Let's get one thing straight: Dark circles and under-eye bags can be mutually exclusive. To clarify, dark circles are the result of discoloration, which can be caused by a number of factors such as buildup of oxygenated blood underneath the skin, thin, translucent skin under the eyes making blood vessels in the area more apparent, and (those damn) genetics.
Bags, on the other hand, are physical swelling under the eyes that can be caused by fluid buildup from things like allergies, crying, a high-salt diet, and sleeping on your face. Aging is another culprit for baggage: Normal fat that helps support the eyes can move into the under-eye area over time, thus leading to puffiness. In a pinch, concealer can hide dark circles, but no amount of makeup can cover puffiness. That's where eye creams come in: Sadly, they won't rid the area of fat, but if fluid buildup is the cause of your bags, certain blends will help constrict tissue and reduce inflammation, no needles involved.
Barring in mind the no-needles treatments we're speaking of, it may seem counterintuitive to ask a plastic surgeon for their non-invasive recommendations. We know their expertise lies in nipping and tucking the skin to make 60-year-old under-eyes look like that of a 35-year-old's, but we'd argue their expansive range of knowledge for under-eye treatments means their eye cream recommendations would be anything but fluff—only the heavy-hitting, hard-working formulas. As such, we asked some top surgeons for their thoughts. Below, take a look at their favorite eye creams for puffiness.
Celebrity plastic surgeon John Diaz cites this fan-favorite as a quick fix. "Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream is a great option for de-puffing with its cooling tip and helps to improve the overall appearance in the under-eye area."
Diaz specially created this cream to help under-eyes age in reverse. "Honor MD's Refresh is my favorite eye cream that contains a mixture of peptides, plant extracts and vitamin E. Together, these active ingredients work to reduce dark circles, puffiness around the eyes, smooth lines, improve wrinkles, firm skin, improve skin tone and reduce inflammation."
Since the eye is such a sensitive area, it's understandable to take heed when choosing a cream to avoid irritation, but this Kiehl's variation is the answer to any concern. "This product has a great texture and essential oils to recover the delicate eye area overnight," says Diaz.
While not technically a cream, Ryan Neinstein, MD, of NYC Surgical Associates says this concentrate is something of a miracle worker. "My patients always turn to this solution from The Ordinary," he explains. "This light-textured formula contains an extremely high 5% concentration of caffeine, supplemented with highly purified Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (EGCG) from green tea leaves. Independent studies have shown that topical use of caffeine and EGCG can help reduce looks of puffiness and of dark circles in the eye contour."
"Skin Medica TNS Illuminating Eye Cream is a lightweight cream that is ideal for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, as well as reducing puffiness," explains Neinstein. "It’s formulated with anti-aging peptides which help to promote collagen regrowth, and therefore helps reduce puffiness around the eye area."
Even natural blends can de-puff with the best of them. Explains Neinstein, "This is a great natural eye cream option and is made up of potent ingredients like anti-aging vitamins, antioxidants and rosehip oil. Other ingredients like coffee and green tea, which are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and caffeine, help to noticeably de-puff the area around the eye."
Opening image: Imaxtree and Urban Outfitters Blog
Which eye cream have you found de-puffs the best? Please let us know in the comments!