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When on the hunt for the very best eye creams, you kind of have to play Goldilocks. It can't be too thick or too subtle—it has to be just right. Eye creams that are too emollient wreak havoc on thin, impressionable under-eye skin, which can lead to milia (tiny cysts underneath the skin), and creams that aren't moisturizing enough are just kind of… there. But because there's seemingly a new "best" eye cream (or serum or gel) popping up every day, it's hard to test every single formula to find the ones that truly work.
Instead of sifting through endless piles of bottles and tubes, we went straight to a few dermatologists (they know a thing or two about skincare, after all) to find out which products they use on themselves for bright, taut under eyes. As it turns out, many of their tried-and-true formulas are fairly under the radar.
Take a look at the best eye creams on the market, according to top dermatologists below.
Dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skincare, says this is the best of the best eye cream. It's ideal for thinning skin, which increases the visibility of underlying blood vessels, causing dark circles. "It contains peptides to help stimulate a bit of collagen but isn't too drying."
Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology, recommends this cream because it "contains a blend of retinol and vitamin B3 in a creamy formula to address both the fine lines and dullness that we see with aging."
For those who might not be able to tolerate the retinol ingredient due to some dryness or irritation, she also says, "I like Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream which has amino peptides instead of retinol in a similar formula."
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring antioxidant that can be found in the skin of grapes, peanuts, all berries, and even dark chocolate. It's part of a group of compounds called polyphenols which act as key antioxidants, serving on the front lines to protect the cells against damage that leads to cellular aging.
"This natural eye balm is powered by a patent combining vine resveratrol with hyaluronic acid for an age-reversing effect," explains dermatologist Karen Hammerman, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "Formulated with advanced peptides and an anti-puffiness plant complex, this eye balm helps lift the skin of the eyelids, reduce puffiness and dark circles, and smooth the appearance of wrinkles. The texture is silky and melts into skin without the use of synthetic emulsifiers, and it works especially well under makeup."
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin and an oil often found in anti-oxidant blend topicals or moisturizers. It also help soothe the skin and protects the lipid barrier.
"This is one of the best eye creams because it works through multiple pathways to visibly diminish the look of dark under-eye circles, reduce the appearance of puffiness and smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles," says Hammerman. "Vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, and green tea extract in this anti-aging cream work together to brighten dark circles and minimize under-eye puffiness. Sodium hyaluronate deeply hydrates and calms irritation, while peptides smooth stubborn fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains additional antioxidants for more anti-aging benefits."
"Filled with peptides, goji fruit, and vitamin C, I find this is great for fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness," says Melissa Doft, MD, of Doft Plastic Surgery.
Put simply, Doft says this is a "hydrating lotion that decreases dark circles and puffiness." It'll cost you a pretty penny, but one customer swears it's worth the price tag: "I am always looking for the 'fountain of youth' in a cream—this is the closest to that I have found."
Dr. Caroline Robinson of Tone Dermatology also recommends this serum, praising it for its effective ingredients. She says, "[this serum] contains niacinamide and plankton extract to address under eye hyperpigmentation. Epara means 'to cocoon oneself' in the Nigerian dialect of Ebira, and this line of luxury science-based products is something that is needed now more than ever. As a Nigerian-American and dermatologist, I was delighted when I recently discovered this product."
While it's a bit more of a color corrector than your typical eye cream, Tanzi says this is a good staple formula for camouflaging dark circles. While one of its main functions is to conceal, it's a hybrid treatment that's clinically proven to visibly lighten dark circles by 30% in 12 weeks.
"This is a personal favorite because of the time-released retinol, which has been proven to help build up your own collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time," says dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD. "This is ideal for someone who struggles when applying makeup under their eyes due to it caking within the fine lines."
"This Nia24 eye cream is a great treatment, especially after a long night out," says Idriss. "It's caffeine content helps to de-puff the under eyes, while the combination of vitamin C, licorice, and white birch help to brighten up the dark circles. I personally apply this first before any primers or concealers, as it offers an opaque luminescent sheen that instantly lightens you up."
"It's one of my longtime favorites," beams dermatologist Julie Russak, MD. "This is a silky formulation that comes in a balm texture, perfect for the delicate eye area. Not only does this eye cream reduce the appearance of crow's feet and wrinkles, but it also helps to combat advanced glycation end products, a major factor in the aging process. SkinCeuticals's science is always impressive."
"Known for its honeysuckle and peony extracts, Tatcha's eye cream will give your skin that extra boost of energy that it needs," says Russak. "Ideal for all skin types, this eye cream will visibly diminish lines along with offering powerful anti-aging benefits. It's great for sensitive skin, as it's nonirritating."
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) making them plump.
Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd formulated this eye cream with melanin-rich skin in mind, expressing, "I created Specific Beauty to restore the beautiful, radiant, glowing skin that you were born with," making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to safely and effectively even their complexion. This eye cream uses hyaluronic acid and green tea extract to target dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles, with results that deliver. Users say it noticeably lightens under-eye circles.