Some of the first signs of aging, as many of us know all too well, are the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. Their initial appearances can be startling, to say the least. Finding the best eye cream to tackle the development of lines and wrinkles is crucial yet often difficult. Many products claim to be the solution but are not. It is easy to waste money trying cream after cream, never quite finding the right one. For many of us, this is enough to get us to give up and allow our skin to age on its own, doing damage that could be avoided by using the right eye cream.
However, there is hope. There are skin care creams (eye creams in particular) on the market that can help combat those pesky eye wrinkles. Since it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for in terms of ingredients, here are some tips on what to look for in a high-quality eye cream.
What to Look for in an Eye Cream
While the area around your eyes is more sensitive than much of the skin on your face, you can use the same facial cream around your eyes that you use on all areas of your face. Given how sensitive all of your facial skin can be, it’s important to use products that will not cause irritation anywhere on your face. Unfortunately, many products contain ingredients that can cause irritation as well as inflammation that exacerbates the appearance of aging. Therefore, it is important to avoid facial creams that contain synthetic fragrances, sensitizing plant extracts, plant oils, petrolatum, and mineral oil. Mineral oil and petrolatum are heavy oils that will weaken the elasticity of the skin around the eyes, causing more wrinkles to be able to form.
Look for creams that are rich in antioxidants, that can repair skin, and that are fragrance-free. If you are already using an effective, highly enriched facial serum or moisturizer, you can try applying that around your eyes.
When You Need an Eye Cream
Eye cream can be beneficial for many people, as we tend to naturally have dry skin around our eyes. Since the area around the eyes is vulnerable to dryness (and, therefore, developing lines over time), a facial serum or moisturizer might not always be enriched enough to combat signs of aging and could even contribute to dryness. Some of us are even more prone to dryness or dark, heavy circles under the eyes due to non-age-related physical issues. Even people in their 20’s might need eye cream and should consider using it as a preventative measure that deters the skin from losing elasticity over time.
Dark Circles, Puffy Eyes, and Sagging Skin
Many of us have dark circles, puffy eyes, and sagging skin, and these physical manifestations can begin when we are in our 20’s or 30’s. Although stress and fatigue can be culprits for some, there can be deeper, underlying issues which a facial serum or moisturizer will not be able to fix.
When skin around the eye ages, fat pads that exist underneath the eye can shift, resulting in puffiness that cannot be treated by creams. Creams can work, however, for those who have developed excess fluid or who have dark circles due to lack of sleep. In addition to using eye cream, you should consider reducing puffiness and dark circles by limiting your consumption of inflammation inducers like salt and alcohol, get plenty of rest (between 7 and 9 hours per night for adults), and take antihistamines if you are an allergy sufferer.
Eye creams are also beneficial for those who have sustained sun damage over the years. Hydrating eye creams can help alleviate dryness, inflammation, and irritated puffiness from sun-damaged skin.
Working to reduce the appearance of dark circles can be somewhat more of an involved process. Applying a product containing sunscreen – which many eye creams do not contain – around the eyes in the daytime is a great step to help reduce circles. Daytime and nighttime creams should ideally have melanin-inhibiting ingredients that help bring vitality to your skin tone.
To deal with wrinkles and sagging skin, creams and serums rich with antioxidants and ingredients that work to repair damaged skin are absolutely ideal. While there is no miraculous skin-lifting cream on the market (and you should beware of those that make this often exaggerated claim), a good eye cream should be able to provide some degree of tightening of the skin around the eyes.
Why Packaging is Crucial for Eye Creams
Avoid jars; they do not sufficiently contain and protect air- and light-sensitive eye cream ingredients. Look for opaque containers that are well-sealed. Also, do not assume that because a package says it is specifically created for the eye area that it will be a great product. Check the ingredients label on the packaging to ensure that you are buying something that has the ingredients you need. Of course, it’s also important to not fall prey to packages that guarantee their company’s products will completely stop your skin from aging. Sadly, this is just not true for any of us. Our skin will age, but it can age more healthily with the right product.
During the Day, SPF is Key!
Applying sun protection is a daily ‘must’ if you want to avoid skin damage and, of course, skin cancer. The skin around your eyes is just as vulnerable as the rest of your face, so applying a product containing SPF every morning is a good rule-of-thumb, even if you live in a colder climate. While it is okay to use a facial moisturizer that is SPF 25 or higher, there are more key ingredients you should be checking the label for when you go to make a purchase.
So what is it that you should be looking for in an eye cream with SPF? Here are five key ingredients you should check for when browsing eye creams with SPF:
Retinol is a widely-used ingredient found in skin care formulas that stimulates collagen production. It can help to unclog pores, give a rosier complexion, and fight against wrinkles. While retinol is a key ingredient, it should not be the only active ingredient used on the skin.
- Zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide
Try to ensure that you buy a product that contains either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or a mixture of both. Either one is often present in SPF formulas; if you are lucky, you might find a product that contains a mixture of the two. Zinc oxide is effective at blocking long ultraviolet-A rays while titanium dioxide does well at blocking ultraviolet-B rays and short wave ultraviolet-A rays.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C assists in stimulating collagen production in the skin. It also creates a brightening in the skin tone, which is especially helpful if you are someone who is naturally vitamin C deficient, as those of us who live in cooler climates with longer winters tend to be. Vitamin C additionally protects the skin from aging caused by free-radical damage.
Ceramides are fats that naturally exist in the skin’s oil. They are responsible for holding epidermis cells together, thereby strengthening your skin’s outermost layer of defense. Ceramide-based products are often used to help treat individuals diagnosed with dry skin and eczema.
Arginine is an essential amino acid capable of healing wounds (when taken orally) that is often used in anti-aging products, as well as in oral supplements and sports drinks. While no study has yet to absolutely confirm whether arginine can regenerate damaged, aging skin when topically applied, there are individuals who claim that it provides extra hydration for their skin.
Products for Every Age Group
Skin types of different ages require diverse nourishment ingredients from eye creams. The skin care needs of someone in their 20s will be different from those of someone in their 50s. Therefore, it is important to know what to look for in products based on your age.
People in Their 20s
If you are in your 20s, the most important step you can take in preventing skin damage around your eyes is to clean your face every night. Cosmetics unfortunately tend to trap airborne free-radicals (like dust and exhaust fumes) in the skin, so it is vital that you use a facial cleanser in addition to eye cream. You can keep your eyes young by using an SPF-containing eye cream in addition to regularly cleaning your face and applying facial moisturizer. Try to find a cream with a SPF of at least 30 and that preferably contains ultraviolet blockers like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Additionally, if you are frequently active outdoors – especially in a warmer climate where the sun often shines – you should consider using a cream with a higher SPF number.
People in Their 30s
If you are in your 30s, there is a chance that you have already noticed signs of aging in your face, especially around your eyes. Signs of hyper-pigmentation, such as dark circles forming under the eyes, become increasingly more common, and the texture of your skin can start to change. Eye creams containing retinol should be introduced while you are in your 30s since retinol has been proven to be a proactive measure in keeping wrinkles at bay. Retinol-based creams help with increasing cell turnover rates, which, in turn, reduces the appearances of fine lines and dark circles beneath the eyes. Products with retinol can also stimulate the production of collagen, which can slow down over time.
People in Their 40s
In your 40s is when you will most frequently seem to notice the appearances of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles under the eyes. Anything that was there in your 20s or 30s can become more pronounced. Again, products with retinol can be extremely helpful at this point. It is also pertinent to use products that contain sufficient amounts of vitamins A, C, and E since they elevate collagen production and help keep free-radicals from getting trapped in your skin. Since inflammation tends to speed up as you age, an eye cream that is rich in antioxidants will help to reverse the increase of inflammation in the eye area.
People Over 50 and Mature Skin
For those over the age of 50 and who have mature skin, it is vital that you consider using eye cream products that contain SPF (again, this should ideally be somewhere over SPF 30) with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, retinol, essential vitamins (like A, C, and E), anxtioxidants, ceramides, and arginine. Since skin tends to dry out as we get older and the area around the eyes is already vulnerable to dryness, applying a cream that is rich in moisturizer will be beneficial. Any product you invest in should contain ingredients that boost collagen production and should be incorporated into your morning skin care routine. It is also helpful to add an antioxidant cream or serum to both your morning and nighttime routines to increase moisture in the skin.
The Bottom Line
It is never too early to start treating your skin well and preparing it to combat the usual physical signs of aging: puffiness, dark circles under the eyes, fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Of course, the aging process is unavoidable, but there are ways to keep your skin’s youthful vitality enduring longer.
Adding the best eye cream you can find to fit your needs will benefit you as long as it becomes part of your daily routine. Do not abide by promises of “age-defying” products; instead, look for eye creams that are properly sealed in opaque containers that utilize SPF 30 or higher with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide in their formulas. Also, be on the lookout for products that contain essential ingredients for collagen production stimulation and free-radical protection.