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What Should Really Be Inside Your Eye Cream

Breaking Down the Technology that Matters

Trust us, daily eye cream application is one of the keys to looking younger than your years. But we know those pesky ingredients can be hard to decipher. Here's a little guide to help you wade through the science.—Glo

By Emily Hebert for ELLE

According to Rod Rohrich, MD, the chairman of plastic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, facial fat around the eyes starts falling first (likely due to the area's thin, delicate skin). Combine the natural aging process with cold, dry weather and chances are your peepers will be winter-weary. That's where supercharged eye creams come into play. Here, key ingredients to look for in a smoothing serum.

Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides. For plump skin cells nothing beats hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture from the air and holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. In addition to hyaluronic acid, Jeannette Graf, MD, author of Stop Aging, Start Living, says that ceramides also help maintain hydration. A powerful new formula that includes both: Estée Lauder Time Zone Anti-Line/Wrinkle Eye Crème.

RELATED ON ELLE: Inside the Aging Process

Retinol. “Anybody who can tolerate retinoic acid should use it,” says dermatologist Doris Day, MD. A vitamin A derivative, retinol stimulates cell turnover and collagen production, helping to strengthen skin and reduce complexion imperfections like sun spots and fine lines. Just remember that a little goes a long way; retinol creams make skin more sun-sensitive and can be overly drying, so apply sparingly before bedtime only. To get your nightly retinol dose, Day suggests Olay Professional Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex.

Neuropeptides. Supersensitive skin types might opt for a peptide-packed eye cream instead of a retinoic acid one. Like retinol, neuropeptides also stimulate collagen and elastin production, but are gentler on the dermis. “In studies applying various neuropeptide preparations directly to the skin, exciting clinical benefits were observed almost immediately upon application,” says Nicholas Perricone, MD. “There was visible improvement of the skin's resilience, tone and texture.” Try Perricone MD Neuropeptide Eye Contour to brighten your baby blues and, for a double dose of peptides, look for Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Eye Shadow.

Vitamins C and E. Besides vitamin A (in the form of topical retinol), vitamins C and E are also potent antiaging ingredients. While vitamin C aids in collagen production and skin elasticity, vitamin E soothes and protects. MD Skincare Hydra-Pure Firming Eye Cream contains all three wrinkle-fighting vitamins.


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  • Click through for more of Glo's favorite eye creams like Lancôme Génifque Eye, $59, www.lancome-usa.com

    Courtesy of Lancôme
  • Kiehl's Since 1851 Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer, $19, www.kiehls.com

    Courtesy of Kiehl's Since 1851
  • Lisa Ashley Ultimate Eye Cream, $55, www.lisaashley.com

    Courtesy of Lisa Ashley
  • Neutrogena Clinical Eye Kit, $40, at drugstores nationwide

    Courtesy of Neutrogena
  • Sampar Eye Rule, $78, www.samparusa.com

    Courtesy of Sampar
  • LaRocca Gold Eye Cream, $105, www.laroccaskincare.com

    Courtesy of LaRocca
What Should Really Be Inside Your Eye Cream
Breaking Down the Technology that Matters
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