Eye Serum vs. Eye Cream: What’s the Difference?

Eye Serum vs. Eye Cream: What’s the Difference?

It can feel daunting to filter through all the skin care products on the market to choose the most supportive choice for your skin’s unique needs.

If your primary skin care concern is dark circles, puffiness or a loss of firmness or radiance in the under-eye area, your product choices often come down to eye serums and creams. 

We’ve compiled all the information you need here to help make the eye serum vs. eye cream decision easier for you!

Why you need a specialized eye product

Before we dive into the eye serum vs. eye cream debate, let’s talk about why adding a specialized eye product to your skin care routine is crucial in the first place. 

Understanding how the skin under your eyes differs from the skin on the rest of your face is essential for promoting its optimal level of health and wellness. While the skin on most of the face has a thicker underlying layer of fat and tissue, the skin under the eyes does not. 

Because of this, the tiny capillaries and blood vessels in that area are more visible. Lifestyle factors, like a lack of quality sleep or smoking, can also increase the likelihood of aesthetic issues under the eyes.

Specialized eye products, like serums and creams, are designed to give the under-eye area the support it needs to look and feel its best: a boost of hydration, collagen production and vasoconstriction (to minimize the appearance of the blood vessels just under the skin).

Most under-eye products contain the same basic ingredients, like the extra-hydrating hyaluronic acid and specific vitamins and antioxidants (including vitamins A and C). It’s where these products vary that can truly set them apart — ingredients like caffeine and bakuchiol can make an enormous difference in a very sensitive, noticeable area of the face. 

What is eye cream?

It can help to think of eye creams as moisturizers, as they are thicker in consistency and designed to help attract and retain moisture inside the skin. Eye creams, like Eye Sculpt, also contain emollients (skin softeners) as one of their primary active ingredients. 

In addition to supporting the sensitive and crucial under-eye moisture barrier, Eye Sculpt can also target specific concerns, including bags, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s all about finding a product with the best active ingredients, whether that’s caffeine to help improve the look of dark circles, replexium to reduce fine lines and wrinkles or niacinamide to brighten.

After your eye cream dries, you still need to follow up with a hydrating moisturizer to seal in all those nutrients and protect and support the moisture barrier. Plus, if you’re heading out for the day, make sure to add sunscreen to your routine — chronic sun damage is one of the leading causes of premature aging (and an increased risk of skin cancer).

What is eye serum?

While eye creams are thicker in consistency, eye serums tend to be far more lightweight. Eye serums also provide the under-eye area with hydration but can be layered with other products. You can layer multiple serums (alone or under an eye cream) to boost your results even further.

When layering serums during your skin care routine, always start with a freshly cleansed face. Once you’re done applying toner (if that’s part of your routine) and your skin is dry, start with the serum that is the lightest in consistency. 

From there, and after letting each serum have enough time to dry and absorb, continue from thinnest to thickest and always end with a supportive moisturizer. 

What else can you do to maintain the appearance of your eye area?

One of the most comprehensive cosmetic treatment options available at Skin Pharm is microneedling. Microneedling, which involves using a sterile tool to make controlled punctures in treatment areas, can target a variety of skin concerns and is beneficial for all skin types. 

With results visible in just a week or two and a long list of benefits (including minimizing the appearance of dullness, fine lines and wrinkles, a loss of firmness, scarring and sun damage), it’s no surprise that microneedling remains incredibly popular.

When used in the under-eye area, microneedling can help support the production of collagen. With volume under the eyes, many of the common complaints in that area can be camouflaged or even cleared up entirely. 

If you don’t want to wait for microneedling to make a visible change in your skin, using dermal filler in the under-eye area can make an even quicker difference. When injected by an experienced skin care provider, dermal fillers can plump up the under-eye area, immediately giving it the volume it needs to help you look your best.

Another common complaint people have with their appearance is fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes — also known as crow’s feet. In addition to using the right under-eye product in your skin care routine, regular Botox or Dysport (usually every three months or so) can help smooth out the area and keep you looking youthful and radiant.

In summary... 

Eye serum vs. eye cream — while there is no one “right” answer for everyone, adding an eye-centered skin care product like Eye Sculpt to your routine is a must. The skin in the under-eye area is the most vulnerable of all the skin on the face, so it also needs the most support! 

If you’re unsure where to start or how to best care for and support your sensitive under-eye area, schedule a consultation with one of our providers. We’d love to help you discuss your options and set up the most effective routine possible to help you achieve your best skin yet. 

Peer review

This article was medically reviewed by Madeline Stoffer, MSN, NP-BC, a board-certified nurse practitioner with 6 years of experience in cosmetic dermatology.


Understanding the Epidermal Barrier in Healthy and Compromised Skin: Clinically Relevant Information for the Dermatology Practitioner | PubMed

Hills and Valleys: Understanding the Under-Eye | PubMed

What causes eyelid bags? Analysis of 114 consecutive patients | PubMed

The hype on hyaluronic acid | Harvard Health


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