The eyes can tell you a great deal about a person. They reflect your mood and emotions, while also reflecting your age (and wisdom!) by way of fine lines and wrinkles. But, what are the causes of under-eye wrinkles, and how can you prevent them from appearing prematurely?

Read on for answers to some of the most common questions, helping you find the best treatments for under-eye wrinkles.

Causes of Wrinkles Under the Eyes

Fine lines and deeper under-eye wrinkles are signs of age that occur through intrinsic and extrinsic aging. Extrinsic aging is affected by your lifestyle and environment, such as smoking, cumulative sun exposure, and free radical damage caused by aggressors such as pollution. Intrinsic aging, on the other hand, depends on your genes and the body's natural aging process that causes a natural reduction in collagen and elastin in the skin. If your parents live a lifestyle similar to yours, their experience will be a good indication of how you may look as you get older.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Prevention, as they say, is always better than the cure, and the most effective way to avoid premature aging under the eyes is by using broad-spectrum sun protection daily. This simple but often overlooked step combats skin aging and under-eye wrinkles by defending the dermis against free radicals in the environment that, over time, damage the skin's cellular DNA, reducing structural proteins such as collagen and elastin that keep the dermis looking firm. This is why Dermatologists recommend a daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, such as EltaMD's UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40. Apply it as the last step in your morning skin care routine to ensure the skin on your face, neck, and hands are adequately protected.

Topical Treatments for Under-Eye Wrinkles

If you already have pre-existing fine lines and wrinkles under your eyes, you can help to reduce their appearance with targeted skin care. Most eye creams work by hydrating the delicate skin around the eye with ingredients such as the humectant hyaluronic acid and peptides that support the skin's natural matrix.

When applying topical eye cream, it's advisable to use just a small amount of product, gently dabbing around the eye contour with your ring finger. Take care not to pull or drag the skin. With regular use, fine lines and wrinkles should look less defined and the surrounding skin should appear smoother.

Additionally, topical skin treatments such as retinol, which accelerate the skin's renewal process, can be an effective way of reducing the appearance of under-eye wrinkles. An active ingredient like retinol, however, does make the skin more photosensitive, so it should always be used in the evening and in conjunction with a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen the following day.

Calling in the Pros

A Dermatologist or licensed aesthetician can be a great resource if you're committed to ironing out those fine lines.

One of the most popular and well-known professional treatments for under-eye wrinkles is botulinum toxin, a naturally occurring substance that is injected directly into the muscles of the face. This procedure is usually carried out with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid that are very effective at filling in wrinkles and supporting the skin's structure, creating a "plumped up" appearance.

Additionally, chemical peels that use acids to exfoliate the top layer of the skin and microneedling that pricks the skin in order to stimulate collagen and create smoother skin can help to reduce the appearance of under-eye wrinkles. Further, laser treatments resurface and rejuvenate the skin while removing fine lines and targeting other concerns such as scarring and hyperpigmentation. These types of treatment, however, must always be carried out by a certified Dermatologist or skin specialist after a thorough consultation.

Finding the Right Treatment for You

Now that you know a little more about the causes and treatments for wrinkles under the eyes, you can find the right course of action for you—whether that's applying daily broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent signs of aging from appearing prematurely, introducing a targeted skin care product to your everyday routine, or speaking to a Dermatologist about managing more defined lines and wrinkles with a professional treatment.


  • Catherine Hufton

    Catherine Hufton is a UK-based freelance journalist and writer who has worked for some of fashion's most iconic companies and written for the world's best known magazines and newspapers. Beginning her career at Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion over 12 years ago, she has created content for L'Oréal, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, The Telegraph and more.

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