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In Praise of Snail Mucus, and Other Cures for Dry Under Eyes

I frequently get emails from readers asking, what do I do for extreme dryness under my eyes? I actually suffer from this problem myself from time to time. I was crafting a lengthy email response when I realized I should probably document my answer in the BeautyNow Blog for everyone to read! For me, booking a hydrating facial on the BeautyNow app has made the biggest difference in boosting my skin’s moisture level. But other than a professional facial, here’s my checklist for how to fix dry under eyes:

For a few months last year, I was dogged by a terrible dry patch under my right eye. It was flaky, it accentuated (maybe even created?) fine lines, and made my concealer look awful! I scoured the internet and tried every home remedy out there, along with several new eye creams. Trying new products on my dry, irritated under eye area made the problem even worse! Here is a photo of the dry area, with many more fine lines than usual (sorry for the bad photo quality- it was before I bought my snazzy new camera):

First, Is It Eczema?

When I finally visited my dermatologist to address my problem, he immediately said it was eczema. I was surprised to hear that diagnosis since the dry patch was not red, and I don’t suffer from eczema anywhere else on my body. He advised to stop using everything except a gentle cleanser (he recommended Cetaphil; I instead used Clean & Clear Fresh Foaming Cleanser since I’ve used it for years with no problems). Then apply a hydrocortisone steroid (you can buy over the counter), and top with Aquaphor for extra moisture (just be careful it doesn’t migrate into your eye). It was very difficult for me to stop experimenting with all my fancy serums and creams and ignore their lofty promises (“No more under eye circles!” “Erase fine lines!”), but I kept to the simple routine for about a week and the situation was vastly improved. I also heard that Beyonce uses Aquaphor around her eyes, so my mantra was “If it’s good enough for Bey, it’s good enough for me.” Since I’m constantly trying new products, it was hard for me to determine which one I was having the reaction to, but I finally decided it was a new concealer that was too drying. So when you do clear up the eczema, try to go back to the products and skincare routine you used before your problems started. Also avoid setting powders or powder foundations that are too drying on your skin.

Ongoing Skincare for Chronic Under Eye Dryness

I wish I could tell you I have the perfect eye cream that will lighten under eye circles, flatten those {Prada} bags under your eyes, and iron out fine lines. I have not found any eye cream that has had a measurable effect on my under eye darkness, but the best combo I have found for moisture is the following: I use Target Up & Up brand Eye Lifting Serum (it is the generic of Oil of Olay Regenerist Serum). Every time I stop using this generic serum in favor of some new fancy eye product, my fine lines inevitably get worse again. My mom swears by it, and I have used up multiple bottles. FYI, the pump runs out quickly, but if you open up the top, there is a ton more product left in the bottle.

I then top the serum with SK-II Skin Signature Eye Cream. I’ve tried a MILLION eye creams, and this is the only one that is still moist on my skin in the morning, yet doesn’t clog my pores or irritate my under eye area, causing more (you guessed it!) eczema.

Treatments/Masks for Under Eye Dryness

Usually I use eye masks and treatments in the hopes of depuffing, but I think eye patches are actually way more effective at moisturizing and plumping up fine lines. Sisley Eye Contour Mask is a gel that you can leave on overnight. Formulated for the delicate under eye area, I thought it was very gentle, non-irritating and effective at delivering a boost of moisture to the under eye area. What I use more frequently, though, is a generous dab of GlamGlow ThirstyMud on a dry patch under my eye. I apply the ThirstyMud all over my face for hydration at least once a week because it refreshes my skin and gives tons of moisture and glow to my skin without breaking me out (lots of the hydrating masks have given me zits!) The ThirstyMud is not marketed to be used around the eye, but I like it better than the GlamGlow Bright Mud Eye Treatment. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think the ThirstyMud actually works to depuff the eye area too! I go back and forth between whether I like GlamGlow YouthMud (the black jar) or ThirstyMud (the aqua jar) better, but really both are so fantastic you need both in your arsenal. I buy all my GlamGlow for $20+ cheaper on Amazon here, or starting July 17th for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, they have a great-value, exclusive GlamGlow set (see here).

A cheaper alternative is a Korean gel eye patch that I think I discovered through Refinery 29. Check out Gold Royal Jelly Hydro Gel Eye Patch, which is touted as the official “Eyepatch of the Elves.” Yes, seriously. If the Keebler Elves ever convinced you to buy a cookie, then I have the perfect eye mask for you. Anyway, I’m digging these soothing, gold flecked eye patches that really do plump fine lines and add moisture. My favorite part is that they are thin wiggly, jelly patches that feel very high-end, and they stick to your face just with the goo/gel itself. Other eye masks use adhesive to stick on your face like a sticker, and I always feel like I am pulling at the delicate skin too much when I peel these off. The goo might make the mask slide around a bit, but I think it is more gentle on skin than a sticker.

Try A Primer To Disguise the Dryness

Applying a makeup primer on top of your usual moisturizer will help disguise the dryness and patchy flakiness, and help your concealer and foundation to go on more smoothly. I have tried several under eye primers (that are specifically marketed to go under the eye), and most are really overrated. For example, I did not like the By Terry Hyaluronic Eye Primer or the Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer. The best under eye primer I have found is MAC ‘Prep & Prime’ Vibrancy Eye Primer, but honestly you can just use your favorite face primer (I prefer Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer) all over your face, including the under eye area and eyelids.

One under eye primer product I DO like, and have been using religiously lately, is the It Cosmetics CC Eye Cream. It smooths like a primer (although does not control creasing *quite* as well as a primer), but is the only one I’ve found that actually moisturizes and improves fine lines. I apply it over my eye cream, but BEFORE I apply my beloved Garnier All-Day Shine Control BB Cream (full review here). If I forget to apply the It Cosmetics CC Eye first, then the Garnier gets a little dry around my eyes, and that pesky eczema patch starts to creep up on me again. The CC eye cream completely prevents this problem, and I noticed within a couple weeks of using it that at the end of the day, it did not look as dry and crepey around my eyes as usual. Apparently it contains snail trail mucus (aaaack!), which has hydrating properties and is a trusted ingredient in Korean skincare products. Hey, if it works….Also it contains physical blocker sunscreen with an SPF of 50+! Highly recommend this product, especially if you have been using the Garnier BB cream, but tend to have a drier eye area.

Hope my recommendations help fix your dry under eye area!



Tagged best glamglow mask , best under eye primer , it cosmetics cc eye review

5 Responses to “In Praise of Snail Mucus, and Other Cures for Dry Under Eyes”

  1. PriscillaL says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I had a dime size dry patch under my right eye for a couple of weeks due to seasonal allergies. My under eye concealer didn’t look appealing. I took your advise. I used a generic over the counter hydrocortisone steroid and Eucerin Aquaphor healing ointment. I used this for one week and it worked!! Thanks again. I plan to purchase the Up & Up eye lifting serum soon.

    • Kathleen Baird Jennings says:

      Priscilla! I’m SO glad to hear that regimen worked to clear it up! I know how frustrating it is to have your concealer and fine lines looking awful. Thanks for following up and letting me know. xoxo, @beautynowapp

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this recommendation for the Up & Up eye serum! After reading this blog post I became addicted to the serum. However, it appears that it has now been discontinued by Target. Do you happen to have any other similar creams that you would also recommend?

  3. Sis says:

    I think I.might have this problem. Over the last few months I have noticed dry spots under my eyes after I apply my moisturizers, a moisturizing primer, and then my makeup. I have tried many different moisturizers to no avail. At the end of the work day the entire under eye area is flaky. I only really notice it because my makeup mirror has a super duper magnified side. The odd part is that I don’t see it when I’m makeup free..I’m gonna give the hydrocortisone/aquaphor method a whirl and hope it works.

  4. Jackie Alberici says:

    Hi There,

    Can you tell me what type of skin you have? Ie combo, oily etc

    Thanks for these suggestions; I’ve been dealing with chronic dry under eyes for about a year now and it’s killing my vibes! Happy to know there’s light at the end of the eye tunnel.

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