Burning sensation when applying eye cream, why + what to do

For some reason, many of us subscribe to the mantra that beauty is pain. even when dealing with our skin. This is not a good mantra to live by.

The pain we experience as a result of products is not good, it’s actually harmful.

For a product to work well on your skin it has to be calming, soothing, refreshing in a non-tingly way or even feel like nothing at all.

This thinking should be applied when using eye cream as well. This article looks at why you feel a burning sensation when applying eye cream

Burning sensation when applying eye cream

Why is eye cream burning the skin under my eyes?

The skin under your eyes is the thinnest skin on your body.

It is very fragile and can react to products in a more severe way than the skin on other parts of your body.

If an eye cream stings, burns or your skin gets irritated after using a product then you should stop using it.

There are a couple of reasons why your eye cream can be burning, these include:

Incorrect ingredients: Some ingredients used in eye creams and other skincare products even lead to burning of the skin around the eyes.

Peoples skin reacts differently to different ingredients.

You need to be aware of how different ingredients work on your skin and check the product ingredient list before you buy a product.

Incorrect ph: One of the reasons behind products causing your under eyes to burn is the product’s ph.

If the ph of the product and the ph of the skin does not work hand in hand your skin can become irritated.

The skin has a ph of 4.5 to 5.5. If the product is very acidic it can cause burning

A damaged skin barrier: This will affect your whole face. When your skin barrier is damaged your products will enter into the cracks of your skin and burn.

You can fix this problem by using a product that contains ceramides as well as products that deeply hydrate your skin

Ingredients that cause burning:

AHAs and BHAs: These ingredients are chemical exfoliants. They do their job very well and are very gentle when exfoliating your skin compared to physical exfoliators.

These ingredients can be found in many skin care products and can sometimes also be used in eye creams.

Both these ingredients have a low ph. When they penetrate the skin they react badly and this can lead to burning of the skin

Surfactants and emulsifiers: These two ingredients are staples in skin care formulations. They are added to formulas to ensure that the oils and water don’t separate in your container.

In any situation, whether it’s in food or skincare products, oils and water don’t mix. When combined they separate from each other.

Surfactants and emulsifiers prevent this from happening. Unfortunately these ingredients can irritate the skin especially the sensitive areas around your eyes.

Preservatives: These ingredients maintain skincare products. They prevent the growth of yeast and avoid bacteria entering and growing in your skincare product.

If your skin care product contains any water at all then it will need a preservative.

Unfortunately, some preservatives can cause skin irritation especially if you have sensitive skin

Alcohol: Alcohol is found in many skincare products and eye creams. It is a preservative, it also used because it can alter the texture of your skincare product to meet the wants of manufacturers.

Unfortunately, this ingredient can cause burning on the skin. It can also cause dryness on the skin

Fragrances: Many skincare products are labelled as fragrance free. Fragrances can cause burning, stinging or irritation on the skin and eyes.

Artificial fragrances have a bigger chance of causing skin irritation compared to natural fragrances.

What helps with the burning skin around the eyes?

If you feel that your eye is starting to burn because of your product then you can try a few of these remedies for burning on the skin:

Cool it: Anything that’s cooling will soothe the skin and help it calm down. Cooling it can be as simple as applying some cold water to your eye, using cooling eye patches (like these) or using a wet compress on it.

Try to immerse your eye in cold water by placing both in the palm of your hand. Immerse your eye in water or you can use a wet compress on your eye for 10 minutes.

Aloe Vera: This plant is well known for its calming and soothing properties, some call it the “burn plant”.

This plant is soothing, anti-inflammatory, inhibits bacteria growth and improves blood circulation.

You can use the gel directly from the leaf of you can use the store-bought variety.

This aloe vera gel is well-loved and widely used.

Apply a bandage: If the burning is so bad that it formes blisters then you can apply a sterile bandage over it.

This will allow the blisters to heal without you touching or irritating them. Do not try to pop the blister while they’re healing.

Soothing ingredients you can look for in eye creams

If you have sensitive eyes or you need an eye cream that won’t burn and irritate your eyes here are a few ingredients to look for that are soothing to the skin:

Liquorice root: This ingredient is not widely used in skincare products and eye creams but if you do find it in an eye cream you’re in luck.

This can be a huge benefit. This ingredient has strong anti-inflammatory properties so it will keep your skin calm and soothed.

Beeswax: Beeswax has various properties that are very beneficial to your skin.

Some of these properties include being deeply moisturising, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral.

These properties are overall very good for your skin. Especially the skin around your eyes.

Ceramides: These work on your skin to build back your damaged skin barrier.

The skin needs a healthy balance of ceramides and cholesterol to maintain it. If your skin does not have these two elements it can become dry and crack allowing ingredients to enter into the cracks and burn it.

This eye cream contains ceramides, it is well-loved and widely used.

Warning signs that your skin is uncomfortable

You may not be feeling a burning sensation when applying eye cream but  here are some things you should look out for that will let you know that your skin is uncomfortable:

Milla: This looks like tiny white pimples under your skin, these pimples will cluster under the skin. Milla happens when your old dead skin cells don’t shed correctly

Dry skin: After using an eye cream your skin should feel very hydrated. If your skin feels dry then it means that your eye cream has evaporated right after being applied. Try a thicker product.

Change of skin colour: If your skin looks anything other than your normal skin colour after you use a moisturiser then this moisturiser does not agree with your skin.

Your skin should not be turning yellow, red or anything else. If your skin looks a bit brighter after using the moisturiser then this is ok.

Burning sensation when applying eye cream

Should retinol eye cream burn?

Because this ingredient is very strong and the sun under your eyes is very thin and delicate a retinol eye cream has the potential to cause burning under your skin. 

That being said, the retinol used in eye creams is less irritating than the one you use on the rest of your face.

Eye cream formulas use milder forms and lower concertations of retinol. Still, you should be cautious when using a retinol eye cream under your eyes.

When applying this eye cream you should use a small amount two nights a week so your skin can get used to it.

If your skin is partiality sensitive you can dilute the retinol with your regular eye cream.

What helps retinol burn around eyes?

If you develop some burning around your eyes after using retinol a good way to calm it down is to add some cold water or a wet cold compress to the area. This will calm the skin down.

You can also apply some aloe vera on your skin, the aloe’s anti-inflammatory properties will go a long way in healing your skin.

If you feel burning you should make sure to stop using the eye cream.

If the burning is very bad then you may have to go see a dermatologist. Sometimes the burning can be severe if so you can develop hyperpigmentation around your eyes from the retinol cream.

To treat the burn the dermatologist would use a steroid, an emulsifier and give you some sort of sun protection.

If you have already developed some hyperpigmentation they will use a skin safe bleaching cream like hydroquinone.

Is Vaseline good for burns?

No Vaseline is not good for burns, it can actually damage your skin. Vaseline is an occlusive product, this means it is oil-based and creates a barrier between the skin and the outside.

This is not helpful, it results in slower wound healing. Another reason why you should not use Vaseline on your skin in this way is that it is not sterile. Using it can result in the growth of bacteria which causes more harm.

Is Vaseline good for dry skin under eyes?

No Vaseline is not good for dry skin under the eyes, Vaseline is an occlusive product.

Occlusive products create a lipid layer on top of the skin preventing anything for penetrating or exiting from the skin.

If you use Vaseline on dry eyes it seals in the dynes and doesn’t allow any other products in, this leads to dryer under eyes.

It can be used if you want to seal in your hydrating eye cream. Hydrating products that don’t contain occlusive ingredients have a high chance of evaporating from the skin.

They need a product or ingredient that will keep them locked in the skin. After you apply a hydrating eye cream you can apply Vaseline to prevent evaporation.

How do you moisturize your eyelids?

What to use

Hyaluronic acid: This ingredient is a great ingredient to use because it is deeply hydrating. It penetrates into the deeper layers of your skin to give you superior hydration

This hyaluronic acid is well-loved and widely used.

Antioxidants:  These are great at keeping your skin protected from the damaging rays of the sun. By doing this they keep the skin protected from skin damage including wrinkling and dull skin. They are also great at brightening your skin.

Niacinamide: If you have dark under eyes then this is a great ingredient to have in your eye cream as it will help to lighten your under-eye circles.

This niacinamide is well-loved and widely used.

How to do it:

There is a technique that will ensure that you properly moisturise your eyelids without tugging or applying too much pressure on the skin.

  1. Start off by using a little bit of eye cream. A little goes a long way, there is not much skin around your eyes into first place
  2. Apply the eye cream on your eye using your ring finger. Dot the product around your orbital bone.
  3. Pat the product into your skin making sure to spread it evenly. Do not rub the skin to distribute the cream as this can tug at your skin and cause it to wrinkle faster.
  4. Tap the product into your skin until the product as fully absorbed into your skin.

How can I moisturize my eyelids naturally?

Aloe Vera gel: This works just as well as some eye creams do. It is all-natural and cooling on the skin too.

It not only hydrates and moisturises but it helps to promote collagen production in the skin which will make your skin look more plump and fresh

Glycerin: This ingredient is found in many hydrating and moisturising skin care products. This lightweight sweet ingredient is great at hydrating the skin as well as preventing dryness on the skin.

This glycerin is well-loved and widely used.

Hyaluronic acid: This is an amazing moisturiser and hydrator for your skin. The acid can hold up to 6 parts water to one part hyaluronic acid. It penetrates deep into your skin to hydrate the deeper layers of skin.

Is it okay to use coconut oil on eyelids?

It depends on what you’re using it for.

Coconut oil is an occlusive ingredient, just like other occlusive ingredients it sits top of your skin creating a barrier between your skin and the outside.

This is great if you want to lock in moisture form a hydrating ingredient. It’s not great if you’re using it as a hydrating ingredient.

The oil is too heavy and thick to enter into your pores and soak in.  If you try to use it as a hydrating product you will actually be drying out your skin.

I hope you enjoyed this article looking into the burning sensation you get when applying eye cream. If you did please share it.

You may also like