What is the best eye cream? That depends on what kind of eyes you have…
Walk down the aisle of any drugstore or past any makeup counter, and you’ll be bombarded with hundreds of tubs and bottles promising to turn back the clock, erase dark circles, get rid of bags under eyes, and even out skin-tone. No cream promises to be ineffective, cause irritation, or make you break out, so it’s important to be smart when it comes to choosing the best eye cream for you. Here are a few tips to make the choice easier.
Best Under Eye Cream for Fine Lines
Erasing fine lines is usually a top priority for people in the market for a new eye cream. It’s important to know how eye creams for fine lines work so that you know what to look for and what to expect. Eye creams for fine lines don’t magically turn back time, but they are formulated to diminish them with two main strategies. One is to increase cell turnover and collagen production. Putting your natural cell turnover into overdrive helps you shed dead skin fast, with the hope that eventually a new layer of skin without the fine lines will appear. The other way is to give your skin lots of hydration. Dry, dehydrated skin retracts and tightens, making fine lines and wrinkles look far more prominent. A rich, thick cream will quench parched skin, making it plumper, healthier, and diminishing the appearance of fine lines.
Eye creams that put cell production into overdrive usually contain retinol. Retinol is derived from Vitamin A. It not only boosts collagen production and speeds cell turnover, but also unblocks pores. By increasing cell turnover, retinol evens out discolorations like sunspots and smooths out fine lines. Increased collagen production means that your skin will naturally become more elastic, plump, and resilient. For many people, retinol results in clear, soft, refreshed skin with fewer lines. However, retinol can be a little too aggressive for some users, causing irritation and redness. For those with sensitive skin, creams with peptides achieve the same thing without the pain. If you decide to use a retinoid, be vigilant about using an SPF when you go outside, as it makes skin more sensitive to the sun.
If hydration is what your skin needs, there is a mountain of products to sift through. A good hydrating cream for fine lines shouldn’t act like a run-of-the-mill body lotion: it should deliver rich moisture while equipping your skin to retain hydration. Look for hyaluronic acid: it can hold 1000 times its weight in moisture, making its hydrating abilities nearly unmatched by any other ingredient.
As part of being healthy in general, drinking lots of water and staying hydrated will do wonders for your skin. If your body is dehydrated, even the best anti-aging cream can only do so much, so make sure you’re drinking your 8 cups a day!
Read more here for specific eye cream reviews to help find the best eye cream for fine lines.
Eye Wrinkle Cream
Differentiated from fine lines by their deeper, more pernicious appearance, wrinkles are what people spend thousands of dollars to get rid of, and what cosmetics companies invest millions of dollars in scientists to “cure.” Retinol or peptides give even deep-set wrinkles a run for their money, stimulating collagen production and improving elasticity. Combine that with a day and night cream chock-full of antioxidants, which prevent environmental damage and free-radicals.
AHA and BHA peels or creams are also a good way to reduce wrinkles. These treatments are often administered by a qualified aesthetician or dermatologist. They slough off old, dead skin cells and reach a new, less-wrinkles layer of skin. In addition to diminishing wrinkles, they also make your skin look brighter, dewy, and generally more vibrant.
As with fine lines, however, you should always remain hydrated as well as moisturized—your wrinkles will look less prominent and diminish naturally. To prevent further wrinkles, always wear at least an SPF 30. Even the best eye wrinkle cream can’t do much if you don’t take precautions and intake liquids.
Click here to read more about choosing an eye wrinkle cream and reviews of the anti-wrinkle eye creams.
Dark circles can be a tricky foe to beat. Once you understand the causes of dark circles, it’s much easier to wade through the morass of eye creams that promise much but deliver little results.
Under eye circles can be caused by genetics, the anti-aging process, or lack of sleep. They can also be caused by a mirage: puffy eyes casting a shadow under your eyes that creates the illusion of dark circles, but is in fact a different underlying cause. “Panda eyes” are often a result of excess pigmentation due to sun damage or genetics and require something to even out skin tone, such as an ingredient specially formulated for the under-eye area which creates a boost in skin cell turnover. It may also be a result of excess tissue fluids or veins and capillaries becoming visible due to thinning, aging under-eye skin. Antioxidants like Vitamin C or peptides can help stimulate dermal fibroblasts, which will shrink bags and reduce fluid retention. Also helpful are creams which purport to increase microcirculation, speeding up blood flow which can often pool beneath the skin if it’s too sluggish: Butcher’s Broom is a natural ingredient that does just this.
If your dark circles are a result of late nights and early mornings, the easiest solution is to get more sleep. That’s not always possible for people, especially if they have particularly stressful or demanding jobs. You may not believe it, but caffeine, as a diuretic, can help draw water from the skin to deflate puffiness, which can cast shadows on the hollows of your eyes and make you appear more tired than you are. Get a moisturizer that contains caffeine and other invigorating ingredients like citrus. Antioxidants never hurt either. For an even more refreshing feel, put your cream in the fridge for a cooling, re-energizing sensation.
Click here to read about the best under eye creams for dark circles.
While all eye creams are designed to be gentle on the sensitive skin around your eyes, if you have easily-irritated skin on your face, chances are that your under-eye skin is too delicate for regular eye creams. Look out for eye creams specifically marked for “sensitive skin.” Shy away from retinol, which is fairly aggressive on delicate skin, and instead plump for anti-aging creams with peptides.
Gentle ingredients like cottonseed extract improves the skin’s barrier function, maintaining natural moisture. Creams with aloe, whose natural cooling and soothing properties make it excellent for sensitive skin. Vitamin C increases collagen production, and Vitamin E calms and protects skin. Avoid products with caffeine, common in anti-aging creams, as this can dry out sensitive skin.
To make sure that a prospective eye cream won’t irritate your skin, try comparing under eye cream reviews. This way you’ll get a sense of what others with your same skin type experienced and have a solid base of research when you finally go out and buy your eye cream.
Best Under Eye Cream for Puffiness
Puffy eyes can be frustrating. Friends and colleagues may tactlessly ask “what’s wrong,” tell you that you look tired, or even ask if you’ve been crying! Puffiness is usually caused by a combination of easily avoided dietary choices that cause fluid retention, such as excess salt-intake, sleep deprivation, and toxins built up by alcohol or tobacco. It can also be caused by allergies that cause leaks in the subcutaneous capillary beds, causing the skin around your eyes to look swollen and puffy. Try cutting out salty snacks and alcohol from your diet and you should see miraculous results. The results of a late night can also create puffy eyes, which luckily disappear towards the afternoon. If, however, your puffy eyes are more persistent, there are a few ingredients to look out for when choosing an eye cream.
Natural aging causes the sensitive skin around the eyes to become thinner and less resilient, leading to a creased, “baggy” eyes that make you seem tired or upset. The best thing you can do is give your under-eye skin a soothing, cooling treatment. Any eye cream will give it the hydration it needs, but products with chamomile, cucumber, and green tea extracts are particularly good for reducing swelling and firming up saggy eyes. Vitamin C and soy proteins, both antioxidants, are also great for puffy eyes. There are many roller-ball products with ceramic or metal applicators that massage your swollen eyes while delivering a cooling serum to the skin.
The tried-and-true method of placing cucumber slices or cool tea bags on your lids is another great—and cheap—way to keep puffiness at bay. It may not be a permanent solution, but it will certainly provide a cooling sense of relief.
Learn more about treating puffiness under eyes.
Bags Under Eyes
While it might seem like they’re the same as puffy eyes, bags under eyes are a very different story. Puffy eyes involve swelling or water retention of the skin around the eyes. In contrast, “eye bags” are just the opposite. As we age, we lose collagen and elasticity, especially when it comes to under-eye skin. It may begin to droop or look slightly deflated, the hollows under your eyes becoming more prominent. This can also be caused by lack of sleep: our eye muscles become confused and droopy. However, the best under eye creams are specifically designed to target this problem. Firming eye creams and eye serums are the best route when targeting eye bags. Very often, creams that will zap puffy eyes will lift eyes afflicted with bags, making most cosmetics that target the former suitable for the latter. Caffeine, green tea and cucumber extracts all re-energize droopy eyes, while products with yeast complex help tighten and firm up the skin.
Click to find out how to get rid of bags under eyes.
- Make sure to apply any cream you decide on in slow, circular movements to avoid damaging the outer layer of your skin. Applying it too vigorously can make puffy eyes worse.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking the proper amount of water in addition to a balanced diet will keep fine lines, dark circles, and puffy eyes from becoming more prominent.
- Using an SPF religiously is a great way to prevent the appearance or proliferation of fine lines, dark circles, and sunspots.
- Like medicine and milk, eye creams have an expiration date. This is usually located on the original packaging or box, so make sure to take a note of it.
- Always do a spot test on a small area of your face—or even the back of your wrist—to make sure you aren’t allergic or otherwise irritated by your eye cream. Even the best eye cream can’t help you, if you have a bad reaction to it.