Active ingredients in skin care have become more complex and varied. Reading labels on anti wrinkle eye creams can be confusing and many of us end up spending a lot of money trying out products that just don’t work.
Searching for an eye care cream on the cosmetic counter presents you with a bewildering array of products most of which offer solutions to some specific problems – wrinkles, puffy eyes and dark circles.
Why use an eye cream
Eye wrinkles and sagging skin are often the first signs of aging for many of us as skin is thinner here than anywhere else on your face. As we get older aging is even more apparent around the eye area – aging skin gets thinner and this allows the blood vessels to show increasing the likelihood of dark circles under the eyes.
Puffy eyes and dark circles are both things that concern most of us as we get older. Puffiness around the eye area goes with sagging skin and eye bags – in fact it can be a sign of skin irritation or inflammation which is a direct cause of skin aging over time.
If you want to look after this vulnerable part of your face properly as you get older – it’s important not to use an ordinary anti aging cream in the under eye area.
Face creams are formulated to be a heavier consistency for long term hydration and are likely to overload the skin making wrinkles, puffiness and sagging worse.
Eye creams are made especially for the delicate skin around the eyes – they are often lighter in consistency, sometimes clear gels or lightweight lotions and they target the worst problems of aging skin around the eyes.
The formulation of a good eye cream will reduce the risk of irritation and allergic reactions – heavier creams may migrate more easily if applied too close to the eye – especially in hot weather during the day or overnight during heavy or restless sleep.
Eye creams are tested and formulated to stay put and to avoid irritating the eyes – many are non perfumed or hypoallergenic.
Finding the best eye cream
The potential for failure and the range of problems is greater than for any other anti aging product so it’s sensible to buy the best you can afford. Here’s a simple four point plan to find an eye cream that works for your special needs:
- Decide what problem is most important for you in addition to the normal signs of aging (eye wrinkles, crows feet, sagging skin) – are you concerned about puffy eyes or do you want an eye cream for dark circles?
- Go for physician or dermatologist grade creams with high levels of the active ingredients that specifically target your problem.
- If you want to target puffy eyes and dark circles at the same time, choose an all round product – hybrid in the jargon. You lose some effectiveness but treat both at the same time.
- Choose products that feature in the best eye cream reviews – other people’s experience is a good indicator of effectiveness.
Best hybrid eye creams for 2012
Hybrids are eye creams that aim to resolve a number of under eye problems – good all round eye creams. Many under eye issues are linked – puffy eyes is often the precursor of wrinkles caused by swelling and stretching skin – so reducing one will help prevent the other.
Generally if one problem isn’t standing out way above anything else then these are the products to choose from – but be warned – this is the category with the most choice. There are a huge number of products claiming to be all round eye creams.
Ingredients to look out for include actives like: caffeine, retinol, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), copper peptides, and vitamin C to tighten skin and stimulate collagen growth. Here’s my suggestions from this category for 2012:
1. Kinerase Extreme Lift Eye is – specifically targets lines and wrinkles using a mix of peptides and high levels of the anti aging active ingredient – Kinetin. Kinetin is a plant derived active ingredient that has been shown in clinical tests to equal retinol in anti aging effect without the inflammation. Excellent research and customer feedback. Among the best for under eye wrinkles.
2. Murad Essential-C Eye Cream – based on vitamin C to protect and hydrate the delicate eye area and targets both fine lines and dark circles. Using vitamin C to stimulate collagen and caffeine to reduce puffiness – it is a lovely light cream for day wear with an added SPF (in the day version) to protect against sun damage – a major cause of future wrinkles.
3. Murad Renewing Eye Cream – targets the three main problems of aging skin around the eyes – crows feet, dark under eye circles and puffiness. This award winning eye cream contains a special eye brightening complex and uses peptides to reduce puffiness and wrinkles with natural extracts to increase levels of hydration. Over 300 customer reviews on the Murad site with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Good reviews also on Amazon from a more critical customer base. Can be used day and night and is non-perfumed so should not irritate eyes. This is probably the winner in the hybrid category in my book.
4. La Roche Posay Redermic Eyes – vitamin C based cream contains silica to smooth and plump existing wrinkles and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration. Vitamin C restores tone and provides antioxidant protection. La Roche Posay is a leading European dermatologist led skin care company which has a big following and is freely available in the US. This is one of their most popular products. Extremely reasonable in price and very well reviewed.
5. Roc Retinol Correxion Eye Cream – Long established French skin care company Roc have been making fantastic products since the 1950’s. This is the best selling eye cream on Amazon with 95 excellent reviews which takes some doing. No information about level of retinol in the product but it has to be enough judging by the reviews. If you are likely to get a bad skin reaction there is a sensitive version which also gets positive reviews.
Best creams for dark circles
If the dark area under your eyes bothers you more than any other issue then you should go for a special eye cream to reduce or eliminate them.
Most dark circle products will be formulated to be especially light and cooling. The key ingredients are antioxidants like vitamin K and vitamin C to aid weakened capilliaries, Kojic acid for skin lightening and caffeine to stimulate lymphatic drainage and reduce puffiness.
Vitamin K is extensively used in spider vein creams because of its ability to strengthen vein walls. Like many active ingredients both vitamin K and vitamin C can be unstable in a cream or gel and are best in microencapsulated form.
Here’s my choice of the three best dark circle eye creams around in 2012:
1. DDF Erase Eye Gel: Top of the list from a great US dermatologist based brand. This is a very effective cooling gel which targets dark circles through a combination of a natural skin lightener (Kojic acid) and microencapsulated vitamin K which acts to strengthen capillary walls. DDF Erase Eye Gelhas some of the best reviews I’ve seen on SkincareRX and other sites.
2. Caffeine Eye Cream with Columbian Coffee by Passport to Organics – not a brand or product I am familiar with but this eye cream is a best seller on Amazon and gets great reviews. One of very few based around the antioxidant power of caffeine many users say it works to wake up eyes and reduce puffiness and dark circles. Enriched with hyaluronic acid for moisture and with a range of other skin calming antioxidants and cucumber. Excellent value.
3. Skinceuticals Eye Gel AOX – a gel serum based on vitamin C which is something of a Skinceuticals trademark – used here to brighten and lighten the under eye area and reduce dark circles. Also contains sodium hyaluronate to boost moisture levels and ferulic acid as an antioxidant which has been clinically proven to enhance effectiveness of vitamin C. Skinceuticals products are highly regarded and this has positive reviews.
The starting point of all skin care – especially for the under eye area – is: ‘do no harm’ – make sure you are doing everything you can to care for the delicate skin under your eyes and prevent wrinkles or other problems.
Beyond that – regular use of good skin care will see results and these dermatologist grade eye creams here are a great place to start.