The Effect Lasts For Months, Not Days. Do Eye Creams Really Help With Wrinkles?

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While some people ignore wrinkles around the eyes, others may want to slow down the aging process and keep their skin youthful.

Whether it’s aging, exposure to the sun, smoking or constant squinting, smiling, laughing or frowning, no one is immune to skin folds and wrinkles that appear with age. And the area around the eyes is especially prone to such changes. “The skin under and around the eyes is delicate and thin,” says Dr. Sarah Perkins, associate professor of dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine in an interview with The New York Times . “It’s a place where wrinkles and lines can show up more prominently than other areas of the skin.” This might make them wonder, are those tiny, expensive jars of eye cream worth it? Here’s what the experts say.

Can eye cream or other skin care products help with wrinkles?

Dr. Perkins and Dr. Zakia Rahman, clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University, said there is evidence that eye creams and even regular facial moisturizers can help prevent wrinkles. But there’s one big caveat: They must contain some key active ingredients: retinols ( or prescription retinoids) or vitamin C. “When we talk about the effectiveness of eye creams, it would be unfair to lump all eye creams together,” said Dr. Perkins. “Because some of them may just be glorified moisturizers without any biologically active ingredients.” Prescription retinols and retinoids are closely related chemical compounds derived from vitamin A. Retinoids are usually prescribed, while retinols are usually found in over-the-counter products. These substances can increase cell turnover, prevent collagen breakdown, produce new collagen and create more hyaluronic acid (a substance that the body produces naturally and helps maintain skin moisture).

Experts say there is strong evidence that these compounds can help prevent and reduce wrinkles. “Every dermatologist I know, myself included, uses them as part of their skin care regimen,” Dr. Rahman said. Two experts noted that both retinols and retinoids can cause skin irritation, although it should subside over time. If you’re buying an over-the-counter retinol product, Dr. Perkins recommends looking for a product with at least 0.25-1% retinol. Dr. Perkins also warned that these products can increase sunburn, so she recommended applying them at night and using sunscreen during the day. Both experts stressed that if you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t use retinol or retinoid products.

There is also moderate evidence that topical vitamin C helps prevent and repair wrinkles. “It’s a powerful antioxidant,” Dr. Rahman said. This means that vitamin C neutralizes harmful molecules called free radicals that can damage the skin. It also helps with collagen production, she says. If you’re choosing between the two, both experts recommend using retinol or a retinoid over topical vitamin C. And, as with retinols and retinoids, vitamin C can cause skin irritation.

The experts also mentioned that there is evidence that skin care products containing hyaluronic acid can improve the appearance of the skin. This ingredient can tighten the skin, giving it a younger appearance. However, both experts noted that these effects were temporary. “There is data showing that the use of hyaluronic acid improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” said Dr. Perkins. But it works differently by delivering water to the skin rather than working on a molecular level like the other active ingredients mentioned above.

Are eye creams superior to regular facial moisturizers in preventing or reversing wrinkles

 Eye cream as a category is one of my biggest concerns,” said Dr. Perkins, adding that the ingredients in eye creams tend to be the same as in facial moisturizers. Doctor Rahman agreed. Eye creams may be a bit thicker or contain fewer active ingredients compared to other facial skin care products because they are designed for the sensitive skin of the eyelids. But in general, they tend to cost a lot more than regular facial moisturizers, and they often don’t contain ingredients that are very different,” said Dr. Rahman. She personally uses a regular facial moisturizer for the skin around eyes

If you prefer not to use an eye cream, a regular facial moisturizer that contains the main active ingredients mentioned above should work just as well on wrinkles. If you buy an eye cream with these ingredients, you’re probably just paying more money for less product with similar benefits. But don’t expect miracles with any of these skin care products either, and results may take some time. The effect lasts for months, not days, Dr. Rahman said. As for the best way to prevent wrinkles around the eyes, both experts clearly agreed that sun protection is key.
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