Under Eye Wrinkles

September 3, 2020
Updated: December 17, 2021
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The eyes are said to be the gateways to the soul, and they certainly are the first place we look for emotional cues from each other. Excess wrinkles under our eyes can give the impression of being tired, stressed, or even older than we actually are. There are a few steps you can take to help reduce wrinkles and bags under your eyes.


”The single most important thing to remember when trying to maintain youthful skin is the daily application of sunscreen. It can help prevent wrinkles.” (NIH.gov)


What Causes Under-Eye Wrinkles?

Wrinkles on your face, especially under your eyes, are known as a sign of aging. But wrinkles, face lines, and sagging skin can be caused by various types of damage, not just the passage of time.

Your skin is held firm and made flexible by strong, elastic proteins such as collagen. As you age, your skin cells are less able to replenish the collagen and other proteins that hold your skin together. Harmful agents you are exposed to every day can increase the rate that these proteins break down. These include:

  • UV rays (sunlight)
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Pollutants and other chemicals
  • Dryness or loss of skin hydration
  • Inflammation

Inflammation can occur as a reaction to other types of skin damage. It can also be a result of a number of different skin conditions, such as:

  • Eczema
  • Infection (bacteria, viruses, mites, fungi, etc.)
  • Allergies (dermatitis)
  • Acne
  • Poor diet
  • Chronic illnesses


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Get Plenty of Sleep

Baggy eyes and dark circles are well-known signs of being tired. Sleep deprivation can lead to several unflattering symptoms, including:1

  • Dark circles
  • Inflamed eyelids
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

Inflammation itself can further contribute to under-eye wrinkles. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep every night so you feel well-rested, and your eyes will perk up.

Sleep: Ambient Music Therapy CD

Protect Yourself from the Sun

UV rays, both UVA and UVB, can break down skin proteins and trigger an inflammatory reaction. When you sustain a sunburn, reactive oxygen species are created which can further damage your skin cells and support structures.2 If you are going out into the sun, wear sunglasses or a broad-brimmed hat to shield your eyes and use a zinc or titanium-based sunscreen on your face. If you do get a sunburn, use an after-sun lotion to help manage the resulting inflammation.



Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 Fragrance Free

Moisturize with a Gentle Lotion

Proper hydration keeps your skin healthy and flexible. Loss of your skin’s moisture barrier can lead to damage to your skin’s proteins. This in turn can cause skin reactions like dermatitis and flaky skin, and can make wrinkles around your eyes worse. Improving your skin’s moisture content with a moisturizing cream or lotion can reduce wrinkles around your eyes.3

The skin around your eyes is especially thin and sensitive. Make sure you use a moisturizer that is intended for face use, and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or ingredients that can clog pores and cause acne.

Recommended: Clean beauty brand Tata Harper Moisturizer


Natural Ingredients that Fight Inflammation and Oxidation

Antioxidants are essential in the fight against skin aging. They remove oxygen radicals that can cause damage and inflammation. Other ingredients reduce inflammatory biomarkers. Anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants can be taken orally as supplements or included in topical skin care products like facial moisturizers and cleansers.


Clinical Anti-Wrinkle Services

Dermatology clinics and some spas offer some anti-wrinkle services that can be more effective than standard home-care options. These are typically more invasive techniques or use medications that need to be regulated by medical professionals.

Clinical services you can use to reduce under-eye wrinkles include:

  • Hyaluronic acid (HA) or collagen injections8, 9
    • Plumps up skin and promotes new skin growth
  • Botox injections10
    • Uses a low-dose neurotoxin to paralyze muscles under your eyelids
  • Microdermabrasion
    • Sands down top layer of skin to smooth and promote new skin growth
  • Microneedling
    • Typically uses longer needles than home-use dermarollers
    • Sometimes also involves applying growth factors afterwards
  • Platelet-rich plasma injection11
  • Intense focused ultrasound treatment12
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Cosmetic surgery13
Microderm GLO Diamond Microdermabrasion System by Nuvederm

[1] T Sundelin, M Lekander, G Kecklund, EJ Van Someren, A Olsson, and J Axelsson. 2013. "Cues of fatigue: effects of sleep deprivation on facial appearance." Sleep. 36(9):1355-60. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738045/

[2] A Gegotek, E Ambrozewicz, A Jastrzab, I Jarocka-Karpowicz, and E Skrzydlewska. 2019. "Rutin and ascorbic acid cooperation in antioxidant and antiapoptotic effect on human skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts exposed to UVA and UVB radiation." Arch Dermatol Res. 311(3):203-219.

[3] MA Pinsky. 2017. "Efficacy and Safety of an Anti-aging Technology for the Treatment of Facial Wrinkles and Skin Moisturization." J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 10(12):27-35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774901/

[4] G Imokawa. 2008. "Recent advances in characterizing biological mechanisms underlying UV-induced wrinkles: a pivotal role of fibrobrast-derived elastase." Arch Dermatol Res. 300 Suppl 1S7-20. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-007-0798-x

[5] M Chavan, Y Sun, J Litchauer, and A Denis. 2014. "Fucus extract: cosmetic treatment for under-eye dark circles." J Cosmet Sci. 65(2):103-13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24797026

[6] SJ Choi, SN Lee, K Kim, H Joo da, S Shin, J Lee, HK Lee, J Kim, SB Kwon, MJ Kim, KJ Ahn, IS An, S An, and HJ Cha. 2016. "Biological effects of rutin on skin aging." Int J Mol Med. 38(1):357-63. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijmm/38/1/357

[7] S Doddaballapur. 2009. "Microneedling with dermaroller." Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery. 2(2):110-111. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2918341/

[8] JB Wise and T Greco. 2006. "Injectable treatments for the aging face." Facial Plast Surg. 22(2):140-6. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2006-947720

[9] R Shetty. 2014. "Under eye infraorbital injection technique: the best value in facial rejuvenation." J Cosmet Dermatol. 13(1):79-84. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jocd.12075

[10] TC Flynn, JA Carruthers, JA Carruthers, and RE Clark, 2nd. 2003. "Botulinum A toxin (BOTOX) in the lower eyelid: dose-finding study." Dermatol Surg. 29(9):943-50; discussion 950-1. https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=12930337

[11] P Mehryan, H Zartab, A Rajabi, N Pazhoohi, and A Firooz. 2014. "Assessment of efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on infraorbital dark circles and crow's feet wrinkles." J Cosmet Dermatol. 13(1):72-8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.12072

[12] CS Pak, YK Lee, JH Jeong, JH Kim, JD Seo, and CY Heo. 2014. "Safety and efficacy of ulthera in the rejuvenation of aging lower eyelids: a pivotal clinical trial." Aesthetic Plast Surg. 38(5):861-8. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00266-014-0383-6

[13] GB Core. 2013. "Lateral access recontouring blepharoplasty for rejuvenation of the lower lids." Plast Reconstr Surg. 132(4):835-42. https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=24076676

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