As our eyes are the first thing people notice when they look at us, it’s natural to feel self-conscious about crepey skin. Crepey skin, bags, dark circles, and hollowing under the eyes can give away our age and make us look older and tired.
But what is crepey skin? It is skin that has become overly-thinned and wrinkled. If you’ve ever used crepe paper before then you know what crepey skin looks like.
It can affect large areas of skin and make it noticeably more fragile and thinner. It occurs when elastin in our skin has reduced and become damaged. Elastin is a crucial element of the skin, as it is the protein that keeps your skin flexible.
What causes crepey skin under the eyes?
Crepey skin can be caused by redistribution of fat, and thinning of the skin due to a loss of collagen. This makes blood vessels more visible and creates lines, folds, and a blueish effect on the skin. Crepey skin can also be caused by rapid and excessive weight loss, dry skin, smoking, pollution, genetics, or even underlying medical conditions.
Crepey skin can manifest in a few ways, like dark circles, eye bags, or winkles.
Dark circles: Vitamin C can help with ageing-related thinness and hyperpigmentation. Meanwhile dark circles caused by allergies or anema or are a result of structural shadowing can be helped with medical intervention.
Dark circles can be caused by lifestyle issues like a lack of sleep, smoking or alcohol consumption. If dark circles are caused by a lack of sleep then a change to your nighttime routine can make a difference, while lifestyle changes can improve dark circles caused by smoking or alcohol.
Eye bags: Vitamin C can also help with eye bags that are caused by a loss of skin elasticity. Eye bags caused by fluid retention can be reduced by lifestyle changes such as cutting down on salt or doing exercises that improve circulation. Meanwhile eye bags caused by sagging, excess fat or that are down to genetics can be treated medically.
Wrinkles: Vitamin C can help with ageing related thinning, while botox and other medical interventions can help reduce wrinkles caused by facial movements.
Does eye cream help minimize the appearance of crepey skin?
While there are some benefits to eye creams, these can be over-exaggerated and eye cream isn’t a magical end-all cure to crepey skin.
For one, adding an eye cream to your skincare routine can unnecessarily complicate it. It’s just one more product to buy and another step to your routine that you don’t really need. Instead, continue to use any anti-ageing serums or creams that are already part of your routine.
Don’t be fooled by marketing! Skincare companies make very big promises about the benefits of their products to make money. Besides, these creams typically tend to be very expensive.
Eye creams can also distract from your overall skin health. They conceal a problem rather than encourage a holistic approach like focusing on getting into better habits with your skin routine.
That isn’t to say that eye creams don’t have value though, and if you wish to use them you’ll find the best eye creams below that address three main problems; dehydration, dark circles, and ageing.
EYE CREAM FOR DEHYDRATED EYES
Cerave Skin Renewing Night Cream
EYE CREAM FOR DARK PUFFY EYES
Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream
EYE CREAM FOR ANTI-AGING
Best Eye Creams for Dehydrated Eyes
For eye creams that focus on hydrating your skin, you’ll want to look for ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. You’ll also want to look for eye creams that have a thicker texture.
OUR TOP PICK
Cerave Skin Renewing Night Cream
My top pick is Cerave Skin Renewing Night Cream. It’s not just great for your eyes, but the rest of your face too. It’s a face cream and an eye cream in one!
It has a thicker consistency to most eye creams, feeling more like a balm. It provides intense hydration and contains the three main ingredients above as well as Peptides.
It’s also fragrance free, and there’s minimal risk of irritation. Be careful not to apply too much though, as too much may make your eyes look a little puffy.
Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
Containing Licorice root extract, this cream helps with dark circles and also makes your eyes look more radiant.
Cerave Eye Repair Cream
With a combination of great ingredients like Vitamin E, plant extracts, and ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, this cream is extremely moisturizing and eczema-friendly.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost for Eyes
A simple hyaluronic acid moisturizer that you can use alongside Neutrogena’s face cream.
All of these creams provide great hydration for the under-eye area and would be suitable for many different skin types. However, to save money face moisturizers would also do the trick. They’re normally safe for use around the eye and possess all the same ingredients as eye creams.
Best Eye Creams for Dark, Puffy Eyes
When looking for eye creams for dark, puffy eyes you should be looking for creams that include caffeine as well as optical diffusers like titanium dioxide. This helps to decrease the look of dark circles by contracting blood vessels and reflecting light off the skin.
These eye creams only offer a temporary improvement (a couple of hours), and won’t provide any lasting results.
OUR TOP PICK
Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream
Nonetheless, Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream is the best pick for dark, puffy eyes. It contains optical diffusers, as well as plant extract, and antioxidants and is free of parabens and fragrance.
A budget-friendly option to reduce darkness and puffiness around the eyes is to use a tinted mineral sunscreen with titanium dioxide and iron oxides. They not only cover dark circles, but provide UV protection
Best Eye Creams for Anti-Aging
These eye creams have anti-ageing benefits like fixing fine lines and crow’s feet, with the most beneficial creams containing retinol or retinaldehyde. However, these ingredients can cause problems if they get into your eyes.
Therefore you should be very careful when applying retinol products, and some companies will create separate creams for the face and eyes, one containing retinol and the other without.
Eye cream does have a lower concentration of retinol in it though, which does reduce the risk of harm to your eyes.
OUR TOP PICK
Avene RetrinAL Eyes
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My top pick for an anti-ageing eye cream is Avene RetrinAL Eyes. It contains retinaldehyde, a form of retinoid that only takes two applications for the retinoid acid to be activated and have an anti-ageing effect. It’s thicker texture also helps with hydrating under-eye skin.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
This cream not only contains a carefully formulated retinol complex, but hyaluronic acid to hydrate your skin.
Olay Eyes Retinol 24 MAX Night Eye Cream
This cream contains two types of retinoids (retinol and retinyl ester), as well as niacinamide and peptides.
Can crepey skin under the eyes be reversed?
Crepey skin under the eyes can be reversed with dermatological intervention. Topical creams are a temporary solution but treatment provided by a dermatologist can last up to a year. Let’s take a look at what they are.
These thicken your skin when a filling agent like Radiesse or Sculptura is injected into your skin to stimulate collagen production. It not only smooths crepey skin but lightens dark circles.
Fine lines under the eyes can also be addressed with a small amount of well-placed fillers. It acts like a retinoid cream, but provides quicker results.
These are specifically designed to stimulate collagen and can also work magic on wrinkles and tone. Medical grade LED treatments are also an exciting development in laser technology. This treatment uses intense lights to stimulate the skin and immediately creates more collagen.
For those with a darker skin tone that is intolerant of fractional lasers, micro-needling is the better option and also triggers collagen creation.
If you’re interested in either of these procedures, schedule a consultation with a certified dermatologist for an in-person evaluation and a customized treatment plan that will address your skin needs.
Natural cures for under eye crepey skin
While there are no home remedies for crepey under-eye skin there are things you can do to prevent the development of it.
The most effective way to prevent crepey skin is to protect the skin from UV exposure. This includes applying mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your eyelids and under-eye area, as well as wearing sunglasses and sun hats.
Another way to prevent crepey skin is by removing make-up thoroughly at the end of the day with a cream cleanser, as well as sleeping on your back with your head elevated. A wedge pillow not only reduces eye bags and puffiness, but can also help with sleep apnea.
You can also prevent crepey skin by using a moisturizing concealer.
Myths about crepey under eye skin
Let’s bust a few myths about crepey under eye skin.
Myth 1: Treatment for wrinkles is expensive
This is not true. The development of wrinkles is part of the aging process, but some brands create creams, serums, and other gadgets claiming to smooth your skin and eliminate wrinkles.
More often than not, these come with an eye-watering price tag. But in fact, the best way to lessen wrinkles is by adopting a minimal morning and evening skincare routine with few products.
Morning routine: First, wash your face. This provides a fresh, clean base for your other products, and all you really need to clean your face with is water. Once you’re done pat your skin dry, leaving it slightly damp.
Then apply leave-on exfoliate. Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) like glycolic or lactic acids gently removes built-up dead skin cells from the surface layers of the skin, making it appear smoother and less wrinkled. It also reduces discoloration and helps your skin to produce more collagen. However, it does make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Then apply some hydrating essence. Snail mucin that is found in hydrating essence has a similar effect as hyaluronic acid and copper peptide. It helps your skin stay moist to produce collagen production, reduces wrinkles, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation, and improves skin elasticity, firmness, and density.
Leave it soak into your skin for 5-10 seconds before you move onto the next step. If your hydrating essence has a gel-like consistency, pat it on your face. It helps your skin absorb the product and stops the side effect of ‘pilling.’
Now apply serum. Go for a serum that has ingredients like Matrixyl 3000 that stimulates collagen production, and Syn-ake and Agirelox that helps relax muscular contractions that contribute to facial movement wrinkles and has been likened to botox.
However, Matrixyl 3000 has also been likened to TGF-B1 which is an inflammatory protein that can cause scarring. You should also avoid these ingredients if your routine includes acids such as L-ascorbic acid or ethyl ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C is probably the best ingredient for anti-ageing serums.
Now you can moisturize! If you need an additional skin oil for increased moisture, apply oil over your moisturizer. This creates a seal over all the other products and lets them really sink in.
Finally, apply sunscreen. No matter the season or time of day you should always wear SPF as your skin can always be damaged by the sun.
The main ingredient found in sunscreen is 15% titanium dioxide that protects you from UVA and UVB sun rays. Sunscreen can also give you a radiant finish, and the best ones for your skin are often unscented, lightweight, and sheer. Sunscreen absorbs quickly into your skin and can give it a beautiful, natural glow.
Night routine: First, remove makeup. Like washing your face in the morning, this is so your face has a clean, fresh base for your other skincare products (see also our favorite Ordinary anti-aging skincare products). If you tend to shower in the evening, remove your make-up before you get in.
Then apply retinoid cream, especially those with tretinoin or Vitamin A. These are great anti-ageing ingredients. It increases the turnover of skin cells and increases collagen production. It whips skin cells into shape and transforms them into normal, healthier, and younger skin cells.
Use a pea-sized drop of retinoid and spread it around your face, avoiding your eyes and neck. It’s worth remembering that retinoids can be quite irritating to your skin. Niacinamide can help to ease retinol irritation, as well as act as another barrier for your skin.
If you experience irritation from retinol/retinoid during your evening skincare routine, apply niacinamide first and then retinol after.
Then apply serum. Niacinamide has plenty of amazing benefits for your skin. It’s an anti-inflammatory that reduces redness, minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, boosts collagen production, minimizes the appearance of pores, regulates sebum production, eases symptoms of eczema, increases ceramide production, and increases your tolerance to retinoids.
Then apply an anti-pigmentation product – niacinamide to the rescue once again! It pairs well with retinoid, and in conjunction with another ingredient – Alpha Arbutin – helps to lighten age spots and makes your face radiant.
Once absorbed into the skin, enzymes break down into hydroquinone that lightens pigmentation.
Now you can add a moisturizer that is to be used specifically in the evening and is preferably fragrance free, like Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream. Its intense moisture hydrates skin while you sleep. It’s not only super-hydrating but it gets absorbed into your skin quickly and calms any redness in your skin.
Myth 2: Skincare products are supposed to burn
This is definitely not true. While some active ingredients like Vitamin C and Alfa/Beta hydroxy acids do leave you with a slight tingling sensation, if you apply a product and you can feel it burning you should remove the product straight away.
Myth 3: Moisturizing will stop the development of wrinkles
Unfortunately, this is not true. While using a moisturizer should be an essential part of your skincare routine and does make wrinkles less noticeable, it will not stop new wrinkles from developing.
Myth 4: Sunscreen is only for warm, sunny days
Also not true. You should apply sunscreen wherever you go outside, whether it be sunny or cloudy. Some believe you should even wear it indoors too. Apply it in the morning as part of your morning routine and again in the afternoon.
Myth 5: Retinol can’t be used on sensitive skin
This is a tricky one. Retinol products do vary in strength, so if you do have sensitive skin your best option would probably be over-the-counter cream. Start with a pea-sized amount and see how your responds.
Myth 6: Preparation H can get rid of puffy eye bags
This is not true. Hemorrhoid creams constrict blood vessels and are anti-inflammatory, so on the surface they can appear suitable for treating under eye bags too.
But these creams are not meant for use around the eye, and can be harmful if they get into your eyes. Plus, repeated use can cause the skin around the eyes to thin and become dry.
Myth 7: You shouldn’t wear make-up everyday
This, in fact, is not true! When it comes to skin issues, make-up isn’t the problem. Especially nowadays, when most make-up products are loaded with the same ingredients found in skincare products. It’s how you remove your make-up that can be problematic.
If make-up is not removed correctly it can clog your pores, while excessively rubbing at your eyes and using harsh dry cleansers dries out thin under-eye skin and increases wrinkle development.
Myth 8: Drinking water stops your skin becoming dry
This is not true. Water isn’t responsible for keeping your skin moist, oil is. But while drinking water is beneficial to other parts of your body, it doesn’t make your skin less dry.
While there isn’t a magical fix to crepey skin that doesn’t involve surgery, hydration is certainly the best way to minimize the appearance of crepey skin and is the best way to keep your skin healthy.