Pillowy under-eyes are complicated, but if baggage is a concern, two main culprits—fat tissue and lymphedema—are likely to blame, says Dr. Barbara Sturm, who specializes in non-surgical skincare treatments. The former, "appears when the muscles around the eye are weakened and tissue moves lower," Sturm explains, whereas the latter, lymphedema, is often triggered by sleep deprivation, hormonal imbalances, high sodium food and genetics. In terms of prevention, Sturm cautions against eye-rubbing and recommends sleeping face up, which reduces nighttime water-retention. For a quicker fix, we polled dermatologists for their most effective semi-instant under-eye remedies. From Preparation H to black tea, here's what really works.
Like creams, serums can be easy to use and highly effective, depending on the formula. Some serums use botanical antioxidants to treat under eye bags. The antioxidants help to prevent collagen damage, maintain the skin’s elasticity and brighten skin pigmentation. Others contain hyaluronic acid or retinol. Retinol, while highly useful for fighting wrinkles and producing collagen, can be harsh on the sensitive eye area, so always test it first. No matter which serum you pick, try to choose one in a rollerball tube for an easy application that also helps disperse fluid build-up.
"Caffeinated tea, which contains natural tannins, is a mild diuretic and long used by grandmothers and runway models for reducing eye puffiness. Soak two tea bags in warm water, then chill the bags for a few minutes in the refrigerator. Place one tea bag on each eye for five minutes, and your eyes will feel fresh and look brighter," says Karen Hammerman, a dermatologist in New York City.
"Sometimes dark circles are caused by increased pigment, either from rubbing or from sun damage," says Nazarian. "The best treatment for this includes topical lightening agents such as vitamin C, kojic acid, and licorice extract. These ingredients help decrease skin pigmentation over time, ultimately resulting in the lightening of the dark circles." And you must wear sunscreen. "Invest in a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide," Tung says.
“I love this product because it’s sensitive enough for first-time retinol users. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, does a lot. It minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, diminishes hyperpigmentation, blackheads and dark spots and reduces inflammation, pore size and the appearance of blemishes. The only issue is that it can be harsh on the skin, leaving it dry and irritated. But not this product!
Alpha Skin Care – Enhanced Renewal Cream, 12% Glycolic AHA, AMOREPACIFIC – FUTURE RESPONSE Age Defense Creme, Aveeno – Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer, BAREMINERALS SKINLONGEVITY Vital Power Infusion Serum, Caudalie – Resveratrol Lift Night Infusion Cream, Clarins – Booster Repair, CLARINS – Double Serum, CLINIQUE – Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum, CLINIQUE – Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator, DERMA E – Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, DERMALOGICA – Age Smart Super Rich Repair, Dermalogica – PowerBright TRx Pure Light SPF 50, DR. DENNIS GROSS SKINCARE – C+ Collagen Deep Cream, Dr. Macrene – High Performance Anti-Aging Cream , DRUNK ELEPHANT – B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Gel, DRUNK ELEPHANT – C-Firma™ Day Serum, DRUNK ELEPHANT – NightBright™ Duo, DRUNK ELEPHANT – Rise + Glow™ Duo, DRUNK ELEPHANT – T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum, ESTÉE LAUDER – Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, ESTÉE LAUDER – Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Crème, ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, ESTÉE LAUDER Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum, Eucerin – Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Creme, EXUVIANCE – Age Reverse HydraFirm, Fresh – LOTUS YOUTH PRESERVE FACE CREAM WITH SUPER 7 COMPLEX, Garnier – SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Daily Moisturizer, GLAMGLOW – DREAMDUO™ Overnight Transforming Treatment, KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 – Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 12.5% Vitamin C, L’Oreal Paris – Revitalift Volume Filler Night Cream, L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Dark Spot Correcting & Illuminating Serum Corrector, Lancer The Method: Nourish, LANCÔME – Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum, Lancome – Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector, Lancome – Visionnaire Nuit Beauty Sleep Perfector, Le Biarritz – Advanced Dermatology Anti Aging Lilac Stem Cell Face Cream & Moisturizer, MD Complete – by Dr. Brian Zelickson Anti-Aging Youthful Skin Sun Shield SPF 50, Mee Beaty – Bee Nourished Night Cream, MURAD – Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum, Neutrogena – Triple Age Repair Moisturizer SPF 25, NO7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Day Cream SPF 15, OLAY – Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream, Olay – Total Effects 7-In-1 Anti-Aging Moisturizer, Olay – Total Effects Anti-Aging Night Firming Cream, OLEHENRIKSEN – Truth Advanced™ Moisturizing Crème, Organys – Anti Aging Night Cream Face Moisturizer With Anti Wrinkle Peptides, Perricone MD – Hypoallergenic Firming Eye Cream, Perricone MD – Photo Plasma SPF 30, PHILOSOPHY – Anti-Wrinkle Miracle Worker Moisturizer, PHILOSOPHY – Miraculous Anti-wrinkle Miracle Worker, PHILOSOPHY – Renewed Hope in A Jar Refreshing & Refining Moisturizer, PHILOSOPHY – Renewed Hope In A Jar SPF 30, PHILOSOPHY – Uplifting Miracle Worker Cool-Lift & Firm Moisturizer for Face & Neck, POND’S – Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Restorsea – Renormalizing Serum, RoC – Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, RoC – Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream, SHISEIDO – Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 18, SHISEIDO – Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Night Cream, SkinCeuticals – C E FERULIC® Vitamin C serum, SkinCeuticals – Metacell Renewal B3, SkinMedica – TNS Recovery Complex®, STRIVECTIN – SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate For Wrinkles & Stretch Marks, STRIVECTIN – TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream, Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, TATCHA – The Essence Plumping Skin Softener, The Better Skin Co. Better Skin Mirakle Cream, THE ORDINARY – Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F, THE ORDINARY – Matrixyl* 10% + HA, THE ORDINARY – Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, Thena – Lavender Oil Facial Moisturizer For Dry Sensitive Skin, TruSkin Naturals – BEST Vitamin C Moisturizer Cream for Face, Vichy – LiftActiv with Rhamnose Night
While each product is under the anti-aging umbrella, the creams, moisturizers, and serums vary in the specific aging concerns–like fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and poor elasticity–they more aggressively target. If you have particularly sensitive skin, best practice is to read ingredient lists carefully so you can avoid common skin irritants in beauty products, like added fragrance. And because everyone’s skin is different, it’s always helpful to pay attention to the user testimonials to get a better sense of the results or potential side effects you can expect. Lastly, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results from one of these anti-aging products; anti-aging benefits take time, and sometimes even a little trial and error to find the right product for your skin type and concerns.
For best results thoroughly cleanse your face and apply a serum first and rub in until absorbed then take a small amount of the Anti Aging Cream on your finger and massage into your skin in a circular motion until it is fully rubbed in, if you need to add more, do so, a little at a time. Please make sure you Avoid direct contact with your eyes and do not swallow.
For an affordable (but effective) nigh cream, RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive performed comparably to its much pricier counterpart when it came to moisturizing and firming. Visia results showed that it was effective at improving UV spots, while testers gave it top points for wrinkle reduction (especially on the forehead) and applauded its lightweight texture and easy absorption. "It's just the right weight for a night cream," said one. "Light enough to sink in, heavy enough to moisturize without causing breakouts." While most volunteers found these nonirritating, if you have problems, layer a plain moisturizer over your retinol night cream.
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