According to a top dermatologist and estheticians.
Kaitlyn McClintock contributed to Byrdie for over two years, most recently covering beauty news for the brand.
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Updated on Jul 07, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD
Medically reviewed byRachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD
Rachel is a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology. She has contributed to Byrdie, as well as Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, Allure, Vogue, and the New York Times, and more
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It usually starts in our 20s: As we grow older, a few fine lines and wrinkles begin to form under our eyes. They're nothing to be frightened of; they're just a sign that our skin cells are losing collagen and reducing their ability to renew themselves. Those under-eye wrinkles—actually, most of the wrinkles we do or will have in life—also come with having an exceptionally expressive face.
Also called crow's-feet, these wrinkles don't need to be a reason you lose sleep at night, but some might be concerned that they will stretch and deepen, making a face look older or more tired, as they can be accompanied by puffiness and dark circles. That begs the question, what can one do to prevent under-eye wrinkles from forming? And how about treating those that already exist?
We asked a dermatologist and two estheticians how to get rid of these lines. Keep scrolling to learn everything you'll ever need to know about under-eye wrinkles.
Meet the Expert
- Lily Talakoub, M.D., FAAD, is a dermatologist at theMcLean Dermatology and Skincare Center in Virginia. She is also the co-founder of LANARI Skincare and an educator for several universities.
- Renée Rouleau is a celebrity esthetician and the founder and creator of an eponymous skincare line.
- Rhea Souhleris Grous is the founder of La Suite Skincare at UnionDerm and an aesthetics specialist with more than two decades of experience. She's also part of .
Start Using Retinol
Let's get right into the thick of it, shall we? Talakoub says the single most effective skincare ingredient for getting rid of wrinkles is none other than retinol, so there's a good reason it's dominated the skincare market as of late. Retinol itself is a derivative of vitamin A. According to Rouleau, "It can stimulate the metabolism of skin cells and encourage collagen production." Collagen is what makes the skin look plump and smooth. Generally speaking, the less collagen in your skin, the more wrinkles and lines you'll have. "Retinol can be absorbed within the skin, and, when combined with certain enzymes, it's converted into tretinoin (the acid form of vitamin A, also known as retinoic acid). Using a well-formulated and stable product with retinol will visibly reduce the appearance of sun damage, brown spots, lines, wrinkles, and large pores. Its magic is in its ability to resurface the skin's texture for a smoother, more even-toned look," adds Rouleau.
So step one in your ever-waging battle against wrinkles is to incorporate a retinol-rich product into your routine. Talakoub recommends using "a low-potency Retin-A or topical retinaldehyde mixed with a deeply hydrating moisturizer." She likes Erno Laszlo's Firmarine Moisturizer. It's formulated with hydrating jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid.
Retinol is a type of retinoid, which is a derivative of vitamin A. It is an antioxidant used in anti-aging skin care products.
Moisturize Your Under-Eye Area
When it comes to a standard eye cream that doesn't require a prescription to purchase, Talakoub recommends iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex. This is no surprise, considering that the brand is beloved by many dermatologists and skincare experts alike. The eye cream has a long list of wrinkle-fighting ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, vitamin C, and peptides.
Even so, Talakoub says eye cream isn't enough—in fact, there isn't a single eye cream on the market that she's deemed "enough" for effectively treating wrinkles. They aren't hydrating enough on their own, which is why super-rich moisturizers, like the Erno Laszlo pick, are necessary.
Seal in Hydration With an Oil
Speaking of rich face creams, Talakoub emphasizes the importance of keeping the under-eye area well hydrated, as she says dry and dehydrated skin is more prone to succumbing to fine lines and wrinkles. A hydrated eye area, on the other hand, will look healthier, younger, and plumper. "Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate," she says. Do this by applying a rich cream, then sealing it in with an oil. The oil will prevent any water from evaporating, locking in moisture and plumpness. "Oils are my favorite. Argan, marula, sunflower—you name it. The key to avoiding wrinkles is oil and hydration," stresses Talakoub.Josie Maran's 100% Pure Argan Oil is a good option for a multitasking moisturizer; it's vegan, cruelty-free, and comes from ethically sourced, UNESCO-protected argan nuts.
Consult a Professional
If you're currently following an expert-recommended routine to a T, yet you still see new wrinkles pop up, then it might be time to book an in-clinic appointment. Certain professional treatments have the power to make a massive difference in the appearance of the skin. For example, Talakoub's clinic uses "a radio frequency tightening device paired with yearly gentle resurfacing treatments to build collagen around the eye." Grous relies on a laser treatment called Periocular Fraxel. "It improves fine lines and wrinkles and stimulates new collagen and elastin formation. It also visibly tightens the skin around the eyes," she says.
Try Facial Massages
For those with minimal issues, facial exercises prescribed by a qualified skincare professional might help stimulate a little blood flow and help depuff the eye area. Grous recommends a gentle acupressure massage meant to help stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage to depuff, relax, and tone.
"Applying a small amount of eye cream to your ring finger, start at the outer corner, working your way to the inner corner under the eye along the orbital bone. Gently tap the cream into the skin, giving a little double-tap just before reaching the inner corner to 'pump' lymphatic fluid away," says Grous. This technique is also purported to enhance product penetration.
Apply Face Masks
Masks are designed to nourish, balance, and restore the skin—all of which are good for preventing wrinkles. Grous says she loves to use a targeted eye mask that tackles everything from wrinkles to dark circles to puffiness. She explains that the main difference between sheet masks and cream masks is their ability to penetrate the skin. "Sheet masks are serum-infused fibers that allow deeper penetration, whereas cream masks tend to hydrate the skin's superficial layers."
One of her favorite eye masks is Exquisite's Brightening Anti-Puff Eye Mask, a formula infused with active peptides and plant extracts meant to visibly smooth lines, brighten under the eyes, and gently diminish puffiness. She also suggests MBR Awake & Lift Eye Patches ($177) with hyaluronic acid meant to immediately plump lines and wrinkles and collagen mask Valmont Eye Regenerating Mask Treatment ($330), a booster with caffeine, arnica, and green tea meant to tighten and firm the skin.
Never Forget SPF
The above suggestions can help diminish existing wrinkles, but it's important to remember that prevention is the best treatment. Never forget to apply SPF each morning before heading out the door. It helps with preventing wrinkles, as well as discoloration and dark spots—other enormous consequences of sun damage, along with the loss of collagen.
That's why Talakoub recommends always wearing sunscreen. Glossier's Invisible Shield has a lightweight SPF 35 water-gel formula that feels like a serum, making it perfect for daily protection.Pair your SPF with a good pair of protective sunglasses, which will protect your eye area from UV damage while also preventing you from unnecessary squinting.
Be Gentle With Application
Follow the prevention theme by being gentle when you apply products. Don't pull on the skin around your eyes. Instead, use your ring finger to carefully pat in a product. Talakoub warns, "Don't rub, scratch, or touch your eyes. Even pulling on the eye to put in contacts can loosen the eyelid skin. People who rub their eyes often get deep wrinkles."
Eat a Healthy Diet
First and foremost, drink lots of water to keep your system hydrated and promote regular elimination. Eat the rainbow! Grous says that eating foods rich in antioxidants like berries, nuts, and dark green vegetables helps support healthy skin. Look for omega-rich foods like salmon, avocado, and walnuts that support a healthy skin barrier, which helps prevent transepidermal water loss. Collagen-boosting foods like bone broth are also part of a healthy skin diet.
Quit Bad Habits Like Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
Drinking alcohol results in inflammation and dehydration. It also interrupts good sleep and leads to the dreaded "hangover face" and puffy eyes. Skincare and professional treatments aim to restore a healthy, plump appearance to the skin—alcohol does the opposite.
Grous says smoking is another thing that sabotages skin. "Smoke is a carcinogen that damages every cell in the body, including skin cells. It also inhibits the ability to carry fresh, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the skin cells, leading to a dull, sallow look, aka 'smoker's skin.'"
When done properly under the care of a qualified skincare professional, microneedling can produce great results that help promote the penetration of beneficial ingredients and encourage collagen production. Grous explains that microneedling helps tighten, plump and retexturize the skin, ultimately reducing the visible signs of under-eye wrinkles and dark circles. At her clinic, she also performs Fractional Radio Frequency Microneedling, a procedure using needles and heat energy that creates a wound and stimulates the skin to create new collagen, making the skin taut and reducing fine lines.
Although injectables are one of the most sought-out wrinkle treatments, we left this one at the bottom of the list to show they're not the only solution—especially for the under-eye area, which is so sensitive. Botox and fillers are safe when administered by your trusted professional. "Botox pauses the muscle movement that causes fine lines (a line you never make is a line you never get!)," says Grous. For lines at rest, hyaluronic acid fillers revolumize, smooth, and plump them up.
The Correct Way to Remove Eye Makeup
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Shanbhag S, Nayak A, Narayan R, Nayak UY. Anti-aging and sunscreens: paradigm shift in cosmetics.Adv Pharm Bull. 2019;9(3):348-359. doi:10.15171/apb.2019.042
Parke MA, Perez-Sanchez A, Zamil DH, Katta R. Diet and skin barrier: the role of dietary interventions on skin barrier function.Dermatol Pract Concept. 2021;11(1):e2021132. doi:10.5826/dpc.1101a132
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What can Dermatologists prescribe for wrinkles? ›
- Topical tretinoin. Tretinoin comes in a topical retinoid form, which is available by prescription. ...
- Tazorac (tazarotene) ...
- Differin (adapalene) ...
- Efudex. ...
- Chemical peels. ...
- Sun protection. ...
For deeper lines or wrinkle folds, ask your dermatologist about fillers. "Dermal filler injections can lift and brighten the under eyes," says Dr. Shirazi. "Hyaluronic acid fillers are best for folds under the eyes."Can you reverse under-eye wrinkles? ›
They are caused by making muscle contractions, as in squinting. These wrinkles can be reversed with aesthetic treatments, include Botox and light- based devices.Does Vaseline help with wrinkles around eyes? ›
While, unfortunately, Vaseline won't do much to help erase deep-set wrinkles or brighten dark circles, Sakar said the product can provide some of the same hydrating effects as your go-to eye cream — especially when it's paired with a moisturizing cream. "Vaseline is something that's called an occlusive," she said.How can I tighten the skin under my eyes naturally? ›
- Under your eyes, apply a natural astringent every day. ...
- Cucumbers can make your skin firmer and tighter.
- Baking soda can scrub off dead skin cells, making your skin tighter.
- Egg whites may be used under your eyes.
Retinoids (tretinoin, Altreno, Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac). Among medical treatments, this is by far the most proven and effective way of bettering signs of aging such as uneven pigmentation, roughness, and wrinkling.Which is better collagen or retinol? ›
There is no doubt about it that retinol is significantly stronger than collagen. This is because retinol penetrates down deep into your skin, tricking your body into thinking it's younger than it is.Can you get rid of wrinkles without Botox? ›
A chemical peel facial treatment offers another way to reduce the appearance of mild to moderate wrinkles. Like laser therapies, chemical peels help induce collagen production. These treatments contain various acids, vitamins, and other ingredients that slowly peel away the outer layers of skin.Does retinol help under eye wrinkles? ›
Eye creams with retinol do more than just moisturize—they help minimize fine lines and wrinkles that are some of the first signs of aging. Even though the skin under your eyes is delicate, retinol can be safely used there every single night, as long as you're using a formula designed for your eye area.How much does it cost to remove wrinkles under eyes? ›
Costs for Botox can range between $200 and $800 per session, sometimes more. These costs aren't covered by insurance.
Is toothpaste good for wrinkles? ›
Did you know toothpaste can help to fade the fine lines and wrinkles on the face? Surprisingly, there are many people who are benefited with this cheap and simple home remedy. You need to apply toothpaste all over face and leave it overnight. Wash off with cold water and pat dry in morning.How do you make your old eyes look younger? ›
Opt for a lighter eyeshadow rather than a dark, smoky shade on your eyelids and around the eyes, like Jenna Dewan Tatum. "Highlighting the corners makes eyes look brighter and fresh," says Ahnert. "Use a light color shadow in matte or shimmer to inner corner, lower lash line in outer corner, and the inner lid."How do I get rid of crepey skin under my eyes? ›
- Topical retinoid. Either in a cream or gel, retinoids encourage exfoliation and speed cell turnover. ...
- Fractional laser treatment (Fraxel) ...
- Ultrasound (Ulthera) ...
- Cryolipolysis (CoolSculpting) ...
How to Treat Under-Eye Wrinkles | Best Eye Creams for Wrinkles 2020
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- Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is known for having numerous healing properties. ...
- Banana Mask. Bananas contain natural oils and vitamins that boost skin health as well as vitamin A that helps fade blemishes and dark spots. ...
- Egg Whites. ...
- Coconut Oil. ...
- Yogurt Mask. ...
- Olive Oil. ...
- Vitamin C. ...
- Facial Massages.
How to Remove Wrinkles Without an Iron - YouTubeIs coconut oil good for wrinkles under eyes? ›
Studies show that coconut oil can help cell turnover, making the skin barrier stronger by thickening it. Since skin that's thinning due to aging is a big cause of under-eye circles, it makes sense that coconut oil would diminish their appearance.