The Best Eye Creams to Use By Decade

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Not all eye creams are created equal. Some are more focused on “prejuvenation” and instant results like depuffing; others contain heavy-hitting anti-aging actives backed by clinical studies. New Orleans dermatologist Mamina Turegano, MD says eye cream can be a controversial topic because there are dermatologists who say you don’t need it, but she is on team eye cream.

“Through my experience, I’ve seen a lot of eyelid issues because that skin is definitely different than the skin on the rest of the face,” she explains. “There are no oil glands, it’s thinner, more delicate, more reactive, and more prone to eczema and contact dermatitis. So, I feel more comfortable recommending products that were formulated for and tested on the eye area.” These are the best options for use at each stage of life and endorsed by the pros.

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In Your 20s…

“When it comes to skin care, your 20s are all about prevention, so I recommend an eye cream like Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35 that also contains sunscreen—and use it every single day,” says Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD. “This will help prevent discoloration and the proliferation of wrinkles near the eye. Make sure you apply under the eyes and up the orbital bone onto the eyelids for full protection. Caffeine is also a great ingredient to start incorporating into your eye regimen during your 20s, as it may help reduce puffiness—TiZO Eye Renewal Mineral Sunscreen SPF 20 contains both.”

Beverly Hills, CA oculoplastic surgeon Christopher Zoumalan, MD recommends Skinuva Brite, which he says doubles as a brightening eye cream for under-eye darkness and a face moisturizer. “It has been clinically shown to improve the under-eye hyperpigmentation, and it can be started in your 20s. It’s a wonderful product made with safe and clinically effective ingredients, such as selective growth factors that improve hyperpigmentation, tranexamic acid, niacinamide, arbutin and vitamin C. Patients use this product twice daily, and can just apply sunscreen and their cosmetics on top.” 

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In Your 30s…

Crow’s-feet and fine lines start to become more visible in this decade, so Dr. Joel Schlessinger says, “If you haven’t starting using active ingredients like peptides already, now is the time to incorporate them into your regimen. Collagen production slows as we age, which is one of the reasons why we start to see wrinkles at this stage of life. Peptides are the building blocks of collagen, so an eye cream with peptides like Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream and LovelySkin LUXE Brightening Eye Cream can pick up the slack and help plump and smooth skin.”  

Another peptide-packed option, which Woodbury, NY oculoplastic surgeon David Schlessinger, MD likes to recommend to his patients, is Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment. It features the brand’s proprietary TriHex Technology, a blend of tripeptide-1 and hexapeptide-12 that supports the skin’s natural ability to generate new, healthy elastin and collagen. It also contains sodium hyaluronate, which is derived from hyaluronic acid and offers similar benefits, but has a smaller molecular size so it can penetrate the skin even better. “Most people benefit from a hydrating agent such as hyaluronic acid to plump the skin,” he says. “The skin’s ability to hold moisture as it ages, so this is more important at this stage.” 

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In Your 40s…

Gold-standard retinol is an anti-aging essential in your 40s for your skin, but there are also eye creams that contain it, which can be helpful for lines and wrinkles. “Retinol helps stimulate collagen production and encourages healthy cell turnover to address discoloration and wrinkles around the eyes,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains. “But remember, skin around the eyes is very delicate, so if you’re new to retinol, start slowly and begin with a very low concentration and apply it once or twice a week until your skin adapts. Two I like are Avène RetrinAL EYES and Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Eye Cream.”

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In Your 50s and Beyond…

“Your 50s are when you may start to notice eyelid drooping, sagging and extra dryness around your eyes,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger says. “An eye cream with a variety of active anti-aging ingredients, most notably growth factors, can help. Growth factors trick aging skin cells into behaving like younger skin cells by jumpstarting processes such as collagen production or cell division to repair damaged skin, and both SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair and Neocutis Lumière Firm Riche contain them. Also, a richer eye cream with extra emollient ingredients can help soften drier skin at this stage of life.”

Menopause, which typically occurs in a woman’s early 50s, can cause a drastic loss of moisture from the skin. “I recommend Emepelle Eye Cream for women experiencing any stage of menopause,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger adds. “It uses proprietary MEP Technology to restore the natural function of estrogen deficient skin, non-hormonally.” 

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