woman applying eye cream in design layout

11 Best Eye Creams for Treating Dark Circles and Puffiness, According to Experts

Dermatologists give their recommendations for every skin type and tone, as well as what you should use at every age.
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Out of all of our facial features, our eyes can give a major peek into our lives. From the way they light up after we hear good news to the way they squint when we are tired, our eyes are an open book to our day-to-day experiences. Everyone's eyes are still unique, though, and can experience changes in their appearance over time. Dark circles, for example, happen to virtually everyone, but they occur for many reasons.

The main culprits of dark circles are genetics, aging, and chronic rubbing and irritation from allergies or eczema. Loss of fat under the eyes, which often happens as we age, can also cause dark circles. "The loss of the deep fat under the eye causes the blood vessels under the skin to look more apparent, which in turn creates a shadow or darkness," says Onyeka Obioha, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles.

And while anyone can be prone to dark circles, they impact various skin types and tones differently, says Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. "Those with lighter skin may have dark circles that result from the visibility of blood vessels, giving rise to a blue-gray color," says Dr. Garshick. "Those with darker skin types may be more prone to hyperpigmentation, resulting in brown discoloration underneath the eyes."

In addition, people of Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian descent are typically more prone to genetically induced dark circles, says Dr. Obioha. Those with fair skin, in contrast, often have circles that look more severe, and that's simply because of the very visible appearance of the blood vessels under the paler skin, she says.

The best way to treat dark circles, regardless of your skin tone? Invest in an effective eye cream. "Eye creams help to reduce the appearance of dark circles and prevent them from forming by incorporating ingredients that lighten and brighten the area," says Dr. Garshick. "They also nourish, support, and strengthen the skin and boost collagen production to prevent and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles."

Shop the Best Eye Creams

What to Look for in a Product

When searching for a formula, be sure to focus on the right ingredients. The following agents are key (some have de-puffing benefits, as well), says Jeannette Graf, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Coenzyme Q10

Look for coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which protects against sun damage, as well as SPF (in addition to protecting your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays, it also helps stave off wrinkles).

Peptides, Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamins

You'll also want peptides, which support collagen production, and ceramides, which help maintain a strong skin barrier. Similarly, hyaluronic acid provides moisture to the skin and helps with elasticity, and a mix of vitamins C, E, and K improve skin health under the eyes.

AHAs

If you're dealing with hyper-pigmented skin under your eyes, look for a formula with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Struggling with dark under-eye circles? A caffeine-laden eye cream will help diminish their look as well as decrease puffiness.

We asked all three doctors for the eye creams they most often recommend to treat dark under-eye circles and puffiness. Discover their picks below, then choose the right formula for your skin type and tone.

Ponds "Rejuveness" Lifting and Brightening Eye Cream

$7.99, bedbathandbeyond.com

In search of a formula that evens out skin tone and reduces hyperpigmentation? Then you'll want to consider this niacinamide-containing eye to improve under-eye discoloration. "While hyperpigmentation can affect all skin types, it may be more commonly seen in those with darker skin," says Dr. Garshick. She adds that this option contains retinol and a blurring technology to reduce the appearance of fine lines, as well.

Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment

$85, alastin.com

Those with darker, deeper skin types should should look for an eye cream that targets pigment, says Dr. Obioha. She likes Alastin's Restorative Eye Treatment; it contains tetrapeptide, an antioxidant that will inhibit pigment and stop dark circles from forming, she says.

Patchology FlashPatch Illuminating Eye Gels

$15, dermstore.com

If you have lighter skin, Dr. Obioha recommends these eye gels; they use green tea extract to help improve microcirculation and lighten the appearance of dark circles.

first aid beauty eye cream

First Aid Beauty "Eye Duty" Niacinamide Brightening Cream

$36, sephora.com

This eye cream is easy to apply and includes niacinamide, pumpkin seed extract, and caffeine to reduce discoloration and puffiness, says Dr. Garshick. "Some people have dark circles that are related to both brown and bluish discoloration—this can address both," she adds. And while it's suited for all complexion types, it is especially calming on dry, sensitive skin; it contains sodium hyaluronate to boost moisture.

lumiere eye cream

Neocutis Lumiere Illuminating Eye Cream

$87, amazon.com

This gentle formula is great for targeting dark circles. "With growth factors (to strengthen the skin and improve fine lines and wrinkles), antioxidants, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate with glycyrrhetinic acid (to help lighten the under-eye area), and caffeine (to reduce puffiness), this formula improves the overall appearance of dark circles," says Dr. Garshick. "It is gentle enough to be used twice per day and won't clog the pores."

SENTÉ Illumine Eye Cream

$99, dermstore.com

This is a preferred formula from SENTÉ for mature skin, says Dr. Obioha. It contains ingredients like niacinamide, jojoba butter, and peptides to help strengthen the skin barrier and reduce the appearance of fine lines and discoloration.

Dr. Jeannette Graf eye cream

Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D. Triple Action Peptide Eye Cream

$36, lovelyskin.com

Dr. Graf created this eye cream. "[It] has peptides for dark under-eye circles, bags, fine lines, and wrinkles," she says.

color science eye cream

Colorscience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35

$74, dermstore.com

As for a favorite of Dr. Garshick's? This option, which contains SPF 35 and provides broad-spectrum coverage using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. "It comes in various shades to match all skin tones," she says. "Not only does it protect against further UV damage, but this lightweight eye cream also has a cooling applicator to reduce puffiness."

elf hydration eye cream

e.l.f. Cosmetics "Holy Hydration!" Illuminating Eye Cream

$10, ulta.com

This formula works across all skin types and is rich in hyaluronic acid and peptides for ultimate hydration, notes Dr. Graf. It's also one of the most budget-friendly options on this list, and is readily available in drugstores.

Skinbetter Science "Interfuse" Treatment Cream Eye

$110, skinbetter.com

This option is a "powerful eye recharger" in Dr. Graf's opinion. It has a patented technology that delivers caffeine, peptides, niacinamide, and vitamin C to the skin—and helps de-puff and brighten the eye area.

isdin eye cream

ISDIN K-Ox Eye

$97, isdin.com

This eye cream is another of Dr. Graf's favorites because it combines vitamin K oxide, hyaluronic acid, and peptides eyeliss and haloxyl to constrict the amount of blood flow around the eyes, which ultimately tightens the dermis and reduces swelling and dark circles.