Whether we’re guilty of countless sleepless nights or spending too many days in the sun, our eyes are the first to show off all of our sins. “The skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin on the body and ages more rapidly than skin in other areas,” says San Antonio dermatologist Vivian Bucay, MD. “That’s why the changes associated with aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, tend to show up around the eyes before other areas.”
The good news? Preventing signs of aging around your peepers is easier than correcting those fine lines later in life, and luckily, those premature wrinkles can be deterred from settling in when confronted by the right eye cream. Ahead, the best products to use according to your under-eye concern.
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No surprise here, but according to Dr. Bucay, “Retinol is still the gold standard for fine lines and wrinkles.” For more advanced facial lines, the Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment ($39) is formulated with retinol, red grapeseed extract and vitamin C for multiple signs of aging, and the RoC Eye Cream ($25) tackles crow’s feet, puffiness and dark circles with every use.
For sensitive skin…
If anti-wrinkle eye creams typically leave you with watery eyes and sensitivity, it’s time to rethink your strategy. “While retinol does helps exfoliate skin and accelerate skin renewal, it can be irritating,” says Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD. “In that case, look for peptides like Pal-KTTS, Matrixyl or other collagen stimulating peptides,” adds Dr. Bucay. For a budget-friendly option, the No7 Restore & Renew Multi Action Eye Cream ($23) is available at the drugstore and contains Matrixyl.
Dr. Behr’s top pick is Neocutis Lumière Riche ($108), which she says “contains growth factors and peptides in a moisturizing base to stimulate collagen and elastin without irritation.”
For dark circles…
“Ingredients like haloxyl improve vascular changes that can lead to bluish under-eye circle,” explains Dr. Bucay. So, if shadowy under-eyes plague you each morning, try SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex ($97). It contains haloxyl to eliminate darkness under the eyes while blueberry extract nourishes the skin to boost elasticity in the long-term—talk about a win-win!
New York dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD loves the silky Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment ($85) for the under-eye area, calling out the product’s unique Tri-Hex technology for effectively stimulating collagen and tackling common lower-eye complaints, including excess wrinkles and dark circles.
For the ingredient-conscious shopper…
To tackle puffiness, fine lines and dark circles while also staying away from potentially harmful ingredients, this Better Off Bedroom Eyes ($45) cream is a good option. Formulated without parabens, sulfates or phthalates, users can rest assured that their delicate eye area is being replenished with ingredients like shea butter and hyaluronic acid instead of being coated with possible risky elements. As a bonus, the product is cruelty-free and vegan friendly.
“The under-eye area can be
affected by fluid retention, making the eyes look puffy,” says Dr. Bucay. To reduce puffiness, use an eye cream with a metal
applicator—like the Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage ($33)—to cool and soothe the area while aiding in lymphatic
For a Botox-like effect…
“Peptides like argireline have neuromodulatory-like effects that relax the tiny muscles in the skin, making it look smoother and tighter,” says Dr. Bucay. This neurotoxin-like effect can prevent deeper wrinkles from forming and even smooth out existing fine lines. While not necessarily a cream specifically for the eyes, The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% ($8) can be smoothed around the eye area and along the forehead to improves the appearance of facial areas that are prone to creasing.
For a wrinkle-busting option that’s safe enough to apply on the lids, too, dermatologists swear by clinically proven Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream ($97), which works to transform the eye area—think less redness, wrinkles and dark circles—in as little as four weeks.
For every eye concern…
Regardless of your specific eye area concern, there’s one product that everyone should be using: SPF. “Every
age group will benefit from an eye cream that contains sunscreen,” says Dr.
Bucay. “Many sunscreens are not appropriate for the sensitive eyelid skin, but
there are some great options out there. My current favorite is Colorescience Total Eye Renewal Therapy SPF 35
($69), a tinted cream that contains a mineral-based sunscreen combined with
anti-aging ingredients that improve skin laxity.”
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