If you're like many adults, the combination of the words "crow's" and "feet" likely makes you cringe. With signs such as this, your eyes can reveal wrongs in your routine: sleep deprivation, overexposure to sun, and habits such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol or coffee. When wrinkles make an unwanted appearance, you might rush out to purchase products to stop lines in their tracks. Eye creams are one of the most common -- and the least invasive -- option for attempting to reverse signs of aging.
The quest to quell wrinkles around the eyes feeds an entire industry dedicated to developing new and more effective moisturizing products that try to reduce the appearance of fine lines and prevent new ones from forming. Other creams also claim to treat puffiness or dark circles. Because there are so many options available, talking to specialists can be the first place to start when you're considering eye creams. A dermatologist can prescribe a product that might give you some visible results quickly, such as a retin-A cream, which has been shown to reduce the appearance of lines in skin.
The good news is that price tags don't always matter in the effort to reverse aging signs, and a less expensive eye cream bought at the drugstore might work just as well as something prescribed by a dermatologist. Consistent use of a product that works combined with a simple cleansing routine is really all you'll need to get started [source: Dover].
If the realities of growing older are interfering with your best skin care intentions, a moisturizing eye cream might be able to help. Which ingredients should you look for?
Ingredients in Moisturizing Eye Creams
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?
Benefits of Moisturizing Eye Creams
Many factors contribute to how gracefully skin ages. Genetics, for example, can determine whether you are naturally fortunate enough to have minimal lines or are the unfortunate bearer of excessive wrinkles around your eyes. Regardless of what internal or external factors may be affecting the skin around your eyes, moisturizing eye creams might be able to help to delay the signs of aging -- or at least temporarily hide them.
As your skin ages, it tends to become more dried out because the sebaceous glands begin to produce less sebum, or oil. Using an eye cream with moisturizing ingredients may help to prevent that dryness in the eye area. Also, since dry skin can cause fine lines to appear more prominently, the emollients in the eye cream will fill the spaces between skin cells and help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on your skin, at least for a while. [source: Bruno]. Beyond wrinkles and fine lines, bagginess and puffiness also can be combated with the right combination of ingredients in your eye moisturizer at any age.
Dry skin may play a big role in the aging process, but ultraviolet rays from sun exposure is likely your biggest skin threat, and sunscreen will help you the most. Choosing an eye cream that includes a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 will help protect your skin from those damaging rays.
As for risk factors, remember that the skin around the eyes is very delicate, so you should avoid using harsh or irritating ingredients in that area. Always be sure to read the ingredients list in case the cream includes any fragrance or other chemicals you may be allergic to. And even though many products may temporarily mask wrinkles, you probably shouldn't expect very drastic results from a moisturizing eye cream, especially one of nonprescription strength.
When fine lines begin to develop, no matter what age you are, moisturizing eye creams will give you an option to plump, soften and refresh the area around your eyes and, at least temporarily, help hide those signs of aging.
For lots more information on moisturizing eye creams, keep reading.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Bruno, Karen. "Women's Skin Care for Your Face." WebMD. Aug. 10, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 9, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/women-face-skin-care
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- Mayo Clinic. "Wrinkle Creams: Your guide to younger looking skin." Oct. 11, 2008. (Accessed Oct. 5, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wrinkle-creams/SN00010
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- P&G Beauty and Grooming for Dermatologists. "Pentapeptide Pal-KTTKS Research Update." (Accessed Sept. 10, 2009)http://www.pgdermatology.com/images/learning_library/anti_aging/Pentapeptide-Brochure-FINAL-090805.pdf