How to Choose an Eye Cream

The best ingredients for wrinkles, bags, and dark circles

In This Article

Wrinkles around the eyes, bags, and dark circles will affect most of us sooner or later.

As you age, your skin loses oil and sweat glands, making it drier. It loses the fat that keeps your skin plump and smooth. And it loses collagen and elastin that keep your skin supple. All of this leads to creping and wrinkles, such as crow’s feet at the outer corners of your eyes.

Additionally, drooping often occurs in the skin above or below your eyes. Fat “retires” from your eyelids and moves south into your eye sockets, making your eyes sink and appear darker. Sometimes your lower eyelids droop, causing bags under your eyes.

As the skin around your eyes thins, the dark-bluish blood vessels underneath become more visible. That’s why dark circles get even darker as you get older.

All of this is just natural aging. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. Eye creams promise you brighter eyes or a rejuvenated appearance. They really can make a difference, as long as the cream you buy is best for the eye complaint you want to improve. 

What to Look for 

Certain eye cream ingredients offer specific benefit for the skin around your eyes.

  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants protect your skin from cell damage. They counteract the wrinkling and dulling effects of aging. They can brighten your skin and prevent further environmental damage, specifically to the skin around your eyes. Look for ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid.
  • Hyaluronic acid or ceramides: These substances moisturize your skin by trapping water, helping plump up wrinkled areas.
  • Retinol: This form of vitamin A stimulates collagen to reduce and prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Peptides: For drooping, under-eye bags, look for peptides. These anti-aging ingredients increase collagen and elastin to firm up sagging skin. 
  • Niacinamide or kojic acid: These ingredients can help lighten under-eye circles. They brighten your skin by slowing down pigment-producing cells. However, if the dark circles under your eyes are because you stayed up too late, forget the eye cream and grab a nap instead. 

For best results, use these products consistently and long term. Usually, it takes three to four months to start seeing the effects of any skin care regimen.

What to Avoid

One thing you don’t need in an eye cream is a high price. More expensive does not mean better. You can find plenty of affordable options that contain the ingredients you need for younger looking eyes. 

Sometimes eye creams cost more simply because they look, feel, or smell pricier. I don’t recommend springing for these indulgences. They won’t work any better than lower-cost eye creams with the same ingredients. In fact, they may not work as well.

Products with a strong fragrance can irritate the delicate skin around your eye. Irritation can cause dryness and potentially more damage, like wrinkles.

How to Perk up Your Eyes Without Eye Cream

No matter your age, you also can reduce aging effects on your eyes without eye cream.

  • Use sunscreen. Use the same cream you use on the rest of your face. Or find a sunscreen designed for your eye area, SPF 30 or higher. Either way, protecting your eyes from sun damage will help keep wrinkles away. Sunglasses can help too.
  • Rest and revive. Years of skipping out on sufficient sleep can show in your eyes—or at least the skin around them. Do your best to get six to eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Avoid smoking. In addition to damaging your heart and lungs, smoking destroys the collagen and elastic fibers in your skin. Over time, your skin shrivels.
  • Take a breath of fresh air. Environmental pollutants, like soot and exhaust fumes, can damage your skin. Get away for a stroll in parks and green spaces when you can.
  • Nourish your skin from the inside. Eat a balanced diet with healthy fats from olive oil, avocado, and nuts. Fruits and vegetables can provide an extra boost of skin-protecting antioxidants. Drinking plenty of water will help keep your skin hydrated.

The same tips that keep your body healthy will help keep your eyes looking younger. The right eye cream also can improve your skin’s resilience to aging.

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