How to Get Rid of Under-Eye Wrinkles, According to Experts

The products and pointers you need to make an impact.

under-eye wrinkles
(Image credit: Getty Images/Tristan Fewings)

Every human over the age of the Riverdale cast has fine lines and wrinkles around their eyes. They're a perfectly normal and natural part of growing up—but many of us still look at those lines and wrinkles and just wish they'd GTFO. It goes without saying that beauty standards are bull, but we get it: You're here to find out how to get rid of those pesky under-eye wrinkles in the fastest, most affordable way you can, and the Marie Claire beauty team aims to please.

What causes under-eye wrinkles and fine lines?

Let's talk about how wrinkles and fine lines around your eyes form in the first place. No surprises here: It's an unholy duo of lifestyle factors and genetic predispositions. So what contributes to them that you're personally responsible for? 

So, basically: Stop clowning, frowning, smoking, going outside, and smirking, and you're good! Obviously, we’re kidding (except for the smoking part, that you should stop). Like we said, we’re here to help, so we talked to the experts to bring you a guide to treating and preventing—spoiler: the latter is the most important part—fine lines and wrinkles.

Treatment wise, you have a few options. Laura Dyer, a certified physician's assistant with Dr. Amy Wechsler Dermatology, explains, “You can relax the muscles in those who overly animate with Botox; you can hydrate the lines with a great skin care regimen; resurface with retinol and prevent sun damage with SPF. Lasers can also help resurface this area.”

Your Cheat Sheet to Fine Line Treatments


Topicals

Full transparency: your trusty eye cream may not be doing you any favors if they don't include at least one of the below ingredients. We love a good eye cream, but a serum or moisturizer can also accomplish the same thing. Just check the packaging to make sure the products are safe to use close to your eyes. Check for these ingredients:

Vitamin C

“The best intervention is a wonderful vitamin serum and retinol appropriate for the depth of wrinkles and your skin sensitivity," says Dr. Michele Koo, double board-certified plastic surgeon. Derms love vitamin C, and for a good reason: The little antioxidant “softens rough patches, shields your skin from damage, and fades acne scars and dark marks,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, board-certified dermatologist. Vitamin C is potent but effective: it helps prevent fine lines while smoothing the ones you’ve got by stimulating your collagen production.

The cons: It’ll take a few months to see any impact on your lines, and even then, don’t expect miracles. “The anti-aging aspect is really just an added bonus to vitamin C’s list of pros,” adds Dr. Gohara.

Retinol

“Retinol is the only ingredient in skincare that both increases collagen production and stops collagen breakdown,” says Dr. Gohara. Translation: It tricks your cells into thinking they’re younger than they are, so they work faster to create fresh, bright, non-wrinkled skin. And that means your dark spots, wrinkles (even deep ones), scars, and acne will all diminish, too.

Proof, courtesy of S + Co Beauty, that retinol works on even the deepest wrinkles.

Proof, courtesy of S + Co Beauty, that retinol works on even the deepest wrinkles.

(Image credit: Instagram/@sandcobeauty)

Consistency is key—it might take at least three months to see results, Dr. Koo recommends using retinol every night. Don't freak out if you experience some dryness, flakiness, or possibly even breakouts (if you’re acne-prone) within the first month of use. Yes, it sucks, but you need to tough it out for the anti-aging results.

To help mitigate the side effects, start off slowly: Use a retinol one night a week for one week, twice a week for two weeks, three times a week for three weeks, and then every other day for, well, life.

Hyaluronic acid

It’s lightweight, ultra-hydrating, works immediately, with absolutely zero irritation. “The little molecule acts like a sponge in your skin, pulling in water from the air to plump fine lines and smooth your face,” says Dr. Gohara. When looking at your product,s don’t be shocked if you see palmitoyl oligopeptide—in fact, you want that.

Dr. Hadley King, a New York City dermatologist, says, “This peptide not only promotes the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the skin but also helps protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays.” The only downside? It’s temporary, and it won’t help with deeper lines or wrinkles.


Botox

Ah, yes—good ol' Botox. “Botox, Dysport or Xeomin (all forms of neurotoxins) act to relax the muscles of facial expression that were causing the lines to form when they contracted, and so then the lines soften,” says Dr. King. It’s super effective (it starts working within a few days), and as long as you go to an experienced, board-certified dermatologist, you won’t end up with the cliché “frozen” face you see in movies.

The only downside: It’s temporary. Though it totally depends on your rate of metabolism, “This treatment is very safe and it will wear off after three to four months and will need to be repeated if you desire ongoing results,” says (unfortunately ) Dr. King. Plus, it can cost around $500 per treatment area (though costs vary by region), which may not be feasible for everyone


Microneedling

Microneedling (a.k.a. dermarolling) involves puncturing tiny holes into your skin with a needle-covered roller to stimulate collagen production. “You’re essentially damaging your skin to create newer, younger skin,” says Dr. Gohara.

Face, Forehead, Cheek, Eyebrow, Nose, Skin, Chin, Hair, Head, Neck,

Before-and-after results from microneedling, courtesy of Next Health.

(Image credit: Instagram/@skincarewhiz)

"It sounds barbaric, but it's the most effective way we currently have to treat fine lines and wrinkles fast," she adds. And don't worry—the procedure is fast and only moderately irritating, despite how it sounds.

The cons: It takes four to six weeks of once-weekly treatments to see some brightening and smoothing results, but even longer for fine-line reduction. It’s also too harsh for most sensitive skin types, like those with rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, or any type of inflammatory condition.

And, yes, you can microneedle yourself at home, Dr. Gohara, and most derms warn against it, but if you use a proper needle size, you can limit the damage. But still, Save the deep face-puncturing for the professionals, okay?


Lasers

And now for the laser portion of our wrinkle treatments: Fraxel. Fraxel (which is a brand name for a whole class of lasers used to resurface your skin) is magical, face-changing, and pretty freaking painful (basically like a hot rubber band snapping your face over and over again).

Face, Wrinkle, Skin, Cheek, Nose, Forehead, Chin, Facial expression, Eyebrow, Head,

Before-and-after results from a resurfacing laser, courtesy of Premier Medical Spa.'

(Image credit: Instagram/@premiermedicalspa)

There are various types of lasers and Dyer notes that the different ones can work on different degrees of aging, “It depends on how deep the fine lines are. For mild to moderate lines, I like the Clear and Brilliant for resurfacing. For more severe lines, a Fraxel or CO2 laser may be needed!” In case you haven’t noticed, most anti-aging treatments just damage your skin to make it “better.” Yay for technology! As you'd expect with, you know, shooting lasers into your face, there are some downsides: Your skin will look and feel badly sunburned for a few days and then have a sandpapery texture for a week or two. But after that? Bright and smooth as a baby angel—or, like, as bright and smooth as you 20 years ago, before life hit you in the face.


Bonus: Sunscreen

You should know this by now. SPF is non-negotiable, and it's a given with trying to prevent fine lines. Dr. King is also #TeamSunscreen “Sunscreen is the single most effective topical option for anti-aging. It can definitely help prevent fine lines, and with regular use it may be able to help soften fine lines as well.” Her favorite is the Isdin Eryfotona Actinica ($60), which contains “DNA repair enzymes.”

Chelsea Hall is the Assistant Fashion and Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers celebrity style, fashion trends, skincare, makeup and anything else tied into the world of fashion and beauty