The fragile skin around the eyes can often play host to a plethora of issues, including dark circles, crow’s feet, eye bags, and puffiness, so you need to address it properly. But with the endless products targeting the eye area, it’s more of a chore to know what works and doesn’t. For this reason, we made a list of the best ingredients — whether you’re looking to brighten, plump, or hydrate it — you should consider when you purchase your next favorite eye cream.
Is eye cream a must?
If you are someone who’s experiencing crow’s feet, dark circles, or puffiness, using a targeted eye cream can help you correct all of the above. Also, if you want to work on the prevention side and stay guarded against early wrinkles and parched skin, regularly using an eye cream will definitely pay off. The reason is that the skin around the eyes is much thinner than the rest of the face. And also more sensitive. There are almost no sebaceous glands or supporting fatty tissue around the eyes, meaning the skin reacts more violently to external aggressors. Thus, applying a nourishing product that regenerates and revitalizes is non-negotiable if you want the fragile skin under the eyes defended against woes such as dark circles and wrinkles.
So far, so good, but do you actually know what actives your eye cream should contain to maintain skin firm, soft, and supple? From moisturizing agents to protectors, brighteners, soothers, and anti-agers, your eye cream should have a bit of everything to secure maximum results.
In case you’re in doubt, here are the best eye cream ingredients that should never be missing from your skincare routine.
Antioxidants are one of the best ingredients to have in an eye cream because they help neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that often break down collagen and induce the apparition of dark spots. One of the most potent antioxidants is vitamin C, which, in addition to scavenging free radicals, brightens the eye area and spurs collagen growth for a plumper look. Consider adding to your routine a vitamin C eye cream. Other potent antioxidants you should look out for in your eye cream are vitamin E, resveratrol, caffeine, CoQ10, and niacinamide.
A staple in your eye cream, hyaluronic acid is a bouncy fluid that can draw water from the environment and pull it into the skin, increasing moisture and plumping the eye area. More than that, hyaluronic acid soothes and increases elasticity and firmness, reducing the look of crow’s feet, especially when used in a combination of small (like sodium hyaluronate) and large molecular sizes, for instant and long-term bouncy benefits.
Ceramides are definitely something you want in your eye cream because they have a key role in increasing moisture retention and strengthening the skin barrier. Because they make up about 50% of the outer skin’s layer, ceramides are essential for preventing transepidermal water loss and maintaining resilient protection against environmental aggressors. But with age and external damage, the level of natural ceramides in the skin decreases, so replenishing them should be top of mind. Because the eye area is thin, it’s often susceptible to dehydration, and how ceramides increase water retention and improve barrier function makes it one of the must-have ingredients in an eye cream.
While some might fret at the thought of applying retinol to their eye area, it is actually one of the best actives to have in your eye cream for a handful of reasons. Thanks to its ability to encourage cell turnover, retinol smooths the skin, brightens dark patches, and also induces collagen production for a thicker, smoother, and firmer appearance. An eye cream with retinol is ideal to use at night to work with the skin’s natural repairing process and has demonstrated significant improvements in the look of fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, puffiness, and dark circles — yep, an all-rounder.
Peptides are the main selling pitch in lots of eye area creams because they are gentle and encourage collagen and elastin production. In other words, peptides diminish fine lines and make crow’s feet less noticeable while decreasing water loss. Using a peptide-containing eye cream is likely to build proteins in the skin, which makes the eye area appear more elastic and firm and reduces the chances of the skin losing water.
Green tea is often the MVP in natural eye creams, and there is a lot of research to back up its benefits. Chocked full of antioxidants, green tea defends the thin skin around the eyes from oxidative stress while also reducing puffiness and swelling. However, the most impressive compound in green tea is EGCG, which has been shown to have protective and brightening benefits on the skin and increase moisture retention.
Bear in mind the list of the best ingredients for eye creams. And please, make sure it’s fragrance- and alcohol-free! It’s a huge no-no for something you apply so close to the eye itself. Alcohol and fragrances dry the skin out and may cause eye irritation. In the end, remember: the filters on Instagram are great, but flawless skin is better!
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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