The skin around your eyes is the first to show your age, making this area the most prone to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. It’s thin, delicate, sensitive, and naturally lacking in moisture. Even smiling, blinking, squinting, and yawning causes creasing over time. So regardless of how great your genes are, we can all use a little help.
Being presented with shelves full of eye cream (which, by the way, are never in one place) might encourage you to simply grab the prettiest bottle and call it a day. Please don’t do that — we’re here to make it easy. Before buying an eye cream, consider the different types of formulations available based on your skin type, textural preference, and your specific concerns. Then determine the extra tools you might want to amplify application. Study up before you spend your hard-earned cash!
What Makes a Good Eye Cream?
Cosmetic Eye Issues & Their Causes
- Aging — Collagen, elastin, and fat decrease as you age, and the tissues and muscles around your eyes weaken, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle. You can't help some of this, but tugging at skin even as you remove makeup can expedite it.
- Dark circles — Typically, dark circles under the eyes are the result of lack of sleep, allergies, or poor blood circulation. Unfortunately, they're also a part of aging and genetics. They occur when you can see the blood vessels under the skin's thin surface.
- Puffiness — Puffiness simply occurs when fluid accumulates under the skin, causing what appears to be swelling. Any time you have a loss of water, say, from crying or eating too much ramen, your body will overcompensate by adding more water. This can also happen when you sleep on your stomach, as water inside your body is subject to gravity.
- Under-eye bags — This is easy to confuse with puffiness because they are related. The Mayo Clinic states, “With aging, the tissues around your eyes, including some of the muscles supporting your eyelids, weaken. Normal fat that helps support the eyes can then move into the lower eyelids, causing the lids to appear puffy. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling." Several factors, including changes in weather, hormone levels, eating salty foods, lack of sleep, allergies, and genetics, can all lead to under-eye bags.
How Eye Creams Work
Eye creams essentially work in three ways: by moisturizing, calming, and protecting the delicate skin surrounding the eyes. The best eye creams will also include ingredients that renew and regenerate cells, strengthening skin fibers such as collagen and elastin.
Eye creams deliver moisture a bit differently than their facial counterparts. Because the product is applied so close to the eyes, eye creams are usually much gentler and contain a higher concentration of emollients to infuse hydration. Proper, deep moisturization is arguably the most important way an eye cream works. Consistent moisturizing plumps up skin, warding off dryness and visible blood vessels. When the skin stays supple, it slows wrinkling and instantly creates a brighter, fresher look.
Setting Realistic Expectations
What You Can Expect From Eye Cream
Through major moisturizing action, you realistically can slow down the formation of wrinkles by keeping skin as plump as possible. For existing issues — like dark circles, wrinkles, and fine lines — eye creams help improve their appearance. For example, you can boost your skin’s elasticity by adding emollience to cells, but it’s impossible to directly increase elasticity. Eye creams can also help stimulate collagen production through ingredients like vitamin C and promote cell turnover with retinol.
What You Shouldn't Expect From Eye Cream
Eye creams comprise ingredients that offer cosmetic benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and brightening effects for puffiness and dark circles. Aside from the preventative benefits eye creams offer through consistent moisturizing, they generally improve the appearance of issues. There are no eye creams that can directly suck the fluid out from your eye skin to eliminate puffiness, nor can they get rid of the blood vessels that cause dark circles.
Important Features of an Eye Cream
- Boosts hydration and moisturizes: Moisturizing is key to the effectiveness of all eye creams.
- Clinically proven: Products and ingredients that don't have scientific studies backing their efficacy should still be highly rated in clinical studies.
- Boasts effective preventative anti-aging benefits: If stated on the label, your eye cream should help to reduce the visible appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, under-eye bags, and dark circles while alleviating puffy eyes and promoting firmness and elasticity.
- Brightens and smoothes overall eye area: Your eye area should look more vibrant, feel softer and suppler, and look all-around more evenly textured with consistent use over a period of four to six weeks.
- Soothes: The eye cream should be anti-inflammatory, refreshing, and calming.
- Does not cause breakouts: This one is obvious — who wants a product to add more issues? An especially nefarious problem for oilier skin types, eye creams should not be pore-clogging or comedogenic.
- Contains non-irritating & fragrance-free agents: The product should not cause an itchy, watery-eyed reaction.
- Texture: While many people can use lighter-weight eye creams, there's a segment of people who want extra-rich formulations for very dry skin or prefer something thicker at night.
- Absorption: Eye cream should not leave a greasy residue or sit on top of the skin, but should absorb fully in three to five minutes at most.
- Longevity of product: Whether you're comfortable with restocking your eye-cream supply every month or every year, the best product should not run out too quickly — or come in such huge quantities that it spoils prematurely.
- Tinted: Though not a deal breaker, tinted eye creams can be very effective to help conceal dark circles, and imperfections.
- Free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and mineral oil: Though the preference is still split, many prefer to steer clear of products containing these controversial ingredients.
- Natural, organic, and cruelty-free: For those concerned with using products that are environmentally sound and free of animal cruelty, make sure to check the label for ingredients, the “leaping bunny" symbol, and labels specifying the product's organic makeup.
- Retinol: Vitamin A, which works on skin by stimulating cell renewal. It is by and large the most prevalently recommended ingredient for anti-aging, especially for wrinkles, evening out skin texture, and combating acne.
- Peptides: These helpful parts of amino acids boost collagen creation, lending a plump, youthful quality to aging and sun-damaged skin.
- Ceramides: Skin lipids that “hold" skin cells together to help maintain structure.
- Niacinamide: Vitamin B3 helps improve skin's elasticity, diminish discolorations, and restore tone and texture.
- Hyaluronic acid: This substance found naturally in skin can hold 1,000 times its own weight in water, which means it delivers constant moisture for extra plumping action.
- Caffeine: This popular ingredient literally wakes up and temporarily tightens skin, and is commonly used to combat the look of dark circles and puffiness.
- Vitamin C: A top ingredient to produce a brightening effect, vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production and protects from free-radical damage that causes aging.
- Vitamin E: A popular antioxidant to help repair and create soft and supple skin.
- Vitamin K: The most popular agent used to combat dark circles.
- Antioxidants: Protective agents that fight off metabolic and environmental damage that cause premature aging and hyperpigmentation.
- Licorice and kojic acid: Botanical ingredients that help alleviate the appearance of brown spots.
Your eyes are front-and-center of your physical being, yet they’re the first to get older. While wrinkles and expression lines are inevitable, adding an eye cream to your skincare arsenal will help you age as gracefully as you can. At the end of the day, remember these words from good ol’ Mark Twain: “Wrinkles merely mark where smiles have been.”
This article originally appeared on Reviews.com. You can see the complete version here: http://www.reviews.com/best-eye-cream/