If you're a 20-something with a penchant for spending summers on the beach, you'll want a different eye cream than, say, a retired bookkeeper suffering the effects of a couple of decades of eyestrain and squinting. The same goes for a new mom who's spent six months surviving on three hours of sleep a night and has the puffy eyes and dark circles to prove it. Depending on your age and circumstances, these descriptions will help you find the right eye cream to target specific problems:
- Moisturizing -- Adding moisture to the skin is typically a two-part process that involves adding moisturizing ingredients and then following up with emollients to seal the moisture in place and ensure maximum absorption. Look for ingredients like niacinamide, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, propylene glycol and butylene glycol.
- Reduce puffiness -- The best products for reducing under-eye puffiness are marketed as having anti-inflammatory properties. Some common anti-inflammatory ingredients are: tea extracts, allantoin and Eyeliss (which contains protein peptides).
- Reverse the signs of aging -- This can be a challenge, but newer cosmetic ingredients are helping in the fight to turn back the clock. Look for ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid and vitamin A, and peptides like palmitoyl oligopeptide and copper peptides. They stimulate collagen production, which in turn helps tighten the skin and improve its natural elasticity. Two other ingredients, coenzyme Q10 and kinetin have shown positive results in reducing lines, wrinkles and tired looking skin. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E can also be effective with regular use.
- Dark circles -- Some eye creams have ingredients that break down dark blood pigment in under eye skin. The most common ingredient using this technology is sold under the trade name Haloxyl. Another option is brown algae. It acts as a dye that reduces the appearance of dark circles caused by pigmentation irregularities. Vitamin K and hydroquinone work from the inside out, reducing the causes of bruising by strengthening under eye capillaries. They can be effective in combating the dark circles that result from lifestyle factors like smoking.
- Reduce exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays -- Choose daytime eye creams with broad spectrum SPF ratings of 15 or above. The ingredient coenzyme Q10 will also help protect the skin from sun damage.
- Fine lines and wrinkles -- Another ingredient sometimes used in daytime eye creams is caffeine. It tightens the skin, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Continuing to smile throughout the day will reinforce wrinkles after a few hours, so for the best results - no, don't stop using your facial muscles -- but do check your makeup, and reapply eye cream as needed.