The Top 4 Issues — Solved! continued...
Lines and Wrinkles
Every time you smile, frown, yawn, or squint, the skin around your eyes crinkles up. Eventually, as the collagen levels diminish, your skin literally stays scrunched, and deeper creases take the place of fine lines.
To the Rescue: A few ingredients are essential. The first is retinol, a vitamin A derivative that rebuilds collagen levels and helps smooth fine lines. (Tretinoin, the stronger, prescription-strength version, also known by brand names like Retin-A and Renova, yields faster, more dramatic results but can irritate the delicate eye area.) Antioxidants like green tea and vitamin C, which help skin retain collagen, are effective wrinkle reducers, too. If your skin is especially sensitive, swap vitamin A products for peptides — proteins that also stimulate collagen growth. "Peptides don't sting or cause redness the way retinols and their cousins can, but they are also less potent," says Dr. Levine. Try antioxidant-packed Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Gold Ultra Lift and Strengthening Eye Capsules ($52, department stores) or Pure Skin Care Black Rice Eye Cream ($13, CVS).
As collagen, elastin, and fat decrease with age, eyelids get droopier. "Genetics determine when your skin will sag and to what extent," says Diane Madfes, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. "And like any skin aging, sun exposure hastens the effect." As a result, some women have sagging in their late 30s.
To the Rescue: No eye cream alone will reverse sagging once skin begins its downward slide. Only surgery gives you truly long-term improvement. But artfully applied eye makeup can make drooping lids less noticeable. "The trick is to define the lashline and neutralize the lid," says celebrity makeup artist Sandy Linter. Apply a light, nude-colored shadow (like cream or mocha, depending on your skin tone) from your lashes to your brow. Next, dip a liner brush, such as Jane Iredale Eye Liner/Brow Brush ($12, janeiredaledirect.com), in a gray, brown, or black shadow, and apply color as close to the base of top lashes as possible. "Shadow creates a softer, more natural look than a pencil liner," says Linter. Finish with dark-brown or black mascara. Try Rimmel Colour Rush Eye Shadow Quad in Smokey Brun ($5.40, drugstores).
What a Doctor Can Do
When you want faster, more dramatic results than even the best eye cream or makeup trick can offer, you'll find plenty of longer-lasting (but costlier) options at the dermatologist's or plastic surgeon's office.
Best for Banishing Wrinkles
Botox injections. The doctor makes tiny injections of botulinum toxin into the muscles that cause wrinkles, forcing them to relax. The injections take effect in a week or so, and the area stays smooth for three to six months. Cost: about $500.