The under-eye area is arguably one of the most vulnerable spots when it comes to aging. Not only is the skin in that area thinner, but it's regularly subjected to "wear and tear," so to speak. Over time, taking on and off makeup, rubbing our eyes, and even smiling and squinting repeatedly can cause the under-eye area to wrinkle and develop fine lines prematurely compared to other parts of our bodies. Which, by the way, is totally normal—but if you're looking for ways to smooth over lines and prevent more from forming, there are definitely skin-care products formulated to do just that.
By the time we hit 40, these signs of aging are more visibly apparent compared to when we were in our younger years due to the skin's delicacy and decrease in collagen, the protein responsible for keeping skin buoyant. While we can't stop wrinkles dead in their tracks with over-the-counter remedies, eye creams can work wonders by jump-starting collagen production, lightening discoloration, and de-puffing floofy bags. The only problem is that there are so many eye creams to choose from. If you're not sure where to start, the below get the stamp of approval from dermatologists.
- Erum N. Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of AmberNoon
- Hadley King, MD, board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University
- Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital
Best eye creams for people in their 40s, at a glance:
- Best for wrinkles: Roc Retinol Correxion Eye Cream, $22
- Best for darkness: Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, $43
- Best for crepey skin: Park Perfection Instant Eye Lift, $90
- Best for puffiness: Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Depuffing Eye Serum, $70
- Best splurge: Clé de Peau Enhancing Eye Contour Cream Supreme, $125
- Best for texture: Olay Eye Transforming Cream, $23
- Best for hydration: Naked Poppy Awaken Eye Cream, $55
- Best for pigmentation: Isdin, K-Ox Eyes, $97
What to look for in an eye cream for people in their 40s
Choosing an eye cream will depend largely on the concerns you're looking to address, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. For example, "creams designed for lines and wrinkles may contain ingredients like retinol to stimulate collagen," says Dr. Zeichner. For hyperpigmentation concerns, he says you'll want to look for a product that contains antioxidants like vitamin C, caffeine for puffiness, and hyaluronic acid for hydration. Before we get into the best eye creams to invest in, consider this your reminder that the *best* anti-aging skin care will always be sunscreen and avoiding direct contact with the sun whenever possible!
But with all that said: We spoke with three dermatologists to learn about the best eye creams for people in their 40s. From caffeine-infused eye creams to those with cooling, metal applicators, check out these gems that give fines lines, poofiness, and withered under-eye skin the boot.
Dr. Zeichner recommends Roc’s Retinol Correxion Under-Eye Cream for targeting wrinkles and fine lines. It’s formulated with stabilized retinol, which “helps strengthen the skin, while the hyaluronic acid hydrates and minimizes potential irritation,” Dr. Zeichner says. That’s not all.
It has garnered more than 21,000 five-star ratings from Amazon customers with one writing, “I thought it was time to invest in a retinol eye cream since I’m almost 40… After three to four weeks of continuous morning and evening use, I have noticed smoother, brighter skin under and around my eyes, and a reduction in the fine lines.” Retailing for $20 (at the time of publication), Roc’s Retinol Correxion is a budget-friendly eye cream you’ll want to stock up on.
Dr. Zeichner is a fan of Drunk Elephant’s Eye Cream because it’s filled with hydrators and antioxidant-rich ingredients. Glycerin, cucumber, and peptides—which all do overtime by packing in moisture—can be found in the formula. “Peptides in the formula help strengthen the skin to reduce the appearance of bags,” says Dr. Zeichner. The cream is also packed with vitamin C to help brighten and protect the under-eye skin.
Park Perfection’s Instant Eye Cream is like the Spanx of eye creams. It “lifts” and firms skin, and is formulated with chicory root to combat dark circles and crepey skin. Paraben-, phthalate-, silicone-, and fragrance-free, it’s unlike to irritate people’s eyes even people with the most sensitivity. Retailing for $90, this eye cream is on the pricier side of eye creams, but only a small dab is needed. This stuff will last you quite some time!
Both Dr. Zeichner and Hadley King, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist based in New York, agree: Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Eye Serum is one not to skip in your beauty closet. It’s infused with caffeine to help “eliminate excess fluid while naturally-derived antioxidants calm inflammation,” says Dr. Zeichner. What’s neat is that it comes packages in a cooling, metal applicator—which Dr. King says soothes and de-puffs. Puffer jacket-like bags will be no more after one swipe of this.
A little goes a long way when it comes to Clé de Peau’s Enhancing Eye Contour Cream Supreme, which comes at a higher price point, but is well worth it if you can swing it. “This rich cream hydrates and brightens under-eye skin while improving the appearance of lines with a proprietary retinol antioxidant blend,” says Dr. Zeichner. The theanine infusion protects skin from signs of aging and the Japanese pearl shell extract helps withered cells retain moisture and texture. A dab of this luxe formula will help keep wrinkles and fine lines at arm’s length.
Another budget-friendly option, Olay’s eye cream does what it says: it transforms. Infused with niacinamides and vitamins B and E, this cream revives tired eyes and “helps improve tone and texture,” says Dr. King. Plus, it’s non-greasy, thanks to the oil-free formula, and it absorbs quickly into the skin. One reviewer raves: “It’s very smooth & silky, and not greasy. It gives nice coverage and a little shimmer, too! Would definitely recommend!”
Naked Poppy’s dewy eye cream literally makes eyes look more awake. Containing caffeine, the product depuffs floofy bags and has botanicals like quinoa seed extract and lilium candidum flower, “which can decrease dark pigment under the eyes,” explains Dr. King. Vitamin C is also in the formulation to deliver some much-needed sunshine.
Isdin’s K-Ox Vitamin K Eye Cream comes recommended by Erum IIyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in King of Prussia, PA. “With hyaluronic and vitamin K, the goal of this cream is to reduce pigmentation that may be a result of swelling and bruising,” says Dr. Ilyas. Even more, it’s packaged in a bottle with a ceramic applicator that offers a wakeup call for tired eyes. Sleepy under-eye bags? We don’t know her.
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