Protecting your skin from the sun is your best bet to help prevent premature signs of aging and skin cancer. The skin around your eyes is more sensitive than other areas of the face and body, and it’s often one of the first areas to show fine lines and wrinkles. That’s why sunscreen for your eyes is so important and should be part of your daily eye care routine.
Sun damage is an extrinsic factor in skin aging—meaning it’s something you can control. On the flip side are intrinsic factors, which include genetics, hormones, and the normal process of aging.¹ You can’t fight these natural forces that lead to signs of aging, but you can slow the process with the help of good sun protection.
The delicate eye area is more sensitive than other parts of your face. It’s where many people often begin to first notice signs of aging, like fine lines, dark spots, and crow’s feet. A good eye cream is a moisturizer (or other treatment) formulated specifically for the eye area, including your eyelids.
Depending on the specific ingredients, using an eye cream may help:
Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Reduce the appearance of dark circles
Even out skin tone
Protect delicate skin
Soothe and refresh tired eyes
Prepare your skin for makeup
Here are some great anti-aging eye creams we recommend.
There are three types of UV radiation, but only two of them are known to cause damage to our skin: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA is longer and primarily associated with skin aging, while UVB is shorter and mainly associated with skin burning. They have different effects on our skin, but both can damage our skin cells² —especially the sensitive skin around your eyes.
Only sunscreen labeled as broad-spectrum protects against both UVA and UVB rays.³ The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least SPF 30,⁴ but you can get extra protection by layering sun-protective eye cream containing SPF protection. Anyway, you look at it, eye creams with SPF can make an excellent addition to your daily skincare routine.
Most face sunscreens are safe to apply around the eyes (including the sunscreen by Curology), but if you’re looking for something with sun protection that’s also designed specifically for sensitive eye skin, we recommend trying any of these:
Supergoop Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40 brightens the area around your eyes and is formulated to be fast-absorbing and blendable, making it an excellent primer for makeup.
SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 is a broad-spectrum mineral, tone-enhancing tinted sunscreen. It has a sheer finish that works with all skin types and is specifically formulated to nourish thin, delicate skin.
Coola Day SPF 30 + Night Organic Eye Cream Duo includes two products: the day eye cream includes vitamin C and SPF, which helps protect from sun damage and reduce signs of photoaging, while the resveratrol-infused night cream revives and restores skin as you sleep.
Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35 creates a bright and radiant look, and it helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and protects with mineral SPF 35 sunscreen. Colorescience comes in four shades, making it ideal for a wide range of skin tones.
Just in case you don’t already have a facial sunscreen, here are our choices for oily skin, dry skin, and under $20. Remember, no matter your skin type, the best sunscreen for you is a sunscreen you actually like to wear!
Sunscreen is your skin’s best defense against premature aging. Because many of us don’t cover our faces or wear wide-brimmed hats every time we go outside, we need to be diligent about sunscreen. The sun is responsible for about 90% of visible aging, especially in those with lighter skin tones.⁵
Use a dab of sunscreen for eyes about the size of a pea. Lightly tap it around your eyes until it’s well-blended. Apply sunscreen after you moisturize and before eye makeup. For optimal results, let it soak in for a minute. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going into the sun,⁶ so it has time to work its magic. Reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
When it comes to sunscreen, you can choose a chemical or mineral sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone that work by absorbing UV rays. Technically, they can be used around the eyes, but if you have sensitive skin or notice irritation with chemical sunscreen, they might not be your best option. Instead, look for ingredients that don’t tend to irritate the skin, like those often found in mineral sunscreens (aka physical sunscreens).
Mineral sunscreens are generally considered less likely to irritate sensitive skin.⁷ They use natural ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block the sun’s rays.
Of course, you can always use an eye cream with SPF like any of those mentioned above.
Sunscreen that you actually use every day, no matter the season, is your best defense against sun damage. Just like you would when shopping for a face and body sunscreen, look for an eye cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher. Remember, it’s estimated that 90% of visible aging comes from the sun. Eye creams with SPF may be formulated with ingredients like antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, while also protecting you from sun damage from UV rays.
The sunscreen by Curology is 100% mineral-based grease-free sunscreen that won’t leave a white cast on your skin (blend well!) or clog your pores. Developed and tested by dermatologists, our sunscreen was formulated specifically with acne-prone skin in mind but works with all skin types. Its silky texture makes application a breeze—even for the sensitive skin around the eyes. We use zinc oxide to block UV rays and protect you from the sun. The SPF 30 sunscreen is formulated to work synergistically with Curology products and can be used daily as part of your skincare routine.
For new members, sign up for a 30-day trial and add the sunscreen to your order for free (you just cover $4.95 for shipping). Existing members can add sunscreen to their plan for $14 (tax will apply where applicable).
There are three types of UV radiation, but only two of them are known to cause damage to our skin: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Only sunscreen labeled as broad-spectrum protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least SPF 30.
The delicate eye area is more sensitive than other parts of your face. It’s where many people often begin to first notice signs of aging, like fine lines, dark spots, and crow’s feet. using an eye cream may help in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimize puffiness, reduce the appearance of dark circles, hydrate skin, even out skin tone, protect delicate skin, soothe and refresh tired eyes, and prepare your skin for makeup.
Farage, M.A., et al. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: A review.International Journal of Cosmetic Science. (April 2008).
Dale Wilson, B., et al. (2012). Comprehensive review of ultraviolet radiation and the current status on sunscreens. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. (2012).
Food and Drug Administration. Sunscreen: How to help protect your skin from the sun. (2021, November 8).
American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQs. (n.d.).
Farage, M.A., et al. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: A review. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. (April 2008).
Wang, S.Q., et al. Current status of the sunscreen regulation in the United States: 2011 Food and Drug Administration's final rule on labeling and effectiveness testing. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (October 2011).
Skin Cancer Foundation. Ask the expert: Can you safely use sunscreen around your eyes? If so, what kind would be best? (2018, September 6).
Sunscreen cannot prevent all harm from UV rays. UV radiation from the sun, even while using this product, can still be harmful.
* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.
Meredith Hartle, DO