As if everyone isn’t stressed enough by the prospect of long days and little sleep, there’s this: Dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness show up to give away your calm, cool, and collected vibes. And while you’d like to tell ’em to give it a rest already, the irony is so evident that you just go on about your day—eye bags intact.
The pros say that your under eyes are one of the first features on your face to show signs of aging, because the thin skin here doesn’t have as many oil glands. But the products to treat this issue are both confusing and pricey, so how do you parse out what’s what? Ask a dermatologist…or six. They suggest rich, emollient formulas with intense hydrating ingredients the likes of hyaluronic acid, nourishing ones like vitamin E, and even caffeine, which can help stimulate blood flow to the nix the bags.
Keep scrolling for dermatologists’ top picks for fighting dark circles.
Mona Gohara, MD
“One of my favorite hacks is using tea bags to decrease puffiness and circles,” says Dr. Gohara. “This highly concentrated serum [she says of the Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum, $60] was able to package it up into a cosmetically elegant product. I put it on in the morning under moisturizer or sunscreen. The caffeine constricts the vessels and lymphatics in the lids, making eyes and the surrounding area look refreshed.”
Neal Schultz, MD
“After cleansing and toning at night, apply eye cream before the rest of your skin-care products,” Dr. Schultz tells me. “The Farmacy Dew It All Eye Cream, $38, is formulated with hyaluronic acid (AKA: The key molecule that absorbs up to 1,000 times its weight in water), which plays a very important role in reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. It helps control skin’s hydration and also helps regulate collagen production.”
Dendy Engelman, MD
“This rich, hydrating cream specifically targets three prime visible signs of aging—moisture loss, skin laxity, and free radical damage,” explains Dr. Engelman of the SkinCeuticals Eye Balm, $82. “I like it for older skin because it’s thicker and features a combination of powerful (yet gentle) plant-based ingredients to nourish and smooth skin around the eye.”
Arash Akhavan, MD
“It has a biomimic film that makes the eyes look less tired by constricting the appearance of the bags,” explains Dr. Akhavan. “It also contains caffeine, which naturally depuffs the eyes. Apply about four to five little drops around each eye with your ring finger and massage outward—this will help push fluid out of the area.”
Karen Hammerman, MD
Dr. Hammerman likes the blend of botanicals in Dr. Hauschka Regenerating Eye Cream, $75. “Apply it in the morning after cleansing,” she advises. “Quince seed, birch leaf, and starflower help refine pores and balance moisture, while acerola berries, sea buckthorn, and red clover enhance skin tone and elasticity. The shea butter softens and protects the delicate skin around the eyes.”
Ellen Marmur, MD
“It’s important to make sure the product is soothing for the eye area like Chanel Le Lift Creme Yeux Firming Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, $105,” explains Dr. Marmur, of the cream, spiked with a patented firming extract from the morning glory bloom. “Use it both in the a.m. and p.m., apply a generous amount, and bring it all the way to the eyebrow and around the eyes widely.”