-eye patch is to deliver an active in a concentrated way, basically under occlusion,” explains Long Island, New York–based dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD. “We know that anytime a serum or a lotion is occluded, it’s able to go through the skin barrier a bit more easily. So think of an eye patch as a cream with a slightly stronger method of delivery. You don’t want to do this all the time, but it can be a good way to boost actives through the skin.”
They can be a fun, relaxing way to spend some much-needed self-care time, but a long-term commitment is key, and don’t expect miracles. “Most eye patches have soothing ingredients like chamomile, hydrating humectants like hyaluronic acid, or ingredients that decrease swelling like caffeine and coffee extracts,” explains Sandy Skotnicki, MD, a dermatologist in Toronto, Ontario, and Three Ships Beauty partner. “Under-eye patches work best on puffiness, and over time with regular use may decrease fine lines. Typically, eye patches will not help with dark circles, but they could have a short-term plumping effect that decreases the visibility to the darkness following the few hours after using them.”
When shopping for the best under-eye patches, our experts recommend an ingredient-focused approach (caffeine, green tea, Argan oil, chamomile, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and retinol are good ones to look for, they say). Or, you could make things easy on yourself and consult this list of the best under-eye patches to reduce puffiness, fade dark circles, and reduce the appearance of crow’s-feet. Turn around, bright eyes!