Here’s everything you need to know – according to skin experts

With 22 muscles in endless motion and around 10,000 blinks per day, the skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of ageing. The combination of fine lines and wrinkles, eye bags and dark circles and puffiness that many of us experience can make it confusing when it comes to the active ingredients to include in our skincare routine – especially as changes related to ageing become more established in your 50s.

If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve got you covered. We asked the skincare experts for their top tips about what to look for in your ingredients label and application dos and don’ts to help with a range of common concerns.

Why does the skin around the eyes age fastest?

"Aside from the mechanics, the skin around the eye contour is fragile and much thinner than the skin on our face," explains Noella Gabriel, global president of ELEMIS.

It can also be more susceptible to dry skin. "It has fewer oil glands and the moisture barrier of the skin is often weaker, meaning it doesn’t have the ability to remain hydrated," says Noella. "Ageing plays a role in changing the appearance around the eyes – as collagen begins to decrease, the skin becomes more fragile and lifestyle factors such as stress, sun exposure and pollution are all added aggressors."

What changes generally happen in the eye area in your 50s?

"Over time, you may notice that the eye area becomes more prone to dark circles and puffiness. This can be a result of many things: ageing, lifestyle, and stress can all lead to their development," says Dr Daniel Ezra, consultant at the Adnexal Department at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

"When the collagen around this area breaks down, bluish veins can become more prominent. On top of this, the eye tissue weakens over time, and this can cause the fat in the upper eyelids to droop and cause the puffiness we see," says aesthetic practitioner and nurse, Natali Kelly.

"Our cheek fat pads can also deflate and descend and move downwards. This can further accentuate hollowness under the eyes," she adds.

Can I use my face moisturiser as an eye cream?

Dr Derrick Phillips, a consultant dermatologist explains: "During the current financial crisis, at a pinch you can use whatever moisturiser you’re using on the rest of your face to treat the eye area; it will effectively moisturise the skin, but eye creams typically differ from facial moisturisers in a few ways."

How is eye cream different from face cream? Firstly, its texture. "The skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face, so eye creams are formulated to be lighter and less greasy," Dr Phillips tells us. In this way, they’re more easily absorbed.

Next, their ingredients labels. "Eye creams are formulated to be extra mild since the area around the eye is particularly sensitive to irritation," Dr Phillips highlights. "This generally means that eye creams are formulated without common irritants, such as fragrance and should also be ophthalmologist tested, meaning the product has been specifically tested to be safe around the eyes."

What is the best eye cream for over 50 skin?

For reducing dark circles and hyperpigmentation, Dr Ezra recommends focusing on products that contain ingredients that aim to help brighten the skin, like "arbutin, kojic acid, vitamin C, azelaic acid and niacinamide."

The remedy for puffy eyes can be as easy as having enough sleep and drinking plenty of water throughout the day, however, for that extra skincare boost, include ingredients such as caffeine-based products, green tea, dipeptide-2 and willow herb – these can all help to depuff the area, as well as smooth and calm.

Hydration is also key. "When skin is hydrated, it can appear more plumped, and over time will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," says Natali.

"When you purchase an eye cream, always ensure to check the ingredients first; our eyes are very sensitive, so choosing one that works for your skin type is important," she continues.

For a more lifted appearance, Natali recommends trying a more potent ingredient that stimulates collagen production. Her top picks include retinol, other retinoids and peptides.

How should you apply eye cream for best results?

"I’d recommend using an eye cream morning and evening after your cleansing routine – using the ring finger as it has the lightest touch, meaning there’s less pressure on this delicate eye area," says Noella.

"When it comes to eye cream, a little goes a long way. If you apply copious amounts to the skin, it can potentially cause congestion," Dr Phillips warns. "Applying a small amount on your finger and dotting it around the orbital bone is advised, ensuring you work it in from the inner to outer corners of the eye and ensuring it doesn’t build up by the tear duct."

Puffy eyes? Try teaming your eye cream with a bit of under-eye massage. "Using a tool, such as an eye roller, can help gently push the ingredients into the skin as well as cooling the area and stimulate lymphatic drainage to reduce puffiness in the area," Natali explains.

7 of the best eye creams for your 50s available at Boots

Whether you’re looking for an eye cream to reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness, fine lines or wrinkles, or ways to support your skin barrier, there’s a formula for you. Here are seven of Team Boots' top picks.

Shop more brilliant eye creams in our full range.

Best for signs of tiredness

Try: Elemis Pro-Collagen Vitality Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

This luxurious cream was clinically proven in independent trials* to reduce the look of dark circles and fatigue, for a visibly lifted appearance. Its cooling formula cocoons the delicate, thinner skin around the eyes to replenish, firm and brighten the eye contour.

Best for a botanical powerhouse

Try: Liz Earle Superskin Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

With the classic formula recently transferred to a protective, fully recyclable jar, this eye cream seeks to protect both its potent contents and the planet. Formulated to help lift and firm, and brighten the appearance of dark circles, its botanical blend of paracress flower extract, pomegranate fruit, green tea, alfalfa and trio of nourishing plant oils also hydrates and smoothes.

Best for hydration

Try: Boots Skin Edit Moisturising Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

• Suitable for vegans

This clever formula specifically targets the key signs of menopausal skin. Fast absorbing and suitable for all skin types, this hydrating eye cream quenches and reduces the appearance of puffiness around the eye area.

Best for an all rounder

Try: No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

This triple-action cream targets three of the key signs of ageing to give you the appearance of visibly reduced wrinkles, firmer feeling skin and a more even-looking skin tone. With cosseting shea butter and hyaluronic acid, an antioxidant complex and ginseng extract to help brighten dullness, it’s a powerhouse of healthy-skin goodies.

Best for strengthening

Try: Clinique Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

• Safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers

• Ophthalmologist tested

• Fragrance-free

Give delicate under-eye skin a boost with this eye cream designed to help it feel smoother, stronger and more resilient. As well as helping reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and crepiness, its range of ‘free froms’ make it a good choice for those with sensitive eyes, too.

Best for wrinkles

Try: Olay Eyes Retinol24 Night Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

The scientists at Olay designed this powerful retinol eye cream specifically for the night when skin is most receptive to skincare and its transformative ingredients. The proprietary blend combines niacinamide (vitamin B3) and a retinoid complex to help smooth fine lines and even out skin texture while you sleep.

Best for brightening

Try: Vichy Laboratoires Neovadiol Rose Platinum Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

• Suitable for sensitive skin

Designed for mature skin, 72% of women agreed the eye cream smoothed wrinkles’ appearance instantly**. Formulated with rose extracts to restore radiance and luminosity, its subtle colour correction gives skin a rosy hue.

Discover more top eye creams in our full range.

*Independent Clinical Trials 2021

**Self-assessment, 50 subjects

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