The 4 Best Under-Eye Products, According to Dermatologists
There are so many things that can wreak havoc on our skin (like forgetting to wear sunscreen, having chronic stress, being dehydrated or not eating a nutritious diet). If you're noticing dark circles, fine lines or wrinkles under your eyes, don't panic. These things are a natural part of aging and aren't usually cause for concern. However, they can also be caused by things like sleep deprivation, stress or dehydration (more on that later).
What Causes Puffiness and Dark Circles Under Eyes?
The soft tissue around the eyes is like a sponge, so you may notice puffiness or signs of aging there first. Erum N. Ilyas, M.D., MBE, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology and CEO and founder of AmberNoon, says, "Allergies, irritation from eye makeup or removal of eye makeup, rubbing our eyes, not sleeping enough—all of these can trigger inflammation and buildup of fluid around the eyes. And once that fluid is caught up in the soft tissues around the eyes, it can linger for a long time."
Puffiness or "eye bags" may occur due to poor lymphatic drainage around the eyes, which can come from exposure to sinus pressure or allergies. If you have an erratic sleep schedule, you may also have dark circles under the eyes. Cosmetologist and clinical dermatologist Ksenia Sobchak, M.D., says, "Sleeping late, oversleeping or extreme fatigue can leave you with dark circles or puffy bags under the eyes, and lack of sleep makes your skin turn dull and pale, which you can see from your dark tissues and blood vessels found beneath your skin," she says.
Ilyas adds, "This 'sunken' look to the eyes can also be worsened by dehydration, and aging can also contribute [to this condition]." Loss of collagen and elasticity leads to thinning of the skin, giving it a crepe-like quality, and unless you use hydrating products, drink enough fluids and get enough sleep, these effects will only get worse. Sobchak says that, as we age, "skin loses fat and collagen, making dark blood vessels beneath your skin visible. Skin [can also] grow thinner, which makes dark blood vessels underneath your skin show up."
While you can't avoid the aging process or guarantee pristine sleep nightly (though we have some expert-backed tips that may help), you can help reduce the appearance of under-eye bags or wrinkles with the right products. Here are the best under-eye treatments to use, according to dermatologists.
Best Under-Eye Products for Puffiness, Dark Circles and Wrinkles
Soothe & Smooth Collagen Activating Eye Complex Cream
Although a bit pricy, this eye cream helps to boost collagen production and reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffy skin and wrinkles. Sobchak says, "Soothe & Smooth was developed by Dr. Maryam Zamani, one of the top oculoplastic surgeons and facial aesthetics doctors. It's a firming eye cream that eliminates dark circles and wrinkles. [It] comes with a tri-peptide blend that increases collagen, albizia bark extract detoxifies and it makes capillaries stronger."
REN Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream
"This cream is made with elderberry flower extract that neutralizes the free radicals that increase the risk of dark circles and puffy bags under the eye," says Sobchak. This lightweight eye cream is made with 95% natural-origin ingredients and helps combat dark under-eye circles and brighten up the complexion.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Eye Cream with Hyaluronic Acid
"The ideal eye cream addresses the thinning of the skin, loss of collagen and elasticity, as well as any role fluid accumulation may play," says llyas, and Neutrogena does just that with its use of hyaluronic acid. Ilyas adds, "Hyaluronic acid can improve the turgor of the skin, which improves its overall appearance." Plus, we love the under-$20 price point on this drugstore eye cream!
Bare Minerals Photo Retinol Eye Cream
This eye cream is a great option for getting the benefits of retinol but with less irritation, as retinol can be abrasive to those with sensitive skin. Ilyas says, "Photo retinol retains the effectiveness of retinol while being far more tolerable. If tolerated, [retinol] can help improve collagen production and thicken the skin over time." This eye cream also has hyaluronic acid for a hydration boost. Just make sure to talk to your doctor before using retinol, since certain people (such as those who are pregnant or breastfeeding) should avoid it—and always make sure to wear SPF with retinol, since it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.