Not that long ago I noticed that I was having An Eye Area Problem. I have the interesting conundrum of skin that’s bad enough to necessitate strong creams and soaps but sensitive enough to revolt against the harsh chemicals. In the last few months, the revolt has been mostly confined to my eye area in the form of redness and sensitivity. When I’d wash my face and put on the various creams and I’d wake up with my eyes looking terrible: dry, red, and sometimes puffy. Think permanent hangover-face. Regular moisturizer not only didn’t solve the problem, it stung.
I should mention that at this stage in the game, I’m not dealing with deep wrinkles around my eyes. Just the kind of surface wrinkles found on those staring 30 in the face and who have perhaps been a little mean to their skin.
So it was that I decided that I wanted (needed?) to avoid smearing my SkinID arsenal directly on my eyes, and also to acquire some eye cream. Eye cream is something I’ve never tried, partly because I’m so overwhelmed by the reality of shopping for it and the intimidating advertisements that implore me to do the same. Partly, too, because I didn’t really want to see myself as someone who needed eye cream. At least, not yet. Still, I marched my red-eyed self over to my local drugstore to make some daunting decisions.
I knew from the get-go I was going to avoid anything with the word serum in it. I put serum in my hair; the word evokes Frizz-Ease products that do nice things to my mane but are impossible to wash off my hands. Also, any made-up, faux-science words like Definity or Revitalift were out of the question. I just wanted a simple, basic eye cream that would be nicer to my thin sensitive eyelid skin than my shock-and-awe campaign of yore.
I also settled on the Neutrogena brand because I am almost universally pleased with their products. The first thing I tried when I first started getting adolescent acne way back when was one of those translucent burnt-orange bars of Neutrogena soap. The SkinID system that was hurting my eye area was doing wonders for the rest of my skin. And I like their makeup. Picking Neutrogena was like siding with an old friend.
It wasn’t long before I settled on their “Healthy Skin” Eye Cream, pictured here. I actually really like their Healthy Skin line in general, and I use their Healthy Skin daily moisturizer with SPF 30 in order to keep my freckly face protected from that asshole sun. The packaging didn’t have any major bells and whistles, and it didn’t make any unreasonable promises. The soothing periwinkle hue was even calming, like a soft spring rain.
I applied the recommended “pearl-sized” amount to my eyes that night, and again the following morning after my shower, hoping for the best. The difference was noticeable, and almost immediate. No burning. No redness. No hangover-face! The cream went on really smoothly and I only needed a tiny drop on each eye. It’s hard to describe how exactly it feels different than a regular moisturizer, but somehow it does. Its”¦silkier? And more inert. I didn’t feel it burning on my sensitive skin at all.
The only drawback? It is really expensive, at least from where I sit. At my NYC-area CVS it cost $17 for a .5 oz tube. It was particularly surprising because I consider Neutrogena to be a solid middlebrow option when it comes to beauty products, and to me the pricetag seemed a little steep. So, if anyone has had success with a cheaper alternative, be sure to mention it in the comments!
The lessons here, kids, are that sometimes a small switch can make a big difference. And also that sometimes you have to accept that you’ve reached an age where you have to start treating certain parts of yourself with kid gloves.