The question I get asked most at FutureDerm is, what are the best products?
The undereye area is unique because it contains fewer oil glands than the rest of the face, and simultaneously undergoes more movement than any other area of the face. (Think about it: Every time you blink and open your eyes, your undereye skin is moving!)
As you can imagine, this means the undereye area has a diverse array of issues. For some, dark circles only are the issue. For others, aging brings on fine lines, wrinkles, expression lines, and creases. For others, there is skin hollowness resulting from collagen breakdown and reduced collagen production over time. For yet others, there is skin puffiness — the exact opposite of hollowness, but you still have to treat the wrinkles! And then every combination therein.
Luckily for my readers, I’ve reviewed a lot of eye creams over the course of the past nine years. So here are the best eye creams:
#1.) Best for Dark Circles + Fine Lines/Wrinkles + Eyelid “Droop”: AminoGenesis E.Y.E. Control
AminoGenesis E.Y.E. Control is a best eye cream because it multitasks. It has two major ingredients: Diisostearyl Dimer Dilinoleate (let’s call it DDD), which is a skin-conditioning agent with major staying power, and Albizia julibrissin, an antioxidant with serious anti-inflammatory and anti-glycation properties in studies.
Let’s put it this way — If ingredients were boyfriends, DDD would be a short-term fling: “I’m here for tonight!” It lifts you (and your eyelids) up, but it’s not here to stay.
But Albizia julibrissin is the kind you would marry: “Let’s invest in this. Let’s go slowly. Let’s work on the future together.” Albizia julibrissin, also known as Silk Tree or Mimosa of Constantinople, has been reported in various reputable journals to have antioxidant, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties (Biochemistry and Medicinal Letters, Carbohydrate Research, Glycoconjugate Journal).
Overall, AminoGenesis E.Y.E. Control has been shown in clinical studies to have demonstrated success on dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles. It also lifts the upper eyelids — which is great for someone like me who is always trying to get as much real estate out of her small eyes as possible! I love AminoGenesis E.Y.E. Control and highly recommend it as one of the best eye creams of all time.
Ingredients in AminoGenesis E.Y.E. Control Lid Lifting and Dark Circle Serum: Deionized Water, Diisostearyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Glycerin, Albizia Julibrissin Bark Extract, Darutoside, Acrylates/C10-30Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol (and) Ethylhexylglycerin and Polysorbate -20.
#2.) Best For Wrinkles and Expression Lines: MDSUN Med-Eye Complex
You can quote me: MDSUN is Skinceuticals or Kiehl’s on steroids! MDSUN Med-Eye Complex is one of the best eye creams out there with MANY promising scientifically-proven ingredients in high concentrations, using a quality delivery system, and at a skin-friendly pH.
If you suffer from undereye signs of aging and are looking for a luxury product that actually works, this is the one. You’re not paying for just fancy packaging and beautiful ads, which is what I unfortunately see with a lot of products above $150. Even though the packaging and ads from MDSUN are beautiful, you’re paying for efficacy and amazing ingredients here — which is what I look for in my skin care. This will be a staple for me for a long, long time.
The real secret to MDSUN Med-Eye Complex is the high concentration of vitamin C, “freeze” peptide, niacinamide, and other peptides. The form of vitamin C used, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, has been shown to be more efficient in entering skin cells than L-ascorbic acid (Clinics in Dermatology, 2008). Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate has been shown to penetrates the skin more deeply than L-ascorbic acid (Dermatologic Surgery, 2002) as well.
And in another study, this from Skin Research and Technology in 2008, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate was found to improve water retention in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin) after a 4-week period of daily applications.
Full list of peptides and functions:
- Acetyl Octapeptide-3 may reduce the depth of wrinkles on the face caused by the contraction of muscles of facial expression
- Rh-Polypeptide-9 may reduce wrinkles and enhance skin elasticity
- Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate may prevent the formation of expression lines
- Potato SH-Oligopeptide-1 may increase the rate of cellular turnover as well as slow the thinning of aging skin
- Rh-Polypeptide-1 may may reduce wrinkles and enhance skin elasticity
- Tripeptide-29 may minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles
- Hexapeptide-11 may upregulate key genes responsible for collagen production and hyaluronic acid
- Tetrapeptide-23 may protect skin against reactive scavengers and increase antioxidant activity
- Tripeptide-1 may stimulate the synthesis of collagen
- Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 may inhibit inflammation and glycation
- Oligopeptide-91 may prevent wrinkles
Overall, if you want top-notch performance from an undereye wrinkle eraser, consider MDSUN Med-Eye Complex to be one of the very best eye creams out there. I even use it on expression lines on my forehead, and it’s been keeping them at bay.
Ingredients in MDSUN Med-Eye Complex: Tetrahexydecyl ascorbate, water, acetyl octapeptide-3, cichorium intybus (chicory) leaf extract, thioctic acid, tripeptide-29, 4-ethoxybenzaldehyde, niacinamide, rh-polypeptide-9, dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminohydroxybutyrate, potato sh-oligopeptide-1, rh-oligopeptide-2, rh-polypeptide-1, rh-polypeptide-33, whey protein, tocopherol, phytonadione, glycerin, hexapeptide-11, retinal, acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine, palmitoyl tripeptide-5, tetradecyloctadecyl stearate, tetrapeptide-23, acetyl oligopeptide-70, coffea arabica leaf/seed extract, hexanoyl dipeptide-3 norleucine acetate, human adipocyte conditioned media, human adipocyte conditioned media extract, tripeptide-1, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, dextrin, steareth-20, retinyl palmitate, acetyl tetrapeptide-22,caffeine, oligopeptide-96, retinyl acetate, retinyl propionate, rh-polypeptide-11, tripeptide-46, butylene glycol, palmitoyl tripeptide-1, polysorbate 20, hydrolized soy protein, chrysin, hydrolized hibiscus esculentus extract, n-hydroxysuccinimide, oligopeptide-91, pseudoalteromonas ferment extract, tetrapeptide-21, hydrolized wheat protein, ergothioneine, hexapeptide-40, hydroxyproline, sargassum filipendula extract, tetrapeptide-38, ubiquinone, carbomer, cholesterol, cyclomethicone,cyclopentasiloxane, dimethyl isosorbide, dipeptide-2, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, hesperidin methyl chalcone, kinetin, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone, hydroxyethyl urea, tripeptide-10, caprylic/capric triglyceride, dimethicone crosspolymer, disodium EDTA, glyceryl stearate dimer dilinoleate copolymer, lecithin, linoleic acid, phytosphingosine, ceramide AP, cocoyl hydrolized wheat protein, ethylbisiminomethylguai acol manganese chloride, propylene glycol alginate, ceramide NG, acacia senegal gum, glycine soja (soybean) oil, retinol, ceramide NG, glycolipids, butyrosepermum parkii (shea) butter, hydroxypalmitoyl sphinganine
#3.) Best for Dark Circles + Puffiness: Your Best Face CORRECT Eye Cream
Your Best Face CORRECT Eye Cream is one of my all-time favorite products. It brightens and firms the undereye skin, and reduces undereye puffiness.
Yet my top reason for loving Your Best Face CORRECT Eye Cream is the way in which in treats dark circles.
You can get dark circles in three ways: First, you can have an overproduction of melanin, or skin pigment, in this region. Agents like licorice extract, hydroquinone, vitamin C, kojic acid, and certain peptides have been shown to help reverse and prevent this darkening.
Second, you can have swelling from allergies or inflammation, which produces additional blood flow (and hence darkness) in the area. Agents like Haloxyl® are designed to bind to two materials naturally found in the blood, bilirubin and iron, and hence reduce the darkness in the area (Formulating, Packaging, and Marketing of Natural Cosmetic Products, 2009).
Third, you can have blood pooling. Again here, Haloxyl® will work.
But finding an eye cream that treats melanin overproduction and excess blood pooling is hard, if not impossible, to find.
That is, until Your Best Face CORRECT Eye Cream. It really helps to fight dark circles, and I highly recommend it as one of the best eye creams for dark circles — no matter what the underlying cause of your dark circles is.
Ingredients in Your Best Face CORRECT Eye Cream: Reverse Osmosis Water, Olivem (Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate), Perfluorodecalin, Eyeseryl (Water, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5), Haloxyl (Hydroxysuccinimide, Chyrsin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3), Pentavitin (Saccharide Isomerate), Triglyceride, Leucidal (Leuconostoc/radish Root Ferment Filtrate), Ceteareth-6 Olivate, Licorice Root Extract, Syn-Hycan (Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifuoroacetate, Magneisum Chloride, Glycerin), Syn-Tacks (Glycerin, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminohydroxybutyrate), Tego Pep 4-17 (Tetrapeptide-21, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Water), Alpha Arbutin, Matrixyl 3000 (Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polysorbate-20, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3), Ethoxydiglycol, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Nylon-12, Renovage (Triglyceride, Teprenone), Olive Leaf Extract, Relistase (Glycerin, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine), Caffeine, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Homeostatine (Enteromorpha Compressa Extract, Caesalpina Gum), Trans Resveratrol, Tetrahydrodiferyloylmethane (Turmeric Root Extract), Nutmeg Butter, Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate), Lipochroman-6 (Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol), Dimethyl Isosorbide, Vitamin B5, Sepilift Dphp (Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline), Coenzyme Q10, Alpha Bisabolol, Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-Lipoic Acid), Violet Leaf Absolute, Oakmoss Absolute
#4.) Best Preventative Eye Cream: Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 34 Sunscreen
Look, you can fight it all you want, but the truth of the matter is, most wrinkles are the result of sun exposure. There are numerous twin studies and split-face studies that demonstrate this.
It’s a really great idea to use sunscreen around your eyes, but typically this presents a myriad of problems. First, you have that whole getting sunscreen in your eye issue, which is never fun. Second, you don’t have very many choices out there, at least not in comparison to the slew of total eye creams. Third, you run the risk of dryness (if your undereye skin is particularly parched to begin with).
That’s why I like Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 34 Sunscreen. It doesn’t budge. It also has 10.6% zinc oxide, which means it is not playing around. Zinc oxide is better than titanium oxide. This is because UVA and UVB rays are separated into longer UVA (UV-aging) and shorter UVB (UV-burning), and zinc oxide blocks a significantly longer portion of UVA rays (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2005). I also prefer zinc oxide to chemical sunscreens, since it prevents UV rays from hitting the skin altogether. (Chemical sunscreens simply convert UV light to another form of energy, like non-UV light or heat, once it hits the surface of the skin).
A slew of silicones prevent this eye cream from being drying, and alcohols/glycols help for it to absorb without ruining your makeup. It does leave a little bit of a white streak, but it’s definitely something you can cover up under a reasonable bit of concealer or foundation. I highly recommend it as one of the best eye creams!
Ingredients in Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 34 Sunscreen: Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 2.9%, Octocrylene 3%, Zinc Oxide 10.6%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Isododecane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polybutylene Glycol/PPG/9/1 Copolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Xylitol, Methyl Gluceth-10, Dimethicone, SD Alcohol 40-B, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Zinc Myristate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Ononis Spinosa Root Extract, Ectoin, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Isostearic Acid, Trisodium EDTA, Alcohol, Alumina, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, BHT, Tocopherol, Syzgium Jambos Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide.
#5.) Best for “Hollowed-Out” Undereye Skin: AQ Skin Solutions Eye Serum
Some people don’t get undereye puffiness. Some get a “hollowed-out” look with age. For them, I almost always recommend AQ Skin Solutions Eye Serum, which throws in everything under the sun you could want for loose, sagging skin.
First off, you have growth factors. Like retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and amino acids, topically-applied growth factors have been shown to stimulate the production of collagen within the skin (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology). Most skin care products use skin cell stimulating growth factors. These have been shown in peer-reviewed, independent studies to enhance wound healing following dermatological treatments with lasers or dermatologic surgery, reduce wrinkling, and increase skin smoothness.
In a 2007 study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, subjects used a human growth factor-containing cream on half of their face for sixty days. After the 60-day period, 83% of the subjects showed an improved average wrinkle score in the eye area, while 50% showed an improved average wrinkle score in the mouth area.
Also known as Argireline, acetyl hexapeptide-8 is a firming “freeze” peptide. Argireline works on the same muscle-to-nerve connections as BotoxTM, which makes sense, given that it is actually a shortened peptide sequence of BotoxTM. Argireline raised eyebrows literally and figuratively after a 2002 study found wrinkles were reduced in depth by 30% when it was injected into the skin.
Ingredients in AQ Skin Solutions Eye Serum: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Cellulose Gum, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.
Got a product type you want to see on our Top 5 list? Let me know in Comments, or write to me at nicki[at]futurederm[dot]com!