For many, under-eye wrinkles start showing up once a person reaches their late 20s or early 30s. Some people celebrate each wrinkle as part of their life’s story, while others would like to soften the appearance and slow the process of developing more. Some may feel that wrinkles make them look older and more tired than they actually feel. In that case, they might be interested in strategies to help minimize the appearance of these signs of aging.
The licensed dermatology providers at Curology advocate a skincare approach that incorporates preventive strategies to help delay and minimize signs of aging, including under-eye wrinkles. Here, we’ll explore some expert-approved, at-home preventive strategies and treatments that can reduce the visible signs of under-eye wrinkles.
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, which is impacted by your facial expressions, exposure to environmental toxins, sun exposure, and sleep.
Visible signs of aging that are attributed to the sun are also called photoaging or photodamage.¹ More than just one hour a day of sun exposure increases the risk of developing wrinkles.² Using sunglasses and sunscreen can protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays and slow the development of wrinkles.³
Collagen is a structural protein and one of the main building blocks of the skin. As such, loss of collagen plays an important role in wrinkle development. Studies have shown that smoking is a notable environmental factor when it comes to aging skin. It has been shown that tobacco smoke impairs the production of collagen while degrading the elasticity of the skin,⁴ which may lead to wrinkle development.
Repetitive expressions,⁵ like smiling or squinting, may result in grooves left in the skin over time. As collagen is lost and the skin loses elasticity, it also loses the ability to bounce back into place quickly. This can cause creases to form.⁶
That said, facial expressions are an important factor in nonverbal communication. While facial expressions do contribute to wrinkles, they aren’t the only contributing factor, and life without facial expressions would be pretty boring!
Sleep deprivation and poor quality of sleep are associated with signs of aging including the development of fine lines and loss of elasticity. Sleep loss can result in swollen or red eyes, dark circles, drooping eyelids, and increased wrinkles around the eyes. The concept of “beauty sleep” is accurate, as people who are sleep-deprived are often perceived as less healthy than those who get quality shut-eye.⁷
Dry skin often exacerbates the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,⁸ including around the eyes. Hydrated skin not only has fewer wrinkles, but the depth of wrinkles present is less severe.⁹
It’s never too early or too late to start reducing the risk of developing under-eye wrinkles. Here are a handful of common skincare product ingredients that have been shown to be effective in the fight against wrinkles.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that contributes to overall skin health. One function of CoQ10 is to increase collagen density, which helps repair the visible signs of aging. Topical application can help reduce wrinkles in areas of the skin that were exposed to UV rays, such as from a tanning bed or the sun.¹⁰ In one study, participants who took a CoQ10 oral supplement daily for 12 weeks experienced reduced wrinkles and improved skin smoothness.¹¹ Improving the texture and smoothness of your skin may help soften the visible signs of aging.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that reduces oxidative damage.¹² Applying vitamin C topically¹³ and taking it orally¹⁴ can help limit UV damage, increase collagen production, and may help reduce the risk of dry skin by improving the skin’s ability to protect against water loss. Each of these factors contributes to wrinkles. Topical vitamin C can also help reduce or slow other visible signs of aging such as dark spots, also called hyperpigmentation.¹⁵
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, and one of the most popular ingredients in skincare products since it stimulates collagen production and prevents collagen degradation at the same time.¹⁶ Under-eye wrinkles can develop more quickly as collagen weakens since the tissue is thinner and more delicate—hence retinol’s remedial effects.
Hyaluronic acid helps the skin hydrate the skin, making wrinkles less visible.¹⁷ Topical eye cream with hyaluronic acid may help minimize the look of fine lines and under-eye wrinkles. One study demonstrated a hyaluronic acid oral supplement over 12 weeks could suppress wrinkles and improve skin condition in participants.¹⁸
Collagen is an important building block for healthy skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons.¹⁹ Several topical ingredients can help improve your body’s collagen production, such as retinol, vitamin C, and CoQ10. Interestingly, data also suggest that oral collagen supplementation may improve your body’s collagen production. This helps reduce the visible signs of aging, including loss of hydration, elasticity, and skin density.²⁰
Remember that skincare is a lifelong journey. If you’re interested in personalized skincare, our licensed dermatology providers are here to help. They can develop a skincare regimen to address fine lines and wrinkles that appear as we age. Our personalized prescription formulas help you meet your skincare goals using clinically researched ingredients.
And it’s easy to get started! Sign up** by answering a couple of questions and sending us some selfies. You'll work with one of our experienced dermatology providers who will listen to your skin concerns and help you build a personalized skincare routine to meet your goals.
As we age, the tissue structures and facial muscles around the eyes can weaken. Fluid can begin to collect below the eye, which makes it look puffy. Additionally, allergies, smoking, and some medical conditions can also contribute to skin changes and fluid collection, which may also contribute to saggy skin.²¹
Retinol skin creams for under-eye wrinkles may help improve collagen production and tighten the skin under your eyes. However, only a surgical procedure can remove excess skin.²² If you aren’t seeing the desired improvement using topical options, we recommend seeing a licensed dermatologist to assess your concerns and offer options.
There are different types of wrinkles that can occur under the eye, including dynamic and static wrinkles. Dynamic wrinkles are seen during muscle contraction, such as crow’s feet when smiling. Static wrinkles remain visible when muscles are relaxed, typically caused by repetitive muscle movements and loss of skin elasticity.²³
Taking small steps every day can help reduce your potential for under-eye wrinkles. Apply sunscreen SPF30 every day and avoid overexposure to the sun, including tanning, tanning beds, or extended hours outdoors. Wear sunglasses to help reduce squinting and to protect the delicate skin under the eyes. Stop smoking and eat a nutritionally balanced diet. Importantly, applying moisturizer every day can help hydrate and restore your skin barrier.
Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed.²⁴ Therefore, collagen is unlikely to help when applied topically. It is better to eat a nutritionally balanced diet and ensure you are getting enough of the vitamins and minerals known to help maintain your skin integrity.
Avila, F.R., et al. Perceived Age in Patients Exposed to Distinct UV Indexes: A Systematic Review. Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery. (April 2023).
Wong, Q.Y.A. and Chew, F.T. Defining skin aging and its risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports. (2021, November 11).
Krutmann, J., et al. Daily photoprotection to prevent photoaging. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine. (2021, April 25).
Morita, A. Tobacco Smoke Causes Premature Skin Aging. Journal of Dermatological Science. (December 2007).
Santoprete, R., et al. Reduction of wrinkles: From a computational hypothesis to a clinical, instrumental, and biological proof. Skin Research & Technology. (2023, March 6).
Baumann, L., et al. Clinical Relevance of Elastin in the Structure and Function of Skin. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. (2021, May 14).
Clatici, V.G., et al. Perceived Age and Lifestyle: The Specific Contributions of Seven Factors Involved in Health and Beauty. Maedica (Bucur). (September 2017).
American Academy of Dermatology Association. Dermatologists' Top Tips for Relieving Dry Skin. (n.d.).
Choi, J.W., et al. The influences of skin visco-elasticity, hydration level and aging on the formation of wrinkles: A comprehensive and objective approach. Skin Research & Technology. (June 2012).
Ayunin, Q. et al. Improving the anti-ageing activity of coenzyme Q10 through protransfersome-loaded emulgel. Scientific Reports. (2022, January 18).
Zmitek, K., et al. The effect of dietary intake of coenzyme Q10 on skin parameters and condition: Results of a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Biofactors. (2016, August 22).
Boo, Y.C. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) as a Cosmeceutical to Increase Dermal Collagen for Skin Antiaging Purposes: Emerging Combination Therapies. Antioxidants. (2022, August 26).
Al-Niaimi, F. and Chiang, N.Y.Z. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. (2017, July 1).
Pullar, J.M., et al. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. (2017, August 12).
Sanadi, R.M. and Deshmukh, R.S. The effect of Vitamin C on melanin pigmentation. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. (May-August 2020).
Zasada, M. and Budzisz, E. Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology. (August 2019).
Bravo, B., et al. Benefits of topical hyaluronic acid for skin quality and signs of skin aging: From literature review to clinical evidence. Dermatologic Therapy. (December 2022).
Hsu, T.F., et al. Oral Hyaluronan Relieves Wrinkles and Improves Dry Skin: A 12-Week Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. (July 2021).
Wu, M., et al. Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. StatPearls. (2022, September 12).
Bolke, L. et al. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients. (2019, October 17).
Boyd, K. How to Get Rid of Bags Under the Eyes. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2023, July 11).
Boyd, K. How to Get Rid of Bags Under the Eyes. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ibid.
Carruthers, A., et al. Development and Validation of a Photonumeric Scale for Evaluation of Static Horizontal Forehead Lines. Dermatol Surg. (October 2016).
Al-Atif, H. Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Dermatol Pract Concept. (February 2022).
Kristen Jokela is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.
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Kristen Jokela, NP-C