Best Eye Patches: What Dermatologists Recommend

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At this point, you’ve probably seen your favorite influencer preach self-care or have their makeup done with some crescent-shaped patches under their eyes. Maybe they were gold or shimmering or iridescent. You were intrigued. What do they do? you wondered, but in the end you didn’t care because they looked fancy and you wanted some.

My first experience with these little eye patches was years ago when a fellow bridesmaid gifted me a pair while we were preparing for a wedding. We were tired, and she said they would make me look less. I remember the slimy patches sliding down my face until I was annoyed enough to take them off, negating any potential results.

But here we are in 2023 with a million different under-eye patches on the market that promise to hydrate, tighten, lift, and soothe (while also staying in place) that delicate patch of skin. With the abundance skin care options out there, many of which aren’t cheap, you want to know that what you’re buying has a purpose beyond that show off your self-care social media practices.

Do under-eye patches work?

“Patches are nice because they add an occlusive feature,” says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. An occlusive ingredient in skincare creates a protective barrier to essentially help seal in the good stuff and keep the bad out.

She explained that although most of these patches contain the same ingredients as recommended to her eye creamsthe thicker occlusive material of patches allows those ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin and therefore have a more substantial effect.

When it comes to active ingredients, you want to look for substances known to be safe on most skin, such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and peptides, Nazarian said. Those will help plump and moisturize the area. For depuffing and improving pigment, she recommends looking for caffeine and licorice root extract.

“Start with the basics,” she said. “I think the [eye patches] those that address anti-aging or those that are more collagen-stimulating tend to have a higher irritating potential. If you have sensitive skin, I would try them elsewhere before applying under your eyes. If you feel a tingling or stinging sensation after applying, just stop. It’s not even worth it.”

However, there are some ingredients with higher irritation potential whose benefit may be worth the risk, she said, such as retinol. It’s still best to test those products on less sensitive skin first and then work up to regular use on the eyes.

How to use patches under the eyes

While Nazarian believes in the potential benefits of under-eye patches, the downside is that most people don’t wear them long enough to see results.

“If you’re going to put it on and take it off two minutes later, I’d say you’re probably missing the point,” she said. Instead of just putting them on while you do your makeup, she suggests finding some that you can wear overnight or at least for several hours for the greatest efficacy. Otherwise, the penetration probably won’t go beyond your daily eye cream.

Another important piece of advice from Nazarian is to understand the maximum potential of these products.

“You won’t be disappointed by an eye patch if you manage your expectations of what they can do,” she said. “They’re not going to fix the hollows under your eyes. You can’t get rid of that contour problem. But if you’re trying to control wrinkles, if you’re trying to control puffiness, if you’re even trying to control pigment, I think they’re phenomenal.

Best Eye Patches: What Dermatologists Recommend

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