When it comes to aging, the eyes have it. They'll always be the first to broadcast our sins—late nights, sun damage, squinting, etc.—which means we've got to take every precaution when treating them. The tricky part is choosing the right elixir to de-puff, lift, and hydrate, because what works for a 20-something just ain't going to fly for a 50-something (and vice-versa).
For answers, we looked to Dr. Carlos A. Charles, MD, founder and Medical Director at Derma di Colore, who broke down exactly what we need to know about anti-aging and what eye treatments to use at every stage of life. What surprised us most is that Dr. Charles looked to gels and serums, in favor of the classic eye cream from the jar.
He recommends following three basic guidelines for eye treatments, no matter what your age:
1) Avoid overly harsh products—such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and high strength glycolic acids—in the delicate under-eye area.
2) Since higher concentration hydroquinone creams used to fade hyperpigmentation can oftentimes lead to allergic reactions, leading to worsening of dark circles in the long run, they should be avoided.
3) Heavily scented products must be avoided as they commonly cause allergic reactions particularly around the sensitive eye area.
If You're in Your 20s:
What to Know: "Skincare regimes for women in their 20s should be all about prevention. The most important thing is to use a good physical block sunscreen under the eyes, as well as on the rest of the face. Having said that, products containing antioxidants can also be helpful in preventing damage caused by free radicals and other environmental threats. Also, creams and gels aimed at helping to minimize puffiness and dark circles are important."
What to Look for: "As with the entire face, the use of a daily moisturizer with sunscreen is the most important intervention. This is crucial during all seasons. Preferably the sunscreen should contain physical blockers such as zinc and/or titanium dioxide and an SPF of at least 30."
What to Buy: MDSolarSciences Daily Eye Repair Emulsion, $82; sephora.com. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen, $34; amazon.com. Caudalie Vine[Activ] Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum, $52; sephora.com. Elta MD SPF 47 UV Pure Sunscreen, $10; amazon.com.
If You're in Your 30s-40s:
What to Know in Your 30s: "In the early 30s we may begin to see some signs of aging. These changes include hyperpigmentation or 'dark circles' around the eyes. Additionally, we may begin to see some fine lines and textural changes."
What to Know in Your 40s: "At this age, the dark circles may become more prominent, along with more visible lines. Oftentimes, these patients will begin to report that their eyes are giving them a 'tired look' even when they feel fresh."
What to Look for: "Early on at this age, the introduction of retinol creams or—for those who can tolerate them—gentle prescription-strength retinoids can be helpful. These creams help to increase cell turnover thereby minimizing dark-circles and textural changes. They also can help stimulate collagen production thereby preventing volume loss down the road.
Antioxidant rich creams containing vitamin A, C, and E can also help to ward off free-radicals and give an extra boost to collagen production. By building collagen these creams help to minimize the appearance of dark circles that are in-part caused by blood vessels close to the surface of aging, thinner skin."
What to Buy: C E Ferulic, $155; amazon.com. NeoCutis Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream With PSP, $73; dermstore.com. Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, $54; sephora.com. Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream, $22; ulta.com.
If You're in Your 50s-70s:
What to Know: "The same guidelines described above are crucial at this stage. Additionally, in-office procedures such as fillers and radiofrequency non-invasive treatments such as thermage may help to reverse volume loss."