Our testers weren’t wild about these pigmented products, which don’t work with all skin tones and may look odd if not applied evenly and under makeup. But if you’re intrigued by optics, Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Swirl and Olay Eyes Illuminating Eye Cream both rely on mica to help hide dark circles.
If you suspect you may be anemic, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor. Your doctor will check this with a simple blood test. You may need special iron supplements to get back on track. For mild cases, increasing your dietary intake of iron may help.
This can have a potential dual effect on puffy eyelids. First, if dark circles are caused by a visible network of blood vessels under the thin eyelid skin, then making the vessels smaller might reduce the darkness.
I’ve mentioned this product before as one of my favorite concealers for both under-eyes and blemishes. When I’ve used the Saint Laurent pen, I don’t need that much concealer, so I go in with just a touch of this, and buff it out with my fingers for a more natural finish.
We gave preference to creams that came in pump-tops or squeeze tubes rather than jars. Retinoids degrade when exposed to light and oxygen, becoming less effective, and peptides may also be susceptible to oxidation, so the less contact your eye cream has with air and sunlight, the better.
Peptides are a more recent entrant into the field of skin care, which means that they’re not as well documented. Kevin Gallagher told us that peptides were derived from medical research into wound healing, and he recommended them over retinoids because they have less risk of irritating the delicate skin around the eye area. “Peptides are small fragments of collagen and proteins that are meant to ‘trick’ the skin into thinking that its collagen is broken, and that it needs to make new collagen to replace it. Over time, it can help thicken skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles,” explains Shainhouse.
Gluten found in wheat, rye and barley are common allergens which can cause Inflammation and swelling. Some are more allergic than others, so it is a good idea to eliminate glutens for a week and see if you notice a difference in the puffiness of your eyes or facial swelling.
Talk with your doctor if you have year-round or seasonal allergies. Allergies can cause your eyes to redden, swell, and puff up. This prompts you to rub your eyes more, resulting in further puffiness. Your doctor can help create a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. This may include eye drops and over-the-counter or prescription medication.
For a lightweight, fast-absorbing day cream, you’ve got four options: Botanics, Estee Lauder, Philosophy, and Clinique. Botanics All Bright Refreshing Eye Roll-On was our testers’ favorite, leaving skin feeling smooth and moisturized while leaving behind so little residue as to be “invisible.” Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum (despite the name, it doesn’t contain retinoids or mineral oils) was the second most popular.
Puffiness is a buildup of fluid and blood under the eyes. Some studies show that caffeine can help circulation, which could reduce puffiness. Other studies show that cold temperatures are just as effective to treat puffiness. That’s why some people refrigerate their eye creams.
Belli Eye Brightening Cream ($39) and MDSolarSciences Daily Eye Repair Emulsion ($82) were more controversial. While MDSolarSciences was a top pick in our previous review, a number of testers found that it crossed the border from “luxuriously moisturized” to “uncomfortably greasy.” Belli, meanwhile, received multiple complaints for leaving a sticky residue.
Some people swear that using a neti pot can help remove your under-eye bags and dark circles. A neti pot is a device you fill with a saltwater (normal saline) solution. You place the spout in your nose and irrigate your sinuses, removing mucus and other debris.
Our two other finalists in this category were Philosophy Miracle Worker Eye Cream and Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Eye Treatment. Both absorbed easily and performed well, but testers weren’t quite as enthusiastic about them, lodging a handful of complaints about residue that felt sticky or overly drying. Still, if you want to explore additional brands, feedback was largely positive and both creams have all the powerhouse ingredients necessary to get the job done. All of our pump-based creams cost about the same — Estee ($66), Philosophy ($68), and Clinique ($50) — while our $14 rollerball surprised us with its performance and price.
If your pink eye is triggered by a viral infection, you might also have cold symptoms, explains Kira Manusis, MD, an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, in an email to Health. “In such cases it can be associated with an upper respiratory infection,” she says. “It often starts in one eye and spreads to the other.”
Certain personal care products, like soaps, makeup, or hair dyes, may be allergens. If you’re having trouble identifying the cause, consider keeping a diary to see what substances or other things cause the most reaction. If this is a chronic problem talk to your doctor about allergy testing.
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Eye swelling can be a sign of a serious problem. When the swelling is persistent, medical attention should be sought. Any time you receive a blow to the eye you should seek medical attention, even if there is no swelling. Seek medical attention immediately if the following symptoms accompany the eye swelling:
Part of Estée Lauder’s bestselling Advanced Night Repair range, the sciencey-sounding Eye Concentrate Matrix uses that same anti-ageing technology to target fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, dark circles and dryness while you sleep. The serum texture makes it a pleasure to use, too.
The 33 creams we tested came in variety of tubes and pumps. Our favorite designs let us portion out a small dab of cream: just enough to fully hydrate our eyes without turning our eye cream into an all-over-face cream. The worst shot cream out at the closest available target, sometimes because of a runny formula, sometimes because of a too-powerful pump. At best, this lack of portion control is a small annoyance, but since some of our anti-wrinkle creams ran upwards of $100, we wanted the ability to measure them out without wasting anything.
While it’s hard to totally avoid allergens, reduce your exposure and prevent eye puffiness by staying indoors as much as possible—especially in fall and spring, when trees and plants release more pollen and symptoms can get worse. Keep windows shut, change into another outfit when you come in from outdoors, and consider getting an air filter to cut down on pet dander in your home.
In the United States, Congress passes laws to protect consumers’ health and safety. The Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) clearly states “articles…intended to affect the structure or function of…” skin are considered drugs, and as such, must get FDA pre-market approval before going to market. In addition, the manufacturer must prove safety and efficacy of that product. An eye cream, however, is not a drug—it is a cosmetic and doesn’t require FDA pre-market approval or need to demonstrate its safety or efficacy. Cosmetics are defined as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” By law, manufacturers of cosmetics, including eye creams, may claim that their product improves the appearance of the skin, as many well-formulated moisturizers temporarily do, but they cannot legally claim that their product actually alters the structure or function of the skin, as this would make the product a drug and require FDA pre-market approval.