Many of us have had the experience of noticing unsightly (and unwelcome) new wrinkles around our eyes. While we may instinctively know that this is part of the natural aging process, we may still wonder what causes wrinkles under eyes, and is there anything we can do?
The good news is that this topic has been extensively researched and yes, there is plenty that can be done about under eye wrinkling.
What Causes Wrinkles Under Eyes?
Natural Loss Of Collagen
As much as you may wish them away, wrinkles under eyes naturally appear with age. This has less to do with years of squinting (although facial expressions do play a role) and more to do with physiological changes that happen in your skin.
One of the most impactful changes that comes with age is the level of collagen in your skin. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body, and in many respects, it’s the “glue” that holds your body together.
Starting around the age of 25, collagen production starts to slow down. Around the age of 60, many people experience a considerable decline in their body’s collagen. This lack of collagen can cause changes in your skin’s texture, which can lead to wrinkles.1,2
Dehydrated skin lacks water. This happens when the skin is losing more water than it is bringing in. This can be the result of natural aging, the environment, weather, drying skin care ingredients, and your diet. When your skin lacks moisture, the texture will suffer. Fine lines and wrinkles under your eyes will become more apparent.3
Sun exposure is one of the most common causes of under eye wrinkling. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can form free radicals in your skin, which can break down elastin fibers. Sun damage can lead to wrinkles under eyes.4,5
Lines under eyes and around the corners of eyes (crow’s feet) can develop after many years of expressions, like smiling and squinting. When we’re young, our skin folds temporarily and then bounces right back. Mature skin, which tends to have less collagen and elastin in it, may hold on to the wrinkles formed by these expressions.6,7
Smoking And Vaping
Smoking and vaping can cause wrinkles under and around your eyes for a few reasons. Tobacco smoke can impair your production of collagen, something your skin needs to maintain a firm, bouncy texture. Smoking and vaping can also create free radicals, which can lead to wrinkles. Smoking can also lead to thicker, less elastic skin.8,9
Environmental factors are also known to cause wrinkles. Air pollution in urban areas, which often comes from traffic, may contain toxic particles that can harm the skin. These particles have an irritating effect and can cause sunspots, uneven pigmentation, and wrinkles.10
Small Habits That Add Up
Anything that causes your eye skin to scrunch up can lead to wrinkles over time. Things that seem minor, like rubbing your eyes or sleeping face down on your pillow, can accumulate into wrinkles down the road.11
How To Deal With Under Eye Wrinkles
While all of these causes of eye wrinkles might be concerning, here’s the good news: there’s a lot you can do to address and prevent the appearance of wrinkles.
Choose A Cream Or Serum With The Right Ingredients
When it comes to wrinkle creams, eye creams, and serums, ingredients make all the difference. If you’re shopping for a topical solution, look for one that contains one of these recommended ingredients.
Hyaluronic acid can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water. As a humectant, it can draw water molecules in from the environment and hold them within the skin. This helps keep skin hydrated, leading to smooth, plump skin.12
Beloved by many dermatologists, retinol supports natural cell renewal, circulation, and collagen production. It can also help skin retain water. These things can all improve skin’s texture, hydration, and the appearance of wrinkles.13
Argireline is a cutting-edge peptide that quickly “freezes” the surface of your skin, smoothing out wrinkles and giving that instant gratification.14
Anything that can support collagen renewal in your skin is going to help promote a firm, youthful texture to your skin. Palmitoyl peptides have been shown to support collagen levels, which can smooth the appearance of wrinkles.15
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Exfoliating helps your skin renew itself and can lead to a more radiant, youthful appearance. Exfoliating can also help your wrinkle creams and serums penetrate your skin so they are more effective.16
Try A Skin Supplement
Since many causes of wrinkled skin are internal, like loss of collagen and dehydration, it makes sense to address these issues from the inside out. A skin supplement that contains beneficial ingredients like hydrolyzed collagen, MSM, and vitamin B can help combat the causes of dermal breakdown and give you firmer, more lifted skin.
Give Yourself a Facial Massage
Gua sha, a traditional Chinese facial massage, may be an effective way to approach wrinkles. Gua sha stimulates blood circulation, which may help support your body’s collagen production. Facial massage has also been shown to release tension in your muscles, which may help smooth the appearance of wrinkles.17,18
Find a tutorial online, and try it yourself for a few minutes every other day. You may love the results.
Apply An Eye Mask
Gel or serum-infused patches can be a great way to deliver anti-aging ingredients directly to your under-eye area. The right eye mask can minimize the appearance of dark circles and smooth the look of stubborn fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet.
Consult a Professional
If you’re concerned about wrinkles under your eyes, schedule a facial or make an appointment with your dermatologist. Getting specialized advice on your unique situation may really help.
Focus On Prevention
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s never too late to prevent new wrinkles from forming. Start now. You’ll thank yourself down the road.
You wear sunscreen, right? Wearing SPF consistently is one of the easiest and most effective ways to slow down the signs of aging.19
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your diet directly affects your skin. Foods that are high in vitamins and antioxidants, like salmon and avocados, may help support skin elasticity and prevent premature aging.20
Adopt Good Habits
Little habits, like sleeping on your back, quitting smoking, and remembering to relax your face, can add up to big changes. Be mindful of your habits. Learn about what causes wrinkles under eyes, and try to make some lifestyle changes if you can.21
Invest In A Quality Skincare Routine
If you’re ready to get serious about wrinkle prevention, you’ll want to step up and invest in a quality skincare routine. Consistent use of topical creams and serums can help lessen the appearance of wrinkles, but you want to make sure you’re using effective ingredients and products. Do a little bit of research, and ask your dermatologist for product recommendations.
And then, once you have your go-to products, be sure to create a consistent routine.
Bye Bye, Wrinkles
The eye area is often the first place that we notice wrinkles. If you’re starting to see more lines that you’re comfortable with, it’s a great time to make some changes that can potentially benefit your skin. The good thing is, there are so many actions you can take to stop wrinkles in their tracks and to prevent more from popping up. The best time to tackle your wrinkles is right now.
-19 Surprising Ways You’re Giving Yourself Wrinkles
-Here’s How To Properly Care For Delicate Skin Around The Eyes
-Effects And Signs Of Aging Skin