under eye wrinkles

Under Eye Wrinkles: What Causes Them and How to Fix Them

If you’re in your mid-twenties to early thirties, you might be noticing the first signs of aging in the form of tiny under eye wrinkles. Don’t feel bad – many people discover fine lines under the eyes long before other parts of the face begin to wrinkle, and there are some easy ways to slow the wrinkling down. Depending on the cause of your undereye wrinkles, you might be able to reverse them altogether. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what causes under eye wrinkles to form, plus we’ll uncover some of the best methods for getting rid of wrinkles under the eyes.

What Causes Wrinkles Under the Eyes?

Take a close look at your face, and you’ll notice that the skin surrounding your eyes is thinner and far more delicate than the skin that covers the rest of your features. Making matters worse, this thin, fragile skin has no oil glands. The lack of natural moisture and the fragility of the skin in the eye area makes this area far more prone to wrinkling than the rest of your face. Let’s take a closer look at the causes of under eye wrinkles.

Dry Skin

Have you ever seen a piece of dehydrated fruit? Think about a raisin. It’s dry, leathery, and really, really wrinkled even though it began life as a plump, water-filled grape. Your skin has a lot in common with that raisin. Moisture inside the skin keeps every cell plump, so the overall appearance is smooth and firm. When that moisture evaporates, skin cells lose their volume. This causes wrinkles to appear, and it’s why your undereye wrinkles might sometimes look more prominent than usual.

Dirt and Pollution

Good hygiene always makes sense, but there’s one more reason to stick to a solid skincare regimen. Dirt and pollution can weigh down your skin and contribute to dryness, especially in the eye area.

Squinting

Squinting is the eye’s natural method for shielding itself from bright light. Not only do we squint to protect our vision, we squint when we can’t see well. Squinting once in a while won’t lead to serious wrinkling in the eye area, but constant squinting is among the main causes of wrinkles around the eyes. Sometimes it leads to deep grooves in the forehead as well.

Smoking

It has been said that smokers age faster than everyone else. There are a few reasons why smoking causes wrinkling, particularly in the eye area. First, smoke is a form of pollution that weighs down your skin and dries it out. Second, smoking is a repetitive action in which the same facial muscles are used over and over again. Most smokers squint their eyes while smoking, encouraging the formation of wrinkles throughout the entire eye area.  

The first two reasons why smokers’ skin ages faster are purely cosmetic. The next reason is scarier: Smoking reduces your skin’s blood supply and it robs you of vitamin A. Even worse, smoking causes lung disease and vascular disease. These two factors also contribute to accelerated aging in smokers.

Facial Expressions

Whenever you smile, frown, or laugh, the muscles in your face move around. There are 43 muscles in your face, and it’s likely that you use all of them each and every day. Because you probably make some expressions more often than others, certain expression lines show up earlier than the rest. Of all the wrinkles you’ll get over the course of your life, the eye wrinkles are among the most telling. Look at a person with lots of wrinkles in the eye area, and you’ll probably be able to tell whether they spent more time smiling or frowning!

Weight Loss

Losing just a little weight isn’t likely to cause undereye wrinkles, but if you experience a major weight loss, it’s likely that you’ll notice wrinkles under the eyes. These happen because the skin was stretched while you were carrying excess weight. In many cases, skin eventually bounces back if you take good care of it.

High Trans Fat Intake

If you’re eating margarine, shortening, and other foods that contain shelf-stable trans fats, you are contributing to overall inflammation in your body. Trans fats can also destroy your skin’s ability to remain hydrated, contributing to dry skin that makes undereye wrinkles look even worse.

Mechanical Damage

Physical manipulation of the skin under and around the eyes can accelerate wrinkling. If you tend to pull on your skin while applying makeup or washing your face, you’ll probably notice wrinkles earlier in life. If you have a tendency to sleep on one side of your face, you may notice more wrinkling on that side than on the other side, particularly around the eye area.

Too Much Alcohol

Sure, the occasional glass of wine can bring health benefits with it. But if you’re reaching for the bottle on a regular basis, it’s time to rethink your drinking habits. Not only does alcohol sap your body’s vitamin A supply, it can also contribute to high levels of free radicals that damage cells including those that make up the skin around your eyes.

Too Much Salt

We all need some salt in our diets, but too much can lead to dehydration and wrinkling. Over time, excess salt intake can contribute to high blood pressure, which is a factor in wrinkling as well as in heart disease.

Sun Damage

Many of us long for a golden glow but spending time in the sun can reduce skin elasticity and cause wrinkles, particularly around the eyes. The longer you spend in the sun without protection, the more likely you are to develop sun damaged skin under the eyes. Besides fine lines and crows’ feet, sun exposure can contribute to bags and give your eye area a tired, sagging appearance.

Lack of Sleep

You might think that reducing sleep is a good way to get more done. The truth is that sleeplessness contributes to wrinkling by altering the skin’s pH and preventing skin cells from retaining moisture. If you’re chronically sleep deprived, then it’s probably contributing to the lines you see under your eyes.

Stress

We all know that stress can wreak havoc on our mental health, but most of us aren’t aware that stress contributes to wrinkles. The stress hormone cortisol is to blame here, as it reduces skin’s ability to retain moisture.

Opting Out of Organic Foods

Sure, conventional foods are often cheaper, and they contain the nutrients you need. But all too often, skipping organic food means adding to your body’s accumulated load of toxins from pesticides, herbicides, and other substances. These can disrupt your hormone signaling later in life, leading to inflammation and accelerating the aging process. It’s worth noting that this is not a major cause of eye wrinkles; it’s simply something to be aware of.

Eating Too Much Sugar

You know that excess sugar intake can wreak havoc on your waistline. Here’s one more reason to watch your sugar intake. Eating too much sugar can age your skin thanks to a process called glycation, in which the sugar binds to proteins including collagen and elastin. The glycation process weakens collagen and elastin, plus it produces toxic byproducts. If you’re eating lots of sweets and drinking a ton of soda, you’re not doing your skin any favors.

High Blood Sugar

If you tend to eat a lot of carbs, spike your blood sugar, and then crash into a carb coma later, you’re damaging your skin as well as your internal organs. When blood sugar is elevated, the collagen and elastin fibers that support your skin are damaged. This can lead to sagging, and it can cause wrinkles under eyes and elsewhere.

How to Get Rid of Wrinkles Under Eyes

While most people get lines under their eyes eventually, there are plenty of methods for delaying the visible signs of aging or even stopping wrinkles in their tracks.

Lifestyle Factors  

Before we delve deeper into methods for getting rid of wrinkles under eyes, let’s take a look at some important preventatives that can also help reverse some of those lines or prevent them from forming altogether. Many of these natural wrinkle prevention tactics will help the rest of your body, too.

  • Stay hydrated! Try to drink one ounce of water per pound of body weight. That’s 100 ounces if you weight 100 pounds, 150 ounces if you weigh 150 pounds, and so forth.
  • Moisturize. Use a quality moisturizer intended for the eye area. Be sure to moisturize at least twice per day.
  • Be gentle with skin around the eyes. Pat products on instead of wiping, and never pull on your eyelids when you’re applying cosmetics.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Get your eyes examined and wear corrective lenses if you need them.
  • Try to focus on eating lots of organic vegetables and fruits.
  • Limit sugary and salty foods.
  • Watch out for carbohydrates. You don’t have to go keto, but your skin will thank you if you stick to a plan without tons of high-carb food.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. Try to have no more than a few drinks per week.
  • Notice if you make certain facial expressions a lot. Try to maintain a more neutral expression, at least when you’re not interacting with others.
  • Pay attention to your stress level. Mediate, get some exercise, and try to minimize exposure to stressors.
  • Sleep for at least 6 hours each night. You’ll look even better if you get 8 to 9 hours of beauty sleep!
  • Wear sunscreen. Make a habit of applying facial sunscreen and as the years pass, you’ll probably notice that you look a bit younger than your peers, with fewer lines under eyes and around other parts of your face.

Cosmetic Treatments for Under Eye Wrinkles

Many of the best methods for eliminating fine lines under eyes weren’t available to our grandmothers, so they often relied on natural wrinkle remedies instead. We can experience the best of both worlds! You can mix and match as many under eye wrinkle treatments as you like to determine what’s best for your skin. Dermatologists recommend combining treatments that relax the muscles in the eye area, replace lost volume, and strengthen the skin’s foundation.  

Natural and DIY Remedies for Under Eye Wrinkles

Cucumber Slices

Simply placing cucumber slices over your eyes can add hydration, so feel free to give this method a try when you have half an hour to relax with your eyes closed.

Honey

Believe it or not, honey makes an effective under eye wrinkle treatment. While the effects aren’t permanent, honey delivers moisture and nutrients, while the sugar it contains acts as a mild exfoliant. If you decide to try honey for under eye wrinkles, simply apply a pea-sized amount under each eye, let it rest for about 10 minutes, and then very gently rinse it off with warm water. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer. Please note that you shouldn’t treat undereye wrinkles with honey if you are allergic to honey or bees.

Pineapple

Fresh pineapple is delicious, and it’s high in vitamin C that can help reduce undereye wrinkles. Simply apply a little bit of pineapple juice to your under eye area, leave it in place for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water. Be sure to repeat the treatment frequently for best results.

Coconut Oil

If you’re on a budget or you’d like to try a natural method for moisturizing the eye area, coconut oil might work wonders for you. Use just a tiny dab under each eye, once or twice daily. Leave the coconut oil in place so that it can be fully absorbed. This is one of the best natural home remedies for wrinkles under the eyes as it’s so easy to do each day.

Yogurt

Since yogurt contain lactic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid, it gently exfoliates skin while delivering a dose of moisture. Spread a small amount under each eye, allow it to sit for ten minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water.

Aloe Vera

If you’re looking for a natural wrinkle remedy that plays nice with cosmetics, you’ll probably like aloe vera gel. Deeply hydrating, it offers vitamins C and E, and it also contains beta-carotene. Apply a small amount to the area under each eye and allow it to absorb before applying other products. You might want to try using aloe vera in the morning and coconut oil at night.

Best Beauty Products for Under Eye Wrinkles

Topical Creams & Eye Masks

Eye masks usually work by deeply hydrating the skin under your eyes, temporarily reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Since most of us find it impractical to use masks twice a day, these are best for those times when you want to treat yourself to some extra TLC.

Under eye creams are ideal for daily use. Most of them contain rejuvenating ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, and vitamin C. Be sure to choose products meant for the under eye area since products intended for other parts of the face might be too harsh for sensitive undereye skin. Here’s what you need to know about the most popular active ingredients in eye creams.

Alpha-hydroxy Acids

Thanks to its ability to smooth fine lines, many skin care products contain alpha-hydroxy acid. If you opt for a product that contains this ingredient, be extra-careful to protect your skin from the sun. Since alpha-hydroxy acids can increase sun sensitivity, you run a greater risk of sunburn and increased sun damage with overexposure.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in your body: In fact, your skin cells produce it! As time goes by, though, your skin might need a little help, which is where products that contain hyaluronic acid step in. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin stay hydrated, which in turn helps even out the look of fine lines under eyes while also improving skin’s tone and texture.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a natural exfoliator that gently removes dead skin cells that can make fine lines under the eyes look deeper and harsher than they actually are. Products that contain glycolic acid tend to make your whole eye area look brighter and a bit more youthful.

Vitamin C

Many cosmetic products contain vitamin C, which softens fine lines under eyes and elsewhere on the face. Be sure to choose products that are made specifically for the eye area, as they are least likely to cause irritation.

Retinol

Topical treatments for undereye wrinkles often contain retinol, which contains high levels of vitamin A and works by stimulating collagen production. Because retinol can increase sensitivity to sun, it’s vital to keep treated skin out of direct sunlight.

Tretinoin

Like retinol, tretinoin contains vitamin A. This topical under eye wrinkle cream is available by prescription only, as it is much stronger than retinol.

Best Eye Creams for Under Eye Wrinkles

A visit to the drugstore or a quick search online reveals countless eye creams, each promising to help you get rid of wrinkles under the eyes. Here are five favorites to put on your shortlist.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream delivers a boost of antioxidants with eyebright. Hyaluronic acid and aloe vera combine to keep delicate skin hydrated, and safflower seed oil seals in moisture while simultaneously smoothing and softening the skin around your eyes. Reviewers like Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream for its light, fluffy texture and its ability to deliver deep hydration. Some mention that it diminishes fine lines while others note that it helps reduce the appearance of bags under their eyes and make the entire eye area look brighter. Some people with sensitive skin found that this eye cream caused a reaction.

TruSkin Naturals Eye Gel

With a blend of botanically-derived silk amino acids, steam-distilled cucumber hydrosol, and advanced peptides, TruSkin Naturals Eye Gel also contains plant stem cells, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and other beneficial ingredients. This product is designed to smooth fine lines and wrinkles while addressing other issues including crows feet, puffiness, and dark circles. A quick look at TruSkin Naturals Eye Gel reviews shows that many reviewers notice visible improvement over time. Not only are they pleased with the light, cool feel of the gel on their skin, they often mention that this product helps eliminate dark circles, puffiness, and under eye lines. A few mention that the product comes with a warning that it can cause itching and swelling in people who have seasonal allergies.

Organys Spark Rejuvenating Eye Formula

Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and nourishing anti-wrinkle peptides help Organys Spark Rejuvenating Eye Formula pamper skin and help smooth out under eye wrinkles over time. It’s designed to lift and tighten while filling fine lines and reducing other common issues including bags under the eyes. While there’s no such thing as the perfect eye cream for everyone, reviewers are overwhelmingly pleased with Organys Spark Rejuvenating Eye Formula. Many mention that it works wonders on puffiness and dark circles as well as reducing wrinkles. A few note that the product didn’t work well for them, but mention taking advantage of the company’s generous return policy.

LilyAna Naturals Rosehip & Hibiscus Eye Cream

LilyAna Naturals Rosehip & Hibiscus Eye Cream helps regenerate skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while deeply hydrating the under eye area. It is suitable for dry, oily, and combination skin types. A quick check of LilyAna Naturals Rosehip & Hibiscus Eye Cream reviews shows that customers are often thrilled with the difference they see in their skin, often posting before and after photos of their results. Some mention that it wasn’t a good fit for sensitive skin.

RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream

With vitamin A and hyaluronic acid, RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream helps fight fine lines. It is ophthalmologist-tested for safety in the eye area, and it is gentle enough for sensitive skin. This product has been dermatologist tested and shown to reduce eye wrinkles after 12 weeks of consistent use. Customer reviews of RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream sometimes mention a stinging sensation on sensitive skin, however most reviewers note that the product visibly reduces under eye wrinkles, sometimes faster than advertised.

Cosmetic Procedures for Under Eye Wrinkles

Botox

Botox relaxes the muscles that form expression lines, smoothing the overall look of the skin. Botox injections aren’t permanent. They last for an average of four to six months before repeat treatments are required. In some cases, Botox is combined with other cosmetic treatments to rejuvenate skin and greatly reduce under eye wrinkles.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion targets the upper layers of skin, removing dead skin cells to reveal fresh skin beneath. It also boosts collagen production, and when used alongside a topical anti-wrinkle eye cream and lifestyle changes, you’re likely to enjoy good results. Side effects tend to be mild, and results can last for up to a year. This treatment is best for superficial wrinkles; it doesn’t work well on deeper ones.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels aren’t for everyone, as they can be painful, and as they can cause color changes on darker skin. If your dermatologist recommends this treatment, you will be presented with options that range from low-level peels that heal quickly to deep chemical peels that can take several weeks to heal up.

Dermal Fillers

If you have under eye wrinkles, bags under your eyes, or dark circles under your eyes, tear trough filler treatment is likely to lead to a dramatic improvement in your appearance. Dermal filler treatment similar products with Restylane and is non-surgical, but it acts like a mild eye lift. The effect up to a year, after which you can return for another treatment if you like.

Laser Treatment

Laser wrinkle removal works quickly, removing fine under eye lines along with other superficial wrinkles by resurfacing the skin. This option isn’t for everyone. Your dermatologist will be able to tell you whether it’s a good way to get rid of under eye wrinkles in your specific case.

Fat Injections

If repeated dermal filler treatments aren’t for you, talk to your dermatologist about fat injections. This is a little more invasive as it involves removing fat from the thigh area and injecting it to the undereye area, however it restores lost volume quickly and works wonders on under eye wrinkles.

Surgical Lower Eye Lift

If you have severe under eye wrinkles, gentler approaches aren’t likely to produce the desired restorative effect. A lower eyelid surgery involves removing extra skin and fat from the undereye area, which tightens that portion of the face for a completely rejuvenated appearance. Fat injections are sometimes part of this procedure.

If you’re being treated by a cosmetic surgeon or visiting a salon or medical spa, be sure to follow instructions for aftercare, and ask if other treatments you’re using are ok to continue. With careful attention and some simple, healthy lifestyle changes, you should notice that it’s possible to reduce under eye wrinkles and regain a more youthful appearance.