Your eyes say it all: They show signs of strain, aging, exhaustion, and more. And this area of your face is also extremely sensitive; the delicate skin requires extra concentration of ingredients, hence the number of terrific and how-powered eye creams on the market. This sensitivity (plus a prominence of acupuncture points) is perhaps why a massage around the eyes can provide significant relief—even to things like migraines, headaches, and eye strain itself. There is a whole category of eye massage devices, some worn on the face and others manually administered, that provide this relief along with some simultaneous skincare benefits.
Read on for the best eye massagers, as well as the benefits and general do’s and don’t, with expertise courtesy of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green in NYC.
Key Benefits of Eye Massagers
Eye massagers aren’t exactly as the name implies; you aren’t really massaging the eyeballs themselves; how curious would that be? Rather, these products target the area around the eyes, and in doing so, provide numerous targeted benefits, Dr. Green notes. Here are the primary benefits of eye massagers that she deems useful:
- Stimulate circulation: By targeting acupuncture points around the eyes, eye massagers can boost blood flow to the area as well as lymphatic circulation. These generate numerous trickle-down benefits, some of which are mentioned just below.
- Improve elasticity: This circulation boost improves elasticity in this delicate area of the skin, which in turn reduces the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, and prevents sagging in the eyes that otherwise leads to puffy fat deposits sinking into the under eyes.
- Reduce dark circles: The lymphatic circulation and increased blood flow fortifies the skin and reduces the onset or appearance of dark circles.
- Relieve tension and pain: By targeting pressure points, eye massagers provide significant relief to the muscles in this area. “Eye massagers can be useful for those who suffer from headaches, migraines, and eye strain,” Green says.
- Decrease fluid buildup: Inflammation and puffiness due to fluid buildup is also mitigated by the circulation boost.
- Reduce redness: A boost in blood flow helps lessen superficial redness.
While eye massagers have the above benefits—and while many of them are associated with looking more alert and awake, like dark circles and puffiness—Dr. Green notes that overall tiredness seen in the eyes is not always something easily improved by these devices. That’s because it may be caused by something else: “The appearance of tiredness can show on the eyes due to stress, strain and fatigue, but it can also be due to deep tear troughs characterized by a deep crease between the upper cheek and lower eyelid that casts a shadow under the eyes,” she says. “Tear troughs occur due to genetics, so eye massagers likely will not help you look more awake [in this case]. However, a quick, painless treatment with dermal fillers in the tear trough area can boost volume and minimize the shadow beneath the eyes. This quick injection treatment can create a revitalized, rejuvenated, and more youthful appearance.”
How to Use Eye Massagers
Not all eye massagers have the same set of instructions, but in general, you need to find one that achieves its task with gentle pressure or vibrations, says Green, since the eye area is so sensitive. (In general, we are referring here to the devices you wear like large goggles.) “The device should not tug or pull on the skin,” she adds. Your device may even offer heated or infrared components to mimic a hot compress and stimulate circulation. But be mindful of the temp: “It should be warm and relaxing, not scorching or intolerable,” she says. “Instructions should be carefully followed when using eye massagers to prevent the risk of injury or damage to the eye.”
If you use a manual eye massager (even one that is electric/battery powered), then make sure to start inside the face (like under the inside corners of the eyes) and always roll outwards to push inflammation away from the center of the face. Avoid actual contact with the eyes, even when eyelids are closed, and target the skin to every side of the eye socket instead, always moving from the inside outward towards the temples. Many people like to incorporate these manual massagers into their morning or evening skincare regimen, by using the device to apply their eye serum or eye cream.
A Doctor’s Disclaimer On Eye Massagers
Remember, eye massagers are not considered treatments for vision issues. As such, Green urges that you do not use these devices if you have a history of cataracts, retina conditions, or even eye surgery such as Lasik. “FDA approval is not required for devices like eye massagers, which means there is a lack of studies to prove their safety and evidence that eye massagers are effective in treating migraines and eye conditions or have anti-aging properties.” While that may counter the above benefits we outlined, treat it more like a nuanced situation: These devices do provide benefits, because they stimulate circulation and relieve pain. So that is more or less indisputable; rather, you cannot pretend like they are a panacea for a problem, and lay extremely high expectations on them to rectify things like years-old wrinkles or clinical-grade headaches.
Breo iSee180 Eye Massager
This is the classic spa-style eye massaging device, with nine different vibration settings and some optional spa-style music that enhances the serenity of the moment.
BOQUBOO Eye Massager
This eye massager has four different modes, and can go between cooled and heated poles (from 67 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit) to help with puffiness, pain, dark circles and more. You can connect it to your other devices via Bluetooth.
RENPHO Heated Eye Massager with Bluetooth Music
This heated eye massager gives you a 15-minute soothe before bed, and can connect via Bluetooth to your phone or computer to stream your audio of choice. It has five modes that alternate various heats, compressions and vibrations.
FOREO Iris Illuminating Eye Massager
FOREO’s silicone product is resistant to bacterial accumulation, and its charge can last upwards of 140 uses. Use it as a standalone massager or to help apply and multiply the benefits of your go-to eye serum or cream.
Nurse Jamie Eyeonix Eye Massaging Beauty Tool
This massaging tool can be used with an eye cream or serum (as well as without), and helps boost circulation to magnify the benefits of the product, too.
Mount Lai De-Puffing Jade Eye Treatment Tool
A manual jade tool designed specifically for the contours around the eyes. Use it to apply your eye cream or serum, for a daily massage as part of your regimen.
Herbivore Jade De-Puffing Face Roller
The classic jade roller is used for depuffing the entire face and increasing circulation all around the mug, but its dual ends can help around precise areas of the face, like the eyes and the contours nearby.