There’s a reason why the skin around the eyes tends to look older first: That delicate area is sensitive to stretching and sagging, so it matures faster than other parts of your face. Hello, wrinkles.
So if maintaining a youthful complexion is important to you, it’s vital to use an eye cream daily. The thing is, there are thousands of options available, and it can be tough to know what to look for on the ingredients list. Even if you do know what to look for, tracking down something that fits the bill can be exhausting. (Read: near-impossible.)
So we did the work for you and talked to a few dermatologists to find out exactly what should be in an effective eye cream for wrinkles, and the best over-the-counter buys to try.
How to choose the best eye cream for wrinkles and fine lines
What makes an eye cream anti-aging? Tara Rao, MD, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group and Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital named a few key ingredients to look for.
Hyaluronic acid: Found naturally in the skin, hyaluronic acid is a form of sugar that draws in water, which helps to hydrate and plump the skin. Many times, under-eye wrinkles are a result of dryness, Dr. Rao says, and hyaluronic acid is well-studied and shown to help reduce the signs of aging. (Check out these eye creams for dry skin if hydration is your main problem.)
Peptides: Copper peptides, polypeptides, and oligopeptides are thought to penetrate the skin and help build hyaluronic acid and collagen. These structural proteins hold cells and tissues together like glue, diminishing the look of wrinkles.
Retinol: This vitamin A derivative stimulates collagen production and promotes cell turnover to help reduce the signs of aging. Because the skin under the eyes is so sensitive, the dermatologists we spoke to recommended products with relatively low concentrations of retinol.
Sunscreen: “This one’s a no-brainer,” says Dr. Rao. Without proper protection, UV rays break down collagen and age your skin.
Antioxidants: Vitamins C and E, ferulic acid, and berry extracts help reduce oxidative stress due to UV rays or pollutants, explains Dr. Rao. Antioxidants also improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The best eye creams for wrinkles
Whether you’re looking for something to plump deep-set wrinkles or a product to smooth fine lines and lessen the appearance of dark circles, you’ll find something that will work for you.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel Cream
This hydrating eye cream is gentle enough for your under-eyes and contains hyaluronic acid to plump and moisturize the skin. “It acts like a sponge to pull in hydration from the deep skin layers and even the air,” says Dr. Zeichner.
Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream
If you suffer from loose or crepey skin under the eyes, look no further than Aveeno’s eye cream, says Dr. Zeichner. Its antioxidant- and vitamin-rich complex stimulates elastin in the skin to help it stretch and bounce back into shape.
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex
“SkinCeuticals has been around a long time; they have a lot of research behind their products,” says Dr. Rao. This eye cream has a good mix of everything needed to diminish fine lines and wrinkles: antioxidants, peptides, and sunscreen.
RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream
Those who have excessive wrinkling around the eyes may want to consider a retinol eye cream. Dr. Zeichner recommends this moisturizing option because it minimizes dark circles, puffiness, crow’s feet, and wrinkles without being too harsh on the delicate under-eye skin.
EltaMD Renew Eye Gel
Dr. Rao is a fan of this dark circle- and wrinkle-fighting eye cream because it contains a mix of antioxidants, peptides, and moisturizing ingredients. “It also has niacinamide, which is a good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, that can be used on any part of the face,” she says.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer
The lightweight formula visibly reduces dark circles, fine lines, and bags under the eyes. “The caffeine constricts blood vessels to help remove excess fluid and hydrate fast to minimize the appearance of under-eye puffiness,” Dr. Zeichner explains.
NEOCUTIS Lumière Bio-Restorative Eye Cream
This eye cream gets a stamp of approval from Debra Jaliman, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of Skin Rules. It contains skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, caffeine to fight puffiness, and an ingredient called PSP, a combo of wrinkle-fighting peptides and antioxidants unique to Neocutis.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
Another great option from Neutrogena, this formula contains retinol to speed up cell turnover and effectively banish fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. Dr. Jaliman also loves this pick because it contains hyaluronic acid to offer extra moisture and plump the skin.
First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy AM Gel Cream
Most eye creams are made to be worn at night, but this lightweight formula was created specifically for daytime use under makeup so it can nourish your under-eye skin throughout the day. Free of any irritants, it contains peptides and various plant extracts to help minimize fine lines and hydrate deeply, so your skin is left silky smooth.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream
This eye cream from Peter Thomas Roth utilizes the power of vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights cell damage, helps produce collagen to keep skin looking firm, and brightens the skin. What’s more, it contains ferulic acid (to further boost the efficacy of vitamin C), vitamin E to nourish, hyaluronic acid to plump, and caffeine to reduce puffiness.
The best way to apply eye cream
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Now that you have an effective wrinkle-fighting eye cream, you need to actually use it! Consistency is key, and the way you apply your cream can make a difference in how well it works:
- Do a patch test: “You’d be surprised how often people neglect to read the ingredient list because they’re caught up in the hype of the product,” Dr. Rao says. Before using any new product, test it on a small part of your skin to ensure it doesn’t cause an adverse reaction.
- A pea-sized amount of product should be enough for both of eyes.
- Use your ring or pinky finger to apply your eye cream to ensure you are using a light pressure.
- Do not tug or pull at the skin, which only further promote wrinkles. Use a dabbing motion instead.
- Make sure to apply your eye cream to the under-eye area, eyelids, and outer-corner of your eyes, where wrinkles often begin. Avoid direct contact with your eyes.
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