At some point—usually in our mid-20s—we all catch a glimpse in the mirror and wonder how to get rid of undereye wrinkles. The delicate skin under the eyes is the first to show wrinkles. While that’s an unavoidable by-product of getting older, quite a few external factors can accelerate the process. The wrinkles under our eyes (also known as crow’s feet) begin to appear when the production of essential proteins, such as collagen and elastin, slows down. These proteins are key in maintaining skin elasticity, resilience, and firmness. But their depletion, coupled with sun exposure, poor diet, dehydration, and even stress, is what leads to crow’s feet and dark circles. So the secret to getting rid of under-eye wrinkles is to support the production of these proteins, protect your skin from external threats, and keep it moisturized. And on we go.
What causes under-eye wrinkles?
As we get older, the skin around the eyes is one of the first areas to show signs of aging due to its delicate and thin nature that lacks the support of essential elements such as fat, muscles, and fibers. The slowdown in the production of collagen, elastin, and other components of the skin’s matrix, hyaluronic acid, along with factors such as excessive sun exposure, repeated facial movements, lifestyle choices, and genetics can all contribute to the loss of elasticity in the eye area. But don’t fret. With a little TLC and attention to your daily skincare routine, you can tackle these troublemakers and help preserve the youthful radiance of your peepers.
Treatments for under-eye wrinkles
Here are the best and most researched treatments for undereye wrinkles and everything you ever need to know to fight most eye-area skin problems.
Use vitamin C during the day
Our skin is exposed to environmental stressors day in and day out. Free radicals from sources like UV, pollution, and smoke weaken the collagen and elastin fibers, speeding up their degradation over time. For this reason, daytime is all about protection and prevention, so consider using an eye cream rich in vitamin C in the morning to stop these culprits from wreaking havoc on your eye area.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C shields from free radical damage while supporting collagen growth and brightening—the trifecta for reviving the eye area. We love Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream because it’s loaded with five forms of vitamin C plus an eight-peptide blend to rebuild, strengthen and minimize crow’s feet appearance. P.S.: Other great antioxidants to have in your eye cream are vitamin E, niacinamide, and green tea.
Apply SPF every morning
Sun damage is responsible for 80% of facial wrinkles, with the eye area being where they show first. Sun protection is an all-year-round commitment, so you want to apply sunscreen every day as the last step of your skincare routine. Even though most sunscreens are safe to use around the eyelids, it’s important to give labels a close read and avoid the ones that contain synthetic fragrances, as these may cause irritation. Instead, look out for sunscreens made with mineral blockers like zinc and titanium, such as La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen, which is fragrance-free and tested for sensitive skin.
Hint from a skin expert: Wearing sunglasses further protects your eyes from sun damage and helps you avoid squinting.
Apply retinol at night
There’s no room for ifs or buts—retinol is the most effective ingredient to support younger-looking, smooth, radiant skin, undoubtedly being the best treatment to get rid of under-eye wrinkles. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that encourages cell turnover and renews the skin, minimizing crow’s feet and dark circles over time. Also, due to its ability to increase collagen production, retinol helps thicken the skin.
However, since retinol is a powerful molecule, some people might find it difficult to tolerate on their fragile eye area. If retinol is too harsh for your under-eye skin, you can switch to a gentler alternative, like retinol esters. Retinyl propionate and retinyl palmitate are retinol derivates that are blended with nourishing fatty acids, making them a more soothing option for sensitive skin. These retinol esters can still deliver powerful anti-aging benefits while being less irritating.
We recommend Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum to those who want an effective option that minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. And Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Eye Cream to those who’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative.
The dead cells build up on the skin under the eyes like any other part of the face, making it appear dull and tired. But you can give your tired under-eyes a much-needed wake-up call with the magic of exfoliation. By exfoliating your skin, you eliminate dead cells and encourage collagen production, giving your eye area the lift and radiance it deserves. However, you should never use scrubs or high concentrations of chemical acids on your delicate under-eye skin. Instead, opt for eye creams that contain alpha-hydroxy acids, like lactic and glycolic acids.
You can restore a glow to your eyes with Mario Badescu Glycolic Eye Cream. In addition to glycolic acid, it’s packed with cocoa seed butter and cholesterol to soften and seal moisture. Using an exfoliating eye cream 2 to 3 times per week is an excellent way to retexturize your skin.
Apply products with gentleness
Because the skin around the eyes is so thin and fragile, you want to be extra careful when applying skincare products. Apply small dots of eye cream starting at the inner corner underneath up to your brow bone and gently tap with your ring finger (as it naturally exerts the lightest touch) until the cream is fully absorbed. And don’t mishandle, rub, or aggressively remove eye makeup. The takeaway? Be as gentle as possible with your eye area.
Pamper the skin with a gentle massage
You can give the skin around the eyes a gentle massage to bring blood flood to that area and help relieve puffiness. Use gentle tapping motions using your index and middle fingers and tap out a circle around the eyes.
Give it extra TLC with eye patches
Who doesn’t love eye patches? Not only do they make the perfect item for a #selfcare Insta post, but they’re perfect for a quick pick-me-up whenever your eyes feel tired. These little patches fusion a bunch of good-for-skin actives that address puffiness, lack of moisture, and dark circles. They might not get rid of your under-eye wrinkles, but they’re definitely good at giving instant moisture and plumpness.
Some ingredients you should look for in your eye patches to make the skin around the eyes appear plumper, bouncier, and less puffy are hyaluronic acid, squalane, nourishing oils, vitamin C, peptides, and ceramides. We (and other thousands of people) like Peter Thomas Roth Hydra-Gel Eye Patches because they hydrate intensely, moisturize and instantly make crow’s feet and dark circles appear less noticeable.
Also known as collagen-induction therapy, micro-needling involves using a pen wand stuffed with tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin. In turn, this stimulates the skin’s repairing process, inducing collagen production, retexturizing, and softening fine lines and crow’s feet. While there are some microneedling tools that offer heads for the eye area—like GloPRO EYE MicroTip Microneedling Tool—we recommend getting this procedure in-office by a professional.
Have a healthy lifestyle
Unsurprisingly, diet and daily habits affect how your eye area looks and ages. For instance, eating salt-rich snacking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol lead to inflammation and dehydration, translating into more visible wrinkles and puffiness. Smoking is another bad habit that gets you early under-eye wrinkles, so quit it asap if you smoke.
Instead, eat foods rich in fatty acids, such as salmon, avocados, flaxseed, and walnuts, and drink eight glasses of water daily to provide your eye area with the necessary nutrients to stay nourished and defended. Also, getting sufficient sleep—between 7 to 9 hours a night—makes the eye area appear more awake and firm. When we sleep, the skin repairs itself, and depriving it of a good rest, it’s likely to lead to early fine lines, puffiness, dark circles, and a tired look.
Consider dermal fillers, like Botox
Dermal fillers like botox are probably the best way to completely get rid of under-eye wrinkles. Botox injections can help shrink the appearance of the muscle that appears upon smiling and squinting. The procedure awakens muscles, making undereye wrinkles more relaxed and less noticeable by injecting Botox (a neurotoxin) into the lower eyelid with a small needle. With Botox injections, the results are visible within a few days, and recovery time is relatively short—you should be able to resume your normal activities after 24 hours. However, botox injections should be repeated once every four to six months to maintain the results.
Regardless of your age or how affected your under-eye skin is, follow these tips every day to max your skincare routine and banish crow’s feet, puffiness, and tired eyes once and forever:
- Protect from sun damage by wearing sunglasses and applying SPF.
- Avoid rubbing and squinting your eyes, as this can worsen wrinkles.
- Stay hydrated and nourish your skin with a healthy diet.
- Get enough sleep and manage stress levels.
- Apply eye cream containing retinol, vitamin C, or hyaluronic acid.
- Use a cool, damp compress to soothe and reduce puffiness.
- Gently massage the eye area when applying eye cream to help improve blood flow and boost collagen production.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Try microneedling.
- Apply eye patches to revitalize and refreshen your skin.
- Use a humidifier in your home to keep the skin hydrated.
- Apply products containing caffeine, which helps improve blood circulation in the eye area and reduces swelling.
We answer all your questions
- What causes under-eye wrinkles and crow's feet?
Under-eye wrinkles and crow's feet are caused by a combination of internal and external factors, including aging, sun exposure, lack of sleep, poor diet, genetics, and repetitive facial expressions.
- Can under-eye wrinkles be prevented?
Yes, under-eye wrinkles can be prevented by protecting the skin from sun exposure, staying hydrated, eating antioxidant-rich foods, and avoiding excessive pulling and rubbing of the skin in the under-eye area.
- What are the best products for under-eye wrinkles?
Products with retinoids, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants (vitamin C, green tea, resveratrol, caffeine), and peptides are proven to help reduce the appearance of under-eye wrinkles and crow's feet.
- What home remedies are effective for under-eye wrinkles?
Using a cold compress, massaging the under-eye area with coconut oil or vitamin E, and applying aloe vera gel or coffee mask are some of the most effective home remedies that can help diminish under-eye wrinkles.
- How long does it take to see results?
It depends on the depth of the wrinkles, the treatment used, and the individual's skin condition. On average, it can take several weeks to several months to see visible improvements in under-eye wrinkles.
Women’s Concepts uses reliable sources, including dermatologists’ insights, clinical trials, and scientific journals, to find accurate information and support all the facts shared in our articles. All statements and claims have clear and legit references. Read our editorial policy to learn more about our sources of information, our process of researching and fact-checking the content, and how our team strives to keep all articles updated, completed, and trustworthy.
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