Eyes on the Prize
The best natural eye creams and gels
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The fragile skin of the eye area needs extra care—it’s the first place on your face to show stress, fatigue, and aging. The visible effects are dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, crow’s feet, and sagging skin. Eye creams and gels, just like face moisturizers and sunscreens, are essential for prevention and damage control for the young as well as the aging eye.
On average, you blink over 100,000 times per day, and every time you smile or frown you place a demand on the delicate skin around the eyes. This skin is actually 5–10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face, and it contains a small amount of subcutaneous fat and absolutely no oil glands. Effective eye creams can imitate the function of oil glands, providing the necessary hydration.
“The thin eyelid skin can be one of the first places to show irritation and allergy,” says Jennifer MacGregor, MD, certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York. “And the eyelid skin is very dynamic—it moves with facial expression—so it tends to be the first area of the face to show skin aging.”
Eye creams and gels are specially formulated to tackle a variety of concerns. They can stimulate circulation, which helps reduce dark circles and puffiness. They can improve the skin’s elasticity, which prevents the crinkled look and diminishes crow’s feet. And they can also plump up fine lines so they look less pronounced. Choose the eye cream or gel that addresses your biggest concern.
To prevent or repair wrinkles, sagging skin, and dryness around the eyes, MacGregor suggests choosing eye creams and gels that contain hyaluronic acid and ceramides to hydrate and restore moisture, vitamin C for its antioxidant properties, and caffeine to constrict blood vessels and brighten. She also likes peptides for repair and protection of aging skin. She cautions against stronger anti-aging ingredients, such as retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids, which may be too irritating for the delicate eye area.
What shouldn’t be in eye creams and gels is just as important as what should. Check the label on your eye creams and gels for ingredients that may cause red, irritated, itchy, or dry eyes. Preservatives are the worse offenders. Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben) and formaldehyde—even in very small concentrations—can cause redness and itching. Parabens can also clog the oil glands that line the eyelid, preventing tears from evaporating, which can lead to dry eyes.
Awaken your eyes with DeVita Revitalizing Eye Crème. Organic aloe, hyaluronic acid, and green tea in this light eye treatment hydrate tired skin. Hydrolyzed Manihot esculenta tuber extract (cassava) smoothes wrinkles, improves skin’s natural elasticity, and reduces sagging. Albizia julibrissin bark extract (Persian silk tree) helps produce melatonin to reduce the appearance of discoloration. And Darutoside, an extract of St. Paul’s Wort and gotu kola, helps improve the appearance of puffy eyes and dark circles.
Refresh stressed eye-area skin with Avalon Organics Intense Defense with Vitamin C Eye Cream. Antioxidant-rich vitamin C, lemon bioflavonoids, and white tea help neutralize free radicals from sun and environmental damage, while stimulating cellular renewal to help boost collagen and elastin production. Aloe, jojoba, and borage seed oils, and calendula extract hydrate and soothe dry, irritated skin.
Brighten and hydrate the delicate skin around your eyes with Earth Science Active Age Defense i-Cream Nourishing Eye Care. Evening primrose oil and calendula extract soothe tired skin, antioxidant vitamin E and coenzyme Q-10 help protect, moisturizing aloe and hyaluronic acid plump dry skin, while extracts of licorice root and honeysuckle help brighten the area.
Soothe and smooth the extra-sensitive skin around the eyes with Annemarie Börlind ZZ Sensitive Regenerative Eye Cream. Golden orchid and magnolia bark extract strengthen the skin and protect against free radicals. Meadowfoam seed oil moisturizes, rejuvenates, and helps prevent moisture loss. Shea butter and inulin keep skin hydrated and soft.
Look younger in the wink of an eye with Derma•E Advanced Peptides & Collagen Eye Cream. This double-action eye cream visibly smooths the look of wrinkles and crow’s feet for more youthful eyes. Powerful anti-aging peptides, Matrixyl synthe’6 and Argireline, help support collagen to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Antioxidant-rich Pycnogenol, green tea, and vitamins A, C, and E protect and moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes.