Moisturizing eye creams, as with other moisturizers, contain two types of key ingredients: humectants and emollients [source: Mayo Clinic]. Humectants help the skin absorb and retain moisture, and examples of these include glycerin and urea. Emollients, such as petrolatum and mineral oil, fill the spaces between skin cells and temporarily give the skin a smooth, plump appearance.
In addition to the moisturizer, many of these eye creams are also likely to contain many of the same anti-aging ingredients. One of the most common ingredients is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A that has been shown in some studies to help build collagen, the skin's natural plumper. Retinol can be harsh on skin, and any anti-aging effects may be minimal or temporary compared with those from stronger prescription creams [sources: P&G Dermatology, Mayo Clinic].
Moisturizing creams often appeal to people who have dry or sensitive skin. If you fall into this category, look for peptides (protein fragments) such as copper peptides, palmitoyl oligopeptide or pal-KTTKS on the label of active ingredients. They have been shown in some studies to help boost collagen growth, and they also signify that the cream has anti-aging properties that are less likely to irritate your skin than retinol [source: P&G Dermatology]. Some of these products might also include fragrances, so if your skin is sensitive or has a tendency to be easily irritated, be sure to read the ingredients list closely.
You might also see other ingredients such as niacinamide, which is a type of vitamin B3 that may protect the skin, improve its texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Some studies have shown that moisturizing creams that include both pal-KTTKS and niacinamide had more of a positive effect on wrinkles than did moisturizer alone [source: P&G Dermatology].
Ingredients specifically geared to treat the delicate eye areas may help you on your way to a more youthful appearance. What specific outcomes can you expect from using a moisturizing eye cream?