|Bags are cute. For a while. Upsilon Andromedae|
And undereye circles? Girlfriend, please. You'll be so monochromatic people will think you're Photoshopped.
That's what today's marketers have to say (well, more or less -- we confess to just a little literary license there) about what are sometimes touted as "miracle" eye creams. Is the investment worth it? And if so, what ingredients actually work? Let's take a closer look.
Eye Creams: They're Not Just for Moisture AnymorePreparations for lines and undereye circles have been around for literally thousands of years. (You don't even want to know what the ancient Egyptians did in the name of beauty.) But for the most part, they all boiled down to one thing: adding moisture. Simple.
However, today's generation of anti-wrinkle eye creams go beyond simply hydrating and plumping out the skin. Proven (yes, really) ingredients that fade sun spots, temporarily add collagen or elastin to the skin, and help prevent further aging of the area are crowding shelves, from Rite-Aid to the most haute cosmetics counter.
|Watch out: you may be paying for the label. Vera Devera|
Ingredients That (Really) WorkWith so much choice today, there's one sticking point: it's hard to know what long, awesome, chemical-sounding name really works for eye care, and what's just so much fluff.
Here are some ingredients that have real scientific backing. Look for them in your eye cream, hopefully not too far down on the label; the lower the listing, the less of the ingredient in the finished product.
- Collagen and elastin: These are both already present in your skin, but aging, environmental exposure and even lack of rest or adequate hydration during the day can slow their activity. Collagen is a fibrous protein that literally holds the skin together. Elastin, just as it sounds, adds flexibility to the skin, so that it's less tight and less prone to wrinkling.
- Retinol/Retin-A: Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A. It sloughs off old skin and actually encourages collagen and elastin to be more active, increasing the cell turnover rate to reveal the newer, fresher cells underneath. Retinol also reduces swelling and the appearance of bags under the eyes. Be careful: always use sunscreen with a Retinol product, as it will make the area photosensitive.
- Alpha and beta hydroxy acids: These have a light "chemical peel"-like activity. Again, they stimulate activity of the cells, as the upper layer of skin is being gently exfoliated. Sensing the loss of this uppermost layer, the cells amp up their production -- in other words, they act younger...and they look it.
- Vitamin C: You can get a similar action using a citrus fruit, but, well, ow. Vitamin C in cosmetic preparations not only feeds the skin and encourages its health, it also fades sun spots and age spots over time.
- Vitamin K: This vitamin actually helps heal breakage of the tiny capillaries under the eyes. This breakage results in a pooling of blood in the area, resulting in the dark shadows you may be seeing.
- Caffeine: It's so simple, it's brilliant. Caffeine tightens capillaries, firming the skin and helping reduce the look of dark circles.
But I Already Look GorgeousWe know you do. Want to stay that way? Then start early with a basic anti-wrinkle eye cream. In your teens and early 20s, you probably don't need all the bells and whistles -- and you shouldn't be paying for them. Look for a lower to mid-tier (under $40) eye cream and use it regularly...right now. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of plastic surgery. (Sorry, more literary license there.)
How Much Should I Be Spending?It may be coincidence, but we've found that the best eye creams are anywhere in the $15-50 range. Pay less, and you're probably getting a prettily packaged moisturizer. Pay more, and you may simply be paying for the label.
As always, research your ingredients, seek our reviews and don't be grabbed in by all the hype. You're already beautiful. You shouldn't have to break the bank to stay that way.