The first signs of aging usually show on our eyes—dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness—and can make us look more fatigued and older than we really are.
Once we hit our late 20s, the delicate skin around the eyes gets thinner and looser due to the loss of collagen and elastin. Combined with years of repeated muscle movements such as squinting and laughing, as well as UV exposure, lines begin to form and over time get deeper.
Dr. Lisa M. Donofrio, a dermatologist in New Haven, CT, says her patients’ biggest complaint about their eyes “are dark circles and crepey skin.” Dark circles become more prevalent as the skin becomes thinner and capillaries under the eyes show through. Dr. Ron M. Shelton, Director of The New York Aesthetic Consultants in New York City, explains that there are two causes of dark circles. “One is pigment related, and this often can be an inherited condition, and the other is vascular or blood flow.”
Under-eye concealers can disguise dark shadows and make eyes appear more awake, while eye creams containing hyaluronic acid and caffeine can help plump skin and constrict under-eye blood vessels.
Swollen eyes can make us look older and tired and often is the result of fluid retention. Cold compresses can help reduce puffiness, and eye creams containing caffeine and botanicals reduce water retention by tightening the skin.
For those looking for more dramatic results that cannot be found in an over-the-counter eye cream, there are a variety of professional options to help erase tired-looking eyes. Dermatologists like BOTOX® injections for treating crow’s feet as they relax the muscle and smooth skin. BOTOX® lasts about three to four months and ranges in price from $$400 to $800 depending on the amount used.
Pellevé®, a non-invasive medical treatment, uses radiofrequency technology to penetrate deep into the dermis, triggering collagen synthesis and tightening the skin. You can be a little pink after treatment, but will notice firmer skin right away with no downtime. A session for around the eye area costs about $500, and usually requires three treatments spaced three to four weeks apart.
For dark circles, hyaluronic acid injections such as Restylane® are effective treatments. This tried and true filler is injected into the hollow under the eyes to add fullness and hydration, also helping with discoloration. A round of injections can cost $500 to $800 and last for six months. Another option is IPL (Intense Pulse Light), which targets the melanin cells under the skin and shrinks dilated capillaries. Multiple sessions are recommended and range from $300 to $600 per session.
Whatever your issue, an eye cream is a good place to start. “Eye creams are often milder than face creams so they are more easily tolerated by the delicate skin of the area,” says Donofrio. Look for ingredients such as retinol and peptides to thicken skin and boost collagen, hyaluronic acid to plump, caffeine to tighten and antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
Powerhouse ingredients such as retinol, peptides and optical diffusers are packed into ZO Skin Health Olluminate® Intense Eye Repair ($130) to boost collagen, fight lines and wrinkles, and help lighten dark circles over time.
Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector ($39.50) features a cooling-tip applicator containing optical brighteners to instantly conceal darkness, and caffeine, green tea extract, vitamin C and mulberry root to diminish dark circles and fight free radical damage.
Fake a good night’s sleep with CARGO JetLag Concealer ($32), a concealer and treatment in one, containing white lupin extract and peptides that claims to reduce puffiness and dark circles in just 28 days.
Avalon Organics Revitalizing Eye Gel ($21.99) is a 70 percent organic formula containing moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid and antioxidant-rich grape polyphenols to reduce puffiness and increase hydration.
Lumixyl Revitaleyes Brightening Eye Cream ($65) is an all-in-one solution for dark circles, wrinkles, dryness, and inflammation, featuring the Stanford University developed peptide, decapeptide-12, which reduces the overproduction of skin pigment to brighten the eye area.
The gentle time-released retinol formula in RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream ($19.99) tackles crow’s feet without any irritation, while hyaluronic acid plumps the skin.
Chill Christina Cosmeceutical Beauty Globes ($88) in the freezer and then apply to the upper and lower lids to banish puffiness and stimulate circulation.
For deep set wrinkles, L’Oreal Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment ($24.99) combines pro-xylane, a molecule that goes deep into the skin’s surface to stimulate collagen, with hyaluronic acid and glycerin to add volume and smooth tired-looking eyes.