It’s easy to stick to staples like cleanser and moisturizer for your everyday skincare routine. But certain “extras” – like eye creams – are worth the effort. In addition to improving the health and appearance of damage-prone skin around the eyes, eye creams help stave off the signs of aging. Read on for five reasons to go beyond the basics with a protective and reparative eye cream.
When it comes to first impressions, the eyes are usually the most notable feature. Unfortunately, this area is most susceptible to showing the signs of aging and fatigue. Thankfully, there’s an eye cream that can combat any issue – including fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles – to improve your appearance and boost your confidence. Here’s a guide to picking the perfect eye cream – including the ingredients to look for and helpful lifestyle tips for improving the appearance of your peepers.
1. Combat crow’s feet
Those pesky little lines that develop around the corner of your eyes – commonly known as crow’s feet – are often the first sign of aging. On average, crow’s feet are likely to appear during your mid-30’s, but can develop as early as your 20’s or as late as your 40’s.
Why do crow’s feet occur? First, skin around the eyes is much thinner and tends to be drier than elsewhere on the face, making it more susceptible to developing winkles. To make matters worse, common facial expressions like smiling and squinting cause skin around the eyes to crease and crinkle – also contributing to crow’s feet. Finally, environmental factors including smoking and UV exposure can accelerate the formation of these fine lines. Although genetics may influence the appearance of crow’s feet, a combination of products and daily habits can reduce the appearance of existing lines and prevent new ones from forming.
- Ideal ingredients: First, always apply an eye cream with SPF ingredients (see #5 below) to prevent crow’s feet. In addition, use an emollient eye cream formulated with retinol – a form of vitamin A that’s clinically proven to encourage cell growth and collagen production for stronger, younger looking skin. Since retinols can be harsh, sensitive skin types should try alternative ingredients like vitamin C and peptides (including neuropeptides) to tackle crow’s feet without irritating the delicate eye area.
- On occasion, apply an exfoliating eye cream with ingredients such as glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids to slough off dead skin and encourage new cell growth. Since retinols and glycolic acids can be abrasive for sensitive skin, be sure to start with a small concentration and gradually increase the amount over time as your skin adapts to these ingredients.
Since exfoliating exposes new skin that’s especially susceptible to sun damage, always use exfoliants in combination with an SPF eye cream. For best results, apply the SPF eye cream during the day to defend against sun damage and the anti-aging eye cream at night, since UV rays can actually break down the powerful anti-aging ingredient retinol, making it less effective.
- Product pick: M.D. Forte Skin Rejuvenation Eye Cream contains a winning combination of ingredients to combat crow’s feet, including glycolic acid to exfoliate and retinol to stimulate the production of skin-strengthening collagen.
- Wear sunglasses all year round to reduce squinting. Have multiple inexpensive pairs on hand in your car and purse, or if you wear eyeglasses opt for lenses that automatically darken in bright light.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach or side, which can lead to your skin becoming creased against your pillow for hours and contribute to the formation of crow’s feet. According to About, a U-shaped travel pillow will encourage you to sleep on your back. Or try silk pillowcases, which help your skin stay smooth as you sleep.
2. Brighten dark circles
For many, dark under-eye circles are the biggest battle in maintaining a healthy and youthful appearance. Although genetics can contribute to naturally darker skin pigment, the thinning of skin as we age can also play a role in dark circles, as dark blood vessels become more visible beneath the skin’s surface. In addition, sun damage can cause darkening of the skin (called hyperpigmentation), while fatigue and menopause may worsen the appearance of dark circles.
- Ideal ingredients: If dark circles are a result of darkened pigment, Good Housekeeping recommends an eye cream with lightening ingredients including licorice extract, mica or kojic acid. Other skin brighteners include hydroquinone, niacinamide, green tea and vitamin C. To treat dark circles due to thin skin, an eye cream with caffeine can help constrict blood vessels for a brightening effect.
- Product pick: Glytone Fading Lotion features hydroquinone and kojic acid to effectively brighten discoloration under the eyes.
- Apply a cream-based concealer that’s one shade lighter than your natural skin color. Avoid powder, which can settle into fine lines.
3. Reduce puffiness
Puffy eyes can plague your appearance and are formed when fluid accumulates beneath the eyes. From salty foods and alcohol to allergies and hormones, many factors contribute to swollen eyes.
- Ideal ingredients: Since puffy eyes are especially obvious in the mornings, using an eye cream formulated with caffeine immediately after waking can help reduce swelling by stimulating circulation and thus tightening skin. In addition, look for ingredients that calm inflammation and soothe skin, such as chamomile.
- Product pick: Neocutis Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream is a multi-tasking eye cream that contains caffeine to reduce puffiness, as well as a potent blend of protein-based human growth factors and hyaluronic acid to smooth and strengthen skin.
- Sleeping with your head slightly raised above the rest of your body can help prevent fluid from pooling beneath the eyes.
- Skip salty meals and excessive alcohol – especially at night – to reduce water retention and puffy eyes.
- Give your eyes a cold treatment to ease swelling. In the morning, lay a cold compress, ice pack or cold washcloth over your lids, and let it sit for several minutes.
- Remove makeup before bed since sleeping in heavy eye cosmetics can irritate skin and trigger puffiness.
4. Quench dryness
Not only is skin around your eyes nearly four times thinner than elsewhere on the face, but it also contains far fewer oil glands, making it especially susceptible to dryness. And since dry skin only accentuates the look of aging and dullness, maintaining moisture is critical for eyes that are ageless and radiant.
- Ideal ingredients: Hyaluronic acid is ideal for locking in moisture. According to Allure, this powerful ingredient holds as much as 1,000 times its weight in water. Ceramides are also ideal for improving hydration in the delicate area around the eyes.
- Turn down the heat when washing your face and showering. Hot temperatures can zap moisture from the skin and exacerbate dryness.
- Turn up the humidity by turning down the thermostat, since hot air tends to hold less moisture. Also, run a humidifier in your bedroom at night to maintain dewy, skin-quenching air while you sleep.
5. Prevent sun damage
Using SPF daily can take years off your eyes by preventing the formation of lines, wrinkles and age spots. Since normal sunscreens may irritate the delicate eye area, use a specially formulated SPF eye cream to defend without irritation.
- Ideal ingredients: Experts recommend using sun blocks with physical UV blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are gentler and more effective than chemical ingredients. In addition, look for eye creams that contain antioxidants, which are powerful agents that prevent sun damage by neutralizing free radicals.
- Protect your peepers by wearing UV blocking sunglasses when outside, and avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm when UV rays are strongest.
Eye creams for ageless eyes
Bright, healthy skin around the eyes can help you feel confident in all aspects of your life – from putting your best face forward at the office to feeling comfortable in photographs. Whether you’re concerned with combating the signs of aging, concealing the signs of fatigue or preventing future damage, there’s an eye cream to suit your every need.
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