11 Eye Creams That Treat Dark Circles and Puffiness, According to the Experts
Dark circles happen to virtually everyone, but they occur for many reasons. Los Angeles-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Onyeka Obioha notes that the main culprits are genetics, aging ("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," she says), and chronic rubbing and irritation from allergies or eczema.
And while anyone can be prone to dark circles, they impact various skin types and tones differently. "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. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. "Those with darker skin types may be more prone to hyperpigmentation, resulting in brown discoloration underneath the eyes." (Dr. Obioha agrees, adding that people of Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian descent are typically more prone to genetically-induced dark circles). 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, Dr. Obioha 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," notes 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."
When searching for a formula, be sure to focus on the right ingredients. Dr. Jeannette Graf, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says the following agents are key. Even better? Some have de-puffing benefits, as well. 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). 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. If you're dealign 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.
With all that in mind, we asked Dr. Garshick, Dr. Graf, and Dr. Obioha 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.