Crinkly eyes send us flocking for the eye creams–those tiny little jars made of miracles (and our hard-earned money!). But can they really reduce wrinkles? Or are we just buying into skincare gimmicks?
There are a few schools of thought on aging. On the one hand, not all of us get to be old—that alone certainly makes it a most treasured time of life. But on the other hand, shouldn’t we be rewarded for our survival with glowing, vibrant skin instead of puffiness, dark circles, fine lines, and those dreaded wrinkles?
If only it were that simple.
The truth is that, as we age, we lose collagen in the skin, which can make the skin around the eyes appear thinner and more prone to wrinkling and sagging. We can begin to “show our age” particularly around the eyes as the already thin skin there becomes even thinner. Crow’s feet and other lines around the eyes are often the first sign of aging (along with a grey hair or two).
Aging can also lead to hormone imbalances, not enough sleep, and stresses in our lives that can cause puffiness and redness around the eye, or the dreaded dark circles.
So, of course, many of us turn to eye creams and the promises of eternal youth. Or at least, the appearance of it. But are we getting our money’s worth?
The truth is, the answer is quite complicated.
If you’re turning to any drugstore brand of eye cream, you may wind up doing more damage than good. That’s because many of those brands use synthetic ingredients that can not only dry the skin out, but also cause damage.
Alcohols are common ingredients in creams and lotions, but they’re extremely drying, something your sensitive skin doesn’t want. Artificial ingredients, detergents, phthalates, and parabens—common ingredients in commercial skin care products—can also be tough on skin. And what’s worse, they can be harmful to you internally, even throwing your hormonal system out of whack or causing allergic reactions, all of which can also show up around the eyes as dark circles, puffiness, and redness.
How to Keep Eyes Looking Healthy
The bad news is that genetics can play a huge role in how well or how, let’s just say, challenging, your skin’s aging process will be. Nothing short of plastic surgery or fillers will completely remove the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes, so miracle cream, there is not.
What you will see results with are some lifestyle tweaks:
-Rest. The first place we show our lack of sleep is around the eyes. Staying asleep with little ones at home, or as hormones change over the years, can be a challenge. So it’s important to take resting and sleep seriously. Disconnect from digital devices at least an hour before bed. Plan for 7-9 hours a night. Every night.
-Reduce stress. Meditate or do some deep breathing to get you relaxed so you can power through your traffic-drive home, or a weekend with the in-laws. Make sure you’re exercising regularly too, which is not only good to help burn off stress, but it flushes toxins as well.
-Hydrate. Yes, you need to hydrate your skin from the outside (more on that in a bit), but you also need to do it from the inside too. Drink 8 glasses of water a day and avoid the sugary stuff.
-Eat a well-balanced healthy diet. Meals rich in fruits and vegetables. It’s a no-brainer.
-Protect yourself from the sun. Use a high-quality natural sunscreen and wear sunglasses and hats when in the element for prolonged periods.
Choosing an Eye Cream
When it comes to eye and skin cream products, yes, some of them really do help to reduce puffiness, lessen the appearance of wrinkles, and help to reduce dark circles.
WebMD recommends using ingredients like vitamin C, which can “thicken the skin and help conceal dark circles after about 6 months,” while vitamin B3, and kojic acid “can lighten dark circles.”
The key to using any skin care product, not just eye creams, is finding something that’s truly hydrating. This comes from rich oils like rosehip seed, sea buckthorn, and pumpkin seed oil, or butters like coconut, cocoa, and shea, that aren’t diluted by synthetic ingredients or alcohols. The herb eyebright, funny enough, as its name implies, can help to tighten skin, helping it look firmer and smoother.
Avoid the usual suspects: hard-to-pronounce synthetic chemical ingredients (note: the Latin name of many botanicals can also be hard to pronounce but are usually accompanied by their English name as well), alcohols, and artificial fragrances.
And finally, embrace the lines! The truth is: You’ve earned them. It really is true that not all of us get to be old, and even though it can be disappointing to watch our youth fade, it’s a part of the magic of life. It’s the glint in your eye that you never want to lose.