How to get younger-looking eyes without injectables

woman in towels looking in a mirror and putting face cream on

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Aging affects skin by making it thinner, less elastic, drier,and more wrinkled. But while aging is a fact of life, looking your age doesn’t have to be. There are ways to turn back the clock!

Injections like Botox can help reduce the appearance of vertical lines and crow’s feet, but they don’t necessarily work for loose or crepey skin that sits directly under the eye. Needles can also make some people queasy. If you’d rather take a less invasive approach to create a more youthful appearance, you’re in luck. We spoke with two dermatologists about how to tackle these pesky problems and they have some great advice for people looking to stave off the vagaries of age.

Prevention Is Key

Prevention is really important when it comes to keeping the skin around your eyes looking young. Dr. Robin Ashinoff, a Fellow of the American Institute of Dermatology and assistant professor at New York University, tells patients to not only wear sunscreen but to also pick up a good pair of sunglasses with broad spectrum UVA UVB protection to ward off sun damage.

UVA and UVB rays at high concentrations can damage the main proteins that make up the skin, elastin and collagen. This can lead to skin cancer, premature aging and brown spots, along with damage to the eye. Other musts: wear a wide-brimmed hat outside whenever possible and avoid excessive rubbing or tugging when washing your face or removing makeup.

woman applies eye wrinkle cream

MORE: 15 products for when you realize you’re getting old

The Right Ingredients Can Help Revive Skin, But Use Caution

However, if you’ve been breezing through life without shades, sunscreen or a hat, a trusty eye cream or serum — with the right ingredients — can revive tired eyes. Retinoids can help reduce the look of fine lines by promoting collagen production and improving skin elasticity. Peptides boost collagen production, enhancing your skin’s firmness, while hyaluronic acid works to plump the skin and can diminish the look of fine lines.

Some ingredients, like retinoids in particular, need to be used with caution. That’s because some people’s skin needs to build up a tolerance to prevent flaking.

“It’s called a retinoid effect,” Ashinoff says. “You use it every night and then your skin starts to flake and get red.”

This doesn’t, however, mean that you have to stop using it.

“You can even get improvement if you apply it every third night or every fourth night,” she says. “So it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it at all.”

She also advises not to overdo the face-washing. If you hit the exfoliation too hard, whatever product you use afterward may have an enhanced penetration effect, which could be potentially irritating with certain ingredients.


Board-certified dermatologist and physician at The Skin Center Dr. Rachel Mistur says the skin around the eyes is not only the thinnest on the body but also contains fewer oil glands.

“These factors make the periorbital skin more delicate and prone to dryness,” Dr. Mistur says. “The structural support from fat and collagen is also sparse around the eyes, which can contribute to the early appearance of lines and wrinkles in this area, as well as the appearance of dark circles.”

In addition to retinoids, peptides and hyaluronic acid, don’t skimp on the vitamin C.

Dr. Mistur says, “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that not only protects against but also repairs UV damage and helps boost collagen production. Ceramides help to restore the skin’s barrier by retaining moisture and protecting against external irritants.”

She also notes that caffeine can help constrict blood vessels, diminishing dark circles and puffiness. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E and ferulic acid, protect the skin from harmful free radicals and environmental damage.

An Eye-Specific Moisturizer Is Better

Dr. Mistur says that generally speaking, you can use regular face moisturizer around the eyes.

“That said, many eye creams have been specially formulated in a way that they are better tolerated by this sensitive area of skin and they often contain ingredients that help combat many of the issues we’ve been discussing, like fine lines and dark circles,” she says.

MORE: How to find the best eye cream for getting rid of dark circles

If you are looking to take years off your eyes with a noninvasive approach, here are 10 highly-rated creams, serums and drops to choose from.

Olay Day Eye Cream


$30 at Walmart

If you’re a person who struggles with tired-looking eyes and wants to fight wrinkles, this Olay Day Cream utilizes caffeine, niacinamide and peptides to help perk up eyes. It provides a heavy dose of moisture without being greasy and is suitable for all skin types.

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream


$14.48 at Amazon

Minimize dark circles, puffiness and crepey skin with a fragrance-free eye cream that uses hyaluronic acid to seal in moisture. This eye cream from CeraVe was created in conjunction with dermatologists and tested by ophthalmologists. It is also accepted by the National Eczema Association.

Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream 


$20.25 at Amazon

Created with a hint of peach concealer that matches all skin tones, this rich eye cream rejuvenates eyes using vitamins like B3, peptides and pigments to improve the look of the skin immediately while working under the surface for long-term change. Its anti-aging niacinamide helps retain moisture and renews the skin over time while the pigments brighten the area right away.

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum


$15.49 at Amazon

Created with 10% vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and antioxidants to brighten skin tone, this powerful serum works overtime to restore the skin barrier. It’s lightweight enough to be layered under eye cream for maximum hydration.

Bausch+Lomb Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops


$21.48 at Amazon

Redness can keep eyes from looking their best. Lumify eye drops are advertised as the only over-the-counter drops that contain brimonidine to relieve redness in just one minute and work up to eight hours.

MORE: Makeup artists’ top tricks to help you look more awake

RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream

roc retional correxion eye cream

$19.36 at Amazon

Replenish delicate skin around the eyes with a cream that helps depuff, brighten dark circles and reduce wrinkles. Using key ingredients like retinol and an exclusive mineral complex, this product underwent a clinical study that showed a 90% reduction in dark circles after just four weeks of use. Safe for morning and evening use.

Filorga Time-Filler Eyes


$54.00 at Amazon

Utilizing the power of orchid stem cells to stimulate collagen and elastin to lift and firm delicate eye skin and tripeptides to smooth and relax wrinkles, Filorga’s eye cream reduces the look of crow’s feet and fine lines around eyes and eyelids. You can even gently dab it on lashes at night to help thicken and strengthen hair, thanks to its powerful blend with hyaluronic acid.

L’Oreal Paris Eye Defense Eye Cream

Loreal Eye Defense

$12.27 at Amazon

This non-greasy gel formula by L’Oreal perks up sleepy eyes as it smooths fine lines and wrinkles and eliminates puffiness, thanks to powerhouse ingredients like caffeine and hyaluronic acid. It’s suitable for all skin types and dermatologist tested for gentleness.

Lancome Advanced Génifique Light Pearl Eye Serum


$64.00 at Amazon

If you wake up regularly with puffy eyes or deal with dark circles, this Lancome serum can breathe new life into your tired skin. It gives eyes a healthy dose of hydration while it de-puffs. It also uses a bifidus prebiotic to repair the skin barrier. This serum also works wonders for fortifying eyelashes.

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Eye Serum


$74.00 at Amazon

This Dermalogica serum harnesses the power of vitamin C and can brighten skin tone when applied twice daily around the eye and across the orbital bone. It also exfoliates and hydrates along the way.

About the Author
Emily O'Brien

Emily is a freelance writer who loves connecting the dots among facts and finding obscure little details to weave in throughout her work. Whether she's interviewing Olympic athletes, small business owners, dessert cookbook writers, or world-renowned architects, she's passionate about shining the spotlight on good people doing remarkable work. More.