What else (besides being first in line at Sephora on Black Friday) sends any skincare junkie's heart racing faster than we can say anti-aging? No, not a lifetime supply of free Curology products! (Although, it's a pretty good contender.) Rather, some solid fine-line fighting, ultra-hydrating eye serum recs from nine of the top dermatologists in the field, of course!
Since our eyes are the windows to our souls, we're super-into keeping them tip-top with a preventative skincare routine—from tackling sagging lids and crow's feet to plumping depleted undereye areas. To wit, we asked our panel of dermatologists to recommend their favorite anti-aging eye creams, gels, patches, and serums that lift and firm lids, reduce fine lines, boost collagen production, and banish dark circles.
Die-hard skincare devotees can feel confident splurging on some of the more expensive (yet potent) eye treatments and those on a budget, too, can partake: One powerful drugstore find costs just $7.
The Lipid-Barrier Booster
"Using a dedicated eye product like this is very important for people after the age of 25," says Dendy Engelman, MD. As we age, the skin's natural lipid barrier breaks down, giving way to fine lines and wrinkles. These capsules combat lipid loss by replenishing and restoring essential ceramides that support the skin's collagen production, improve radiance, and soften texture. "I recommend using these capsules at night, before bedtime," Engelman adds.
A Lightweight All-In-One Treatment
"My philosophy is to always have the most streamlined skincare routine; I recommend this all-in-one product to anyone who'd like to minimize clutter on their vanities," says Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD. Using this one lightweight treatment means you can potentially eighty-six your other bottles of toners, essences, serums, ampoules, moisturizers, creams, and oils. Plus, it's also a boon for delicate skin: "It doesn't include fragrances and other ingredients that can cause irritation to sensitive eyelid skin," Bae adds.
The Avocado Oil-Infused Plumper
Formulated with active ingredients such as nourishing avocado oil (delivers essential omega essential fatty acids to moisturize), beta carotene (an antioxidant that boosts vitamin A production), and shea butter (a natural fat that restores skin's suppleness), this cream "helps plump under-eye skin while erasing wrinkles and lines," says Gary Goldenberg, MD.
In addition to containing "hyaluronic acid, a great ingredient for rejuvenating the skin under the eyes," says Kristina Goldenberg, MD, these hydra-gel patches infuse skin with ceramides, collagen, and marshmallow root extract to help smooth and soften fine lines. Other active ingredients like caffeine and arnica help de-puff skin and diminish the appearance of dark circles, respectively.
The Dark-Circle Blaster
The top active ingredient in this skin rejuvenating treatment is Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (TNS for short), which is a proprietary mixture of growth factors, matrix proteins, and antioxidants that "simultaneously lighten dark circles and reduce fine lines and wrinkles," says Michelle F. Henry, MD. "They're the two top complaints I get in my office, so I love this as a powerful option to address them both," adds Henry.
An Affordable Sun-Damage Corrector
Be gone stubborn dark circles and under-eye puffiness: This nongreasy cream also "contains retinol, which stimulates collagen production to reverse sun damage and diminish fine lines and wrinkles," says Monica Halem, MD.
The Free-Radical Damage Fighter
Formulated to rejuvenate the skin's dermo-epidermal junction (DEJ), or the area of tissue joining the skin's epidermal and dermal layers, this all-in-one treatment reduces redness and sagging and shields skin from free-radical damage, too. "This eye cream is a top seller at my practice," notes Julie Russak, MD, perhaps for its powerful blend of probiotics and collagen fiber, to boot. Plus, its "skin-tightening peptides, hydrating nutrients, and calming cucumber fruit water, correct, hydrate, and de-puff at once," adds Russak.
A Peptide-Packed Hydrating Serum
This peptide-packed serum fights all signs of aging in and around eyes and is recommended for use on the forehead and upper-lip area, too. Emollients (hyaluronic acid, aloe vera) moisturize and hydrate parched skin while vitamin E neutralizes free radicals, and rice bran wax smoothes roughness. Those who want an added boost after an in-office treatment, rejoice: "It works well on its own or in combination with Botox," says Dr. Gary Goldenberg.
The Depuffing Collagen-Stimulator
Developed via advanced research on wound healing, this blue-hued eye balm combines the skin-rejuvenating action of processed skin cell proteins (PSP) with caffeine (a de-puffer) and sodium hyaluronate and botanicals (like wild yam extract), which moisturize and soothe dry skin. "It also contains peptides that stimulate collagen production," adds Halem, "which minimize fine lines and wrinkles."
A Light-Diffusing Retinol Cream
"Retinol is a key ingredient in any anti-aging eye cream," notes Dr. Kristina Goldenberg. "Use this cream to prevent and treat fine lines, loss of skin elasticity, and dark under-eye circles." Unique additions, such as lime pearl (loosens keratinized, or hardened, skin cells and stimulates and renews younger skin cells) and light-diffusers that brighten tired skin make this product one of Goldenberg's favorites.
The Powerful Peptide Cream
"The lumixyl peptide in this all-in-one product is key in brightening the skin under the eye, diminishing under-eye circles, and promoting an evener skin tone," says Halem. Lumixyl works by regulating melanin overproduction and by binding to, and blocking, tyrosinase, an enzyme that causes surface dark spots and discoloration.
A Firming Ceramide Gel With Hyaluronic Acid
"During allergy season—when people are more likely to rub their eyes and have laxity [over-stretched skin] as a result—I recommend adding an additional treatment like this to the morning skincare routine," says Engelman. "This gel contains peptides to support collagen and elastin to firm the look of sagging skin, while hyaluronic acid and ceramides also plump and smooth the skin."
The Antioxidant-Based Skin Tightener
"Our eye gel combines Lipochroman, a vitamin-like molecule considered to be the strongest antioxidant; Chromabright, another molecule shown in the lab to protect skin cells from both UV and visible light damage; and skin-tightening peptides," explains Loretta Ciraldo, MD. "So it's extremely effective at lessening lines, puffiness, and dark circles."
A Moisture-Rich Cream
Rich, soothing eye cream is just what the doctor orders for strengthening the skin's delicate moisture barrier. "This product is good for dryness, puffiness, and dark circles," notes Dr. Kristina Goldenberg. "It's also fragrance-free, so it has a low chance of causing an allergic reaction."
A Gentle, Affordable Drugstore Option
"This is a 'gateway' eye cream that doesn't drain your wallet," says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD. Meaning: Start with this simple, affordable anti-aging eye treatment, and then graduate to something more potent when the time comes. "Primary patient concerns are dryness and dark circles," adds Levin, "and this eye cream is chock-full of hydrating ingredients, including vitamin E, vitamin B3, and my favorite, hyaluronic acid, which provides 24-hour hydration. It also contains the brightening ingredients, licorice root, and grape extract, and is gentle enough to be used under the eyes and on the eyelids."
The Skin-Healing Workhorse
Surprise: Although it's commonly used to mend seriously dry, cracked elbows, heels, and lips, Aquaphor's Healing Ointment can also be used to protect the skin around your eyes. Dr. Gary Goldenberg recommends it as an "inexpensive and widely available treatment that helps drive moisture into the skin." It works by creating an occlusive barrier that locks in skin's existing moisture while enabling the free flow of excess fluids and oxygen within.