The eyes are the windows to the soul—and where signs of aging show up first. "The thinner the skin, the faster it will age, and the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body," says New York City cosmetic dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. Happily, it’s not all bad news. This skin is also the easiest to treat, so any anti-aging attempts will be more noticeable here than anywhere else on your face. Ahead, the easiest ways to prevent, treat, and camouflage all your eye issues.
A breakdown of collagen and elastin—due to genetics, sun exposure, and constant muscle movement—leads to fine lines.
Prevent it: You can’t do much about genetics, but you can safeguard this skin from the sun. Dr. Engelman suggests wearing large sunglasses and applying sunscreen around your eyes. A solid formula, like the CeraVe Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 ($9; dermstore.com) won’t run into eyes.
Treat it: Retinoids take first place for combating crow’s-feet. "These vitamin A derivatives both decrease the breakdown of existing collagen and increase the production of new collagen," explains Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. Choose one made for eyes, like Clark’s Botanicals Retinol Rescue Eye Serum ($98; dermstore.com), to minimize irritation. For speedier smoothing, Dr. Gohara likes eye patches, which deliver hydration and temporary plumping. Try Nerium International Eye-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches ($55 for 5; nerium.com).
Conceal it: A creamy, brightening concealer reflects light to create the illusion of smoother skin, says beauty expert Jenny Patinkin, author of Lazy Perfection: The Art of Looking Great Without Even Trying ($14; amazon.com). Try Benefit Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer ($20; sephora.com). Apply it lightly to prevent it from settling into ne lines.
Discoloration beneath the eyes occurs when the underlying blood vessels show through that extremely delicate skin, creating the appearance of unsightly bluish circles, notes Dr. Engelman.
Prevent it: As with crow’s-feet, the best bet is to use a retinoid regularly. “Building collagen will help thicken the skin so the veins underneath aren’t as noticeable,” explains Dr. Gohara.
Treat it: For a quick fix, reach for an eye cream that contains caffeine. “It constricts dilated blood vessels that exacerbate the look of dark circles,” says Dr. Gohara, who likes Restorsea Pro Firming Eye Serum ($85; restorsea.com). For a more long-term solution, “injectable hyaluronic acid fillers create a cushion between the veins and skin, making dark circles less apparent,” adds Dr. Engelman. The effects can last up to a year.
Conceal it: “Trying to cover dark circles with a light concealer is like wearing a white T-shirt over a black bra: They’re going to show through,” says Patinkin. “The best solution is a peachy-toned concealer, which will counteract blue-gray hues.” She likes the Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer ($28; sephora.com). If your circles are especially dark, start with an orangey color corrector instead. Try Maybelline New York Master Color Correcting Camo Pen in Apricot ($10; target.com). Top that with an illuminating concealer that matches your skin tone.
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How to fix puffiness
We all have fat pads under our eyes, though for some they’re more prominent. Fat pads also become more visible as we age and the skin becomes even thinner, notes Dr. Engelman. Excess fluid around the eyes can cause puffiness, too.
Prevent it: Avoid overindulging in alcohol and salt; both cause water retention. Elevating your head prevents fluid buildup around the eyes, says Dr. Gohara, so sleep with an extra pillow.
Treat it: Surgery can remove or redistribute the fat; on the less invasive side, injectable fillers add fullness, smoothing the area, says Dr. Engelman. For puffiness, she likes eye creams with rollerball applicators. Try Sisley Sisleÿa L’Intégral Anti-Age Eye and Lip Contour Cream ($210; neimanmarcus.com).
Conceal it: Use a slightly darker concealer on puffy spots, since dark colors make things appear to recede, says Patinkin.