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The area around your eyes is the first place you usually start to see the signs of aging. As the most delicate and thin skin on our face, the area around our eyes is more prone to damage and loses elasticity faster than the rest of our skin.
The good news is that a good eye cream can help reverse the telltale signs of aging and protect the skin from further loss of youthfulness.
In this article, we take a closer look at what happens to the skin as we age and some of the benefits of using a high-quality eye cream. We’ve also provided our top recommendations for the best eye creams on the market, as well as key ingredients to look for.
Many people start to notice signs of aging around their eyes in their late 20s and early 30s. This is when collagen production and the skin's cell turnover process begin to slow down.
During your normal skin cell turnover process, the skin sheds dead cells and produces new, healthy ones. New skin cells are responsible for keeping our skin looking radiant and youthful.
On average, it takes 40 to 56 days for your skin to produce new skin cells and regenerate. During the skin’s cell turnover process, our bodies also produce collagen and push it to the outer layer of the skin to help keep it firm. Collagen is a protein that’s found in the middle layer of our skin—also known as the dermis—that provides stability, flexibility, and helps combat the signs of aging.
As we get older, this process takes even longer. This causes a buildup of dead skin cells and slower healing, which can make our complexion appear dull and increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
When the cell turnover process starts slowing down, our skin’s natural ability to produce collagen also declines. This means that the signs of aging become more apparent as skin loses “bounce” and resiliency.
The skin around our eyes lacks soft tissue like muscle and fat which contribute to the plumpness we see in the rest of our faces.
This makes our eyes more prone to wrinkles because we stretch the skin in this area more than we think. When we smile, laugh, frown, or narrow our eyes, the skin is stretched in different directions. Over time, these movements naturally form delicate wrinkles.
As we get older, other factors that contribute to premature aging also become more apparent. Damage caused by sun exposure, smoking, and stress also becomes more noticeable when we enter our 20s and 30s. This often results in:
“If you already use an anti-aging moisturizer, you may be wondering why you need a separate product for your eyes,” says Dr. Lilliana Ramirez, a board-certified dermatologist and the director of skincare success at Nava MD.
“The skin around the eyes is very thin and more prone to damage. A regular moisturizer often doesn't give the under-eye skin the hydration it needs.”
Eye creams are formulated to specifically target that delicate eye skin to restore moisture levels, brighten dark circles, and combat fine lines and wrinkles.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of using an eye cream.
Eye creams are typically used because of their anti-aging benefits.
They contain ingredients like vitamin A (retinoids), hyaluronic acid, and peptides that target the area around your eyes to improve the appearance of aging skin.
Adding a revitalizing eye cream to your daily skin care regimen as early as your 20s can help with preventing fine lines and wrinkles as you get older.
However, it’s never too late to start using an eye cream to benefit from its anti-aging properties.
Older women who use an eye cream may see benefits like a brighter complexion, fewer dark circles, and firmer, smoother skin.
A regular moisturizer sometimes doesn’t contain a high enough concentration of moisturizing ingredients to give the skin around your eyes the hydration it needs.
This is because the area contains fewer oil glands and can struggle to maintain its moisture naturally.
Many eye creams contain a high concentration of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin A, and peptides to hydrate and moisturize this area. Hydrating the under-eye area increases its ability to retain moisture, which helps keep the skin looking firm.
Because the skin around our eyes is so thin, it can make dehydrated and puffy-looking areas more noticeable. Using an eye cream can help you combat that.
Eye creams help hydrate and lighten dark circles, making the skin appear more radiant. Keeping the under-eye skin hydrated not only helps it retain moisture levels, but it also combats puffiness more effectively.
When you shop for an eye cream, make sure to look for ingredients that will:
You should also make sure to avoid ingredients that might over-exfoliate or irritate the skin. This can cause further damage to these already delicate areas.
Potentially harmful ingredients to look out for in eye creams include:
In the next section, we list effective ingredients that a revitalizing eye cream for wrinkles should contain.
Retinoids are a group of vitamin A derivatives known to increase the skin’s cell turnover process, boost collagen production, and make the skin appear more youthful.
An eye cream containing a good retinoid can help fight the formation of new and existing fine lines, and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
This is because retinoids work to remove dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of new, healthy ones. Retinoids like retinol, retinal, retinaldehyde, and tretinoin remove impurities and help our skin retain a bright, firm complexion.
Retinoid-containing creams also help combat damage caused by external factors like stress and a lack of sleep as they can neutralize free radicals that harm skin cells.
A standard retinol serum or face cream may be too potent for the under-eye area and can cause irritation or inflammation.
This is why you should look for retinoid products that are specifically formulated for use around the eyes.
Retinoids to consider include retinol, retinal, retinaldehyde (all available in over-the-counter creams) and tretinoin, which is prescription.
Vitamin B3 derivatives like niacinamide are well-known anti-aging ingredients.
Niacinamide is an antioxidant that hydrates your skin and reduces excess oil production.
This is a good ingredient to look out for if you want to reduce dark circles because it improves hyperpigmentation and the appearance of uneven skin tone.
Niacinamide is also anti-inflammatory, decreases puffiness, and promotes skin elasticity—which is vital for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C boosts collagen production and minimizes existing damage from sun exposure.
An eye cream containing vitamin C can help lighten dark circles, make the skin firmer, and even skin tone.
Vitamin C products work well when combined with other anti-aging ingredients such as vitamin B and hyaluronic acid.
Research shows that when vitamin C is combined with hyaluronic acid, the ingredients work together to target wrinkles and hydrate skin in a shorter amount of time.
To get the most out of an eye cream, look for a product that contains a 10%-20% concentration of vitamin C.
Hyaluronic acid keeps the skin hydrated because of its water-retention abilities.
This helps with elasticity and combating environmental damage that can cause dryness, sagging skin, and dark spots.
As an antioxidant, hyaluronic acid also helps minimize existing damage from sun exposure that can cause wrinkles.
Dermatologists recommend an eye cream formula containing a 0.01% concentration of hyaluronic acid for an effective wrinkle treatment.
Peptides are a form of amino acids that occur naturally in your skin. They also contain proteins that help the skin maintain a healthy, youthful appearance.
Collagen is one of the most common peptides. It’s what helps our skin retain its elasticity, especially when it becomes thinner as we age.
By keeping the skin hydrated and making the eye area firmer, peptides help combat sagging skin and smooth fine lines.
Squalane is a synthetic substance that is similar to the naturally occurring oil that helps keep our skin moisturized. It’s commonly sourced from olives or wheatgerm oil.
In its processed form, squalene mimics the skin’s natural oil production process to boost hydration and fight signs of aging.
Squalene’s antioxidant properties help protect skin cells while reducing crow's feet and dark circles. It can also help to reduce puffiness and smoothes the under-eye area.
Now that you have a better understanding of how eye creams work and which ingredients to look for, let’s take a look at how to use them effectively.
Although using an eye cream may seem straightforward, there are always things you can do to enhance its abilities.
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest area on your face so it’s important to be gentle when applying skin care products.
Take a pea-sized amount of eye cream and apply it to the skin using your ring finger.
Your ring finger naturally has the lightest touch and applies the least amount of pressure, reducing the risk of bruising.
Remember that a small amount goes a long way with an eye cream. Using more than a pea-sized amount can cause clogged pores and irritation around the area.
Don’t apply your eye cream directly underneath your bottom lashes. This can increase the risk of infection if the product gets into the eye.
For maximum results, apply it in a dotted line along the bone of the eye socket and eyebrow.
It’s also important that you try and avoid the eyelids when applying your eye cream. This is because some eye creams can be too potent for this area and cause irritation.
Gently pat the eye cream into the skin with your ring finger. Don’t drag or rub the product aggressively as this can cause damage to the skin.
Not all eye creams are created equal.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best over-the-counter (OTC) products, as recommended by Nava MD’s board-certified dermatologists.
Nava MD’s revitalizing eye cream comes highly recommended for a number of reasons. It’s formulated specifically for the delicate skin around the eye and is powered by Aquabeautine XL®, a unique innovation that exfoliates the skin and removes dead skin cells with natural enzymes, leaving healthy cells intact.
Nava MD’s eye cream:
In addition, Nava MD’s revitalizing eye cream contains anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C and squalene. These ingredients work together to seal in moisture and reduce dullness, leaving you with a bright and youthful appearance.
Nava MD does more, too. We help men and women access prescription skincare solutions from home with the help of licensed dermatologists. Our free skin care consultation can help you get the right prescription products for your skin’s unique needs, too.
Benefits of using Nava MD:
All-inclusive anti-aging solutions
In this section, we list some good options for OTC eye creams to help you maintain a bright complexion. These products also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Neocutis Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream
Puffiness and dark circles are common concerns as we encounter environmental factors like stress and lack of sleep.
This product is lightweight and can help the skin repair itself by increasing elasticity around the eyes. Hyaluronic acid plumps and hydrates the skin without clogging pores to restore clarity and youthfulness to tired and sagging skin.
Elizabeth Arden Line Erasing Retinol Eye Cream
Elizabeth Arden’s Line Erasing Eye Cream has been formulated with multiple benefits in mind.
This product’s retinol concentration has been designed to work continuously for over 8 hours, allowing the skin to absorb the retinol over a longer period of time.
The eye cream also contains peptides and niacinamide, which are both important for collagen production, smoother skin, and boosting hydration. This eye cream is intended to combat puffiness and is suitable for people with sensitive skin.
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
This hydrating eye cream contains a variety of beneficial ingredients, including niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.
Suitable for all skin types, it’s intended to smooth and brighten the skin around the eyes to reduce the appearance of sagging and dark circles.
The CeraVe Eye Repair Cream can also help restore the protective barrier around the eyes and combat puffiness.
The INKEY List’s Retinol Eye Cream
The INKEY List’s Retinol Eye Cream is formulated to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while you sleep. It contains a slow-release retinol formula intended to minimize irritation and for prolonged benefits.
As mentioned earlier, retinol is beneficial for reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and renewing the skin.
This revitalizing eye cream also contains hyaluronic acid to help keep skin hydrated and can be effective for reducing the appearance of dark circles.
iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex
This intense eye moisturizer contains peptides and antioxidants to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as brighten the under-eye area.
Hyaluronic acid provides deep hydration and enhances the firmness and elasticity around the eyes.
Similar to the eye creams above, it's is also intended to improve dark circles and puffiness.
Cocokind Revitalizing Eye Cream
The Cocokind Revitalizing Eye Cream is formulated with powerful plant-based ingredients like Persian silk tree, hibiscus flower acids, and oat extract.
These ingredients make this eye cream a great option for vegans.
The Persian silk tree plant extract and hibiscus flower acids in this eye cream are intended to brighten dark circles and reduces puffiness.
It's intended to exfoliates the skin, and oat extract helps lock moisture into the skin and reduces irritation.
Biossance’s Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
The Biossance eye cream contains a variety of ingredients intended to lift and firm skin, as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines.
It’s formulated with squalene, which helps to hydrate the area around the eyes while the marine algae extract works to reduce wrinkles.
This anti-aging eye cream is also intended to fade dark circles and crow’s feet, smooth the skin, and combat eye puffiness. Its formula is non-irritating, meaning it’s suitable for sensitive skin.
It’s normal to be concerned when the appearance of aging skin becomes more noticeable.
Although there’s no miracle cure, there are products and ingredients that can help your skin regain and retain its youthful appearance.
At Nava MD, our formulations help you do exactly that. We make it easy to get quality skin care solutions through online consultations with licensed dermatologists.
They help you with a personalized treatment plan for your skin’s needs and sensitivities. These custom prescription formulas are blended based on your needs and shipped to your, if approved. And, you have ongoing access for questions or concerns once you've received your treatment.
Learn more and get started by clicking here.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency