13 Best Eye Creams to Get Rid of Eye Bags
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Experts share the best eye creams you can buy that may help you reduce or improve the look of pesky bags under the eyes.
Eye bag cream basics
Puffiness or bags under the eyes is a common complaint. And that’s no surprise, since bags under your eyes can make you look tired or unhealthy. Because someone can develop bags under the eyes at any age, they can also make you look older than you are.
For centuries, people have been trying different concoctions in hopes of finding a cure for this common cosmetic problem. And while there are no products you can buy to get rid of bags under the eyes for good, some creams, lotions, serums, and gels contain ingredients that may reduce their appearance or prevent them from drastically worsening over time.
We spoke to doctors who specialize in treating under-eye bags about ways you can temporarily reduce, or help prevent, under-eye bags at home.
What causes bags under the eyes
According to experts, bags under the eyes develop when protective fat pads that surround the eye herniate, or push forward, through the overlying tissues. No one really knows why some people develop under-eye bags and others do not, says Alan Matarasso, MD, FACS, a clinical professor of surgery at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.
While the precise cause of bags under the eyes remains unknown, experts like Natasha Herz, MD, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, say genetics seem to play a big role, as does skin aging. She explains that as we age, the collagen and elastin content in our skin reduces, both of which help keep the skin firm and prevent sagging.
This means that as we age, the skin around our eyes may be less effective in holding back the fat pads around the eye and allow them to sag forward. Brett Kotlus, MD, FACS, a cosmetic oculoplastic surgeon in New York, adds that the fat pads around the eye tend to grow with age and become larger and more pronounced.
What to look for in eye bag cream
Products that claim to reduce under-eye bags only have a temporary effect or work simply by improving skin health or firmness, experts explain. There is no over-the-counter eye bag cream that can eliminate under-eye bags.
“Once the fat pad or pads have herniated forward, there is literally nothing you can do except have surgery to reduce or remove them,” Dr. Matarasso says.
While there may be no over-the-counter cure for bags under the eyes, according to the experts and clinical studies, some ingredients in products like creams may help tighten the skin, temporarily reducing the look of under-eye bags.
Some ingredients may also help keep the skin firm or improve firmness over time, which can also help reduce the appearance of under-eye bags or prevent them from developing to start with.
A few ingredients commonly found in eye bag creams also help reduce puffiness by reducing inflammation or improve the overall health of the skin, which may make eye bags less visible or delay their development.
Best ingredients for under eye bag cream and how they work
Sunscreen prevents UV damage that can degrade collagen fibers in the skin. Experts say using sunscreen is one of the most important, and easiest, things you can do to prevent signs of skin aging.
According to research in Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, retinoids prevent UV damage that degrades collagen while also increasing collagen production.
Topical collagen application may help increase the skin’s collagen content and firmness or elasticity, help encourage skin cell production, and improve skin hydration by helping the skin barrier maintain moisture, per research published in the journal Antioxidants.
Antioxidants help reduce and neutralize compounds called free radicals that can damage skin cells and their components and cause inflammation.
Free radicals are in the environment around us, in sources such as UV rays, pollution, and smoke. Many antioxidants also increase cellular regeneration and help increase the production or regeneration of skin components like collagen and elastin.
Antioxidant vitamins A, B, C, and E are especially crucial to good skin health and preventing free radical damage. Other types of antioxidants, known as polyphenols and flavonoids, also help keep skin healthy.
Amino acids can help increase collagen production and cellular turnover, according to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Research in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that ceramides increase skin hydration and help repair or improve the skin’s natural barrier.
The caffeine in skin care products causes blood vessels in the skin to contract, temporarily tightening the skin, experts explain.
Green tea contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants known as polyphenols, as well as caffeine. Green tea supplementation may also increase the skin’s collagen and elastin content, per a review in Nutrients.
This extract contains antioxidants and reduces skin cell sensitivity to UV light, according to research in the journal Foods.
Hyaluronic acid helps repair damaged skin cells, stimulate tissue regeneration, and reduce inflammation. It is naturally found in the skin and acts to maintain skin structure, according to research published in the International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics.
This plant acts as an astringent to draw out under-eye puffiness and temporarily tighten the skin, Dr. Herz says.
Chamomile is naturally anti-inflammatory and thought to reduce puffiness, says Bhupendra C. Patel, MD, FRCS, the chief of the Division of Facial Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery at the Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.
Dr. Kotlus says silicates can help tighten the skin over eye bags for several hours, which may be helpful for events.
Research in the journal Molecules suggests aloe vera aids in cellular repair and regeneration, reduces skin dryness, reduces wrinkle formation, and reduces degradation of collagen fibers.
Coconut, olive, jojoba, sunflower seed, oat, rosehip, sesame, avocado, argan, and almond oil may all provide a suite of skin benefits. These include acting as an anti-inflammatory, acting as an antioxidant, improving wound healing and the skin’s natural moisture barrier, and reducing skin aging, according to research published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
(Here is the best face oil for dry skin.)
“Cucumber slices have been applied [to the area under the eye] for centuries,” Dr. Patel says.
Cucumber contains ascorbic acid and other acids which makes the skin tighter and is said to reduce skin inflammation, he says. “Apply sliced cucumber (cool) on your eyelids for 20 minutes and voila!”
Best eye creams for bags
There is no way to completely rid yourself of bags under the eyes once they develop, according to the experts.
But here are some creams with ingredients that might improve the health of skin under the eye, and in turn, reduce the appearance of bags.
Cerave Eye Repair Cream
The main selling point of this Cerave cream is that it contains three types of ceramides that release over time to help deeply hydrate the skin and improve its moisture barrier.
This cream also contains ingredients that benefit the skin around the eye, such as jojoba, zinc, sweet almond, and aloe.
Neocutis Lumière Illuminating Eye Cream
This cream is specially formulated with mature skin in mind.
To help reduce signs of aging around the eyes, the NEOCUTIS cream contains caffeine to temporarily tighten the skin, sodium hyaluronate to hydrate the skin, chamomile extract to sooth the skin, and vitamin C to reduce skin damage and brighten the skin.
But the cream’s main selling point is that it contains human growth factors designed to boost skin regeneration.
Revision Skincare D.E.J. Eye Cream
If you’re willing to splurge on an eye cream, this may be the right product for you. Soothing cucumber water is the second ingredient in this Revision Skincare cream, as well as peptides to smooth out fine lines and sunflower seed oil to moisturize the skin.
It also contains vitamin C to help reduce darkness in under-eye bags, five antioxidants to help protect the skin from damage, and prebiotics and postbiotics to keep the skin’s natural community of microbes healthy.
100% PURE Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
This cream from 100% Pure contains not one, but three different types of caffeine—one from green coffee beans, one from coffee cherry, and one from green tea—to tighten the skin around the eye and brighten darkness.
Other potentially skin-benefitting ingredients in this cream include vitamin C and vitamin E, wrinkle-reducing rosehip oil, and aloe vera water. The cream also contains other natural ingredients such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Belei Eye Cream
If you’re looking for an eye cream without as many preservatives and chemicals, this Belei product is free from added fragrances, sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.
This eye cream contains the most powerful ingredients to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags, including caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and three types of peptides. And unlike most eye creams, aloe vera is the first ingredient, not water.
Belei’s eye cream also contains moisturizing shea butter and ceramides, as well as chamomile leaf extract. As a bonus, this eye cream is made in the United States.
Viking Revolution Men’s Care Restoring Eye Cream
Most under-eye creams are designed more for women then men, but not this one! From Viking Revolution, this eye cream is made for men of all ages and ethnicities and packed with ingredients that may help reduce the appearance of under-eye bags.
This cream’s second ingredient is olive oil extract, followed by aloe vera leaf extract. It also contains silk amino acids, green tea extract, cucumber fruit extract, ceramide, and hyaluronic acid.
And unlike many under-eye creams, this product is free of sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, silicones, polyethylene glycol, phthalates, gluten, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances.
Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream
This Sunday Riley eye cream contains a lot of varied ingredients not found in most under-eye creams, including the antioxidant lutein, watermelon rind extract for moisture, horse chestnut extract to temporarily lift the skin, ginseng root extract to reduce puffiness, and smoothing paracress (Acmella oleracea) extract to smooth the skin.
It also contains chamomile oil, moisturizing ingredients such as shea and cocoa butters, and jojoba extract. As an extra perk, this cream does not contain gluten, it’s fragrance free, and it’s made with sustainability in mind.
Plexaderm Rapid Reduction Eye Serum – Advanced Formula
If you need rapid results, this unisex eye serum from Plexaderm may be the product for you.
According to the manufacturer, this eye cream’s unique selling point is that it uses silicate minerals from shale clay to drastically tighten the outer layer of the skin, reducing the appearance of under-eye bags and signs of aging in as little as 10 minutes. The results may last for up to 10 hours.
To get the best results, the manufacturer suggests letting the serum dry and settle for about 10 minutes after applying it and not moving the skin while it is drying. For people looking to buy American, this product is also made in the United States.
L’Oreal Paris Skincare Dermo-Expertise Eye Defense Eye Cream
Some people swear by the classic skin care companies, and this L’Oreal under-eye cream was rated four out of five stars, or above by 79 percent, in more than 11,500 reviews on Amazon.
At a relatively low price, this product contains ingredients to tighten or help firm the skin, such as caffeine and hyaluronic acid, as well as moisturizing jojoba seed oil, oat kernel extract, and chamomile extract.
Mizon Multifunctional Formula Snail Repair Eye Cream
While this ingredient is not on our list of expert-recommended ingredients, snail mucus is very popular in South Korean skin care and humans have been using it to treat skin disorders since ancient times, according to research published in Scientific Reports.
And that research conducted on skin cells found that compounds in snail mucus seem to help prevent skin cells from internally programmed cell death known as apoptosis. Even more importantly, that same research found that snail mucus has compounds that help skin cells grow and divide and help protect the skin from damage caused by things like pollution, per PLoS One.
With that in mind, this Mizon product isn’t messing around, containing 80 percent snail secreatin filtrate (compounds derived from snail mucus).
It also contains hyaluronic acid, moisturizing sweet almond seed extract, the brightening antioxidant niacinamide (vitamin B3), as well as peptides and the amino acid adenosine to help reduce signs of skin aging like wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Anti-Aging Renewal Therapy
Finding an under-eye cream with anti-aging properties or ingredients that reduce eye puffiness and the appearance of bags—along with adequate sun protection, or any sun protection for that matter—is no easy task. Finding an eye cream with sun protection that also contains concealer is even harder.
This Colorscience product contains SPF 35 sun protection, and uses the natural mineral ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to do so.
Containing a unique mixture of sea water and marine microalgae, this cream battles loose skin and under-eye bags by supporting collagen health and two different polysaccharides, or basic carbohydrate chains, that combat puffiness by improving the health of tiny blood vessels under the skin called capillaries.
Like most under-eye bag creams, this product contains the staple hyaluronic acid and a mixture of powerful vitamins and peptides that can reduce under-eye bags and puffiness with as little as seven days of use. It also comes in four color tones to help match the skin color of a wide range of women.
Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF PA++
This Murad cream comes with all the good stuff and far less of the potentially dangerous ingredients most skin care products contain, such as parabens, phthalates, gluten, sulfates, mineral oil, oxybenzone, petroleum, and petrolatum. This cream is also free from animal-derived ingredients.
In terms of beneficial ingredients, this eye cream contains rice and yeast amino acids, retinol, avocado oil, and caffeine. It also contains three types of sunscreen, one of which is natural, to offer SPF 15 protection.
Brickell Men’s Restoring Eye Cream for Men
This cream from Brickell Men is designed for men of any age who want to improve the appearance and composition of the skin around their eyes.
The cream contains quite a few beneficial ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, peptides, aloe vera, sunflower oil, witch hazel, vitamin C, coconut oil, cocoa butter, cucumber extract, jojoba oil, chamomile, and green tea.
For extra antioxidant power, it also contains blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, grape, and lemon extract, as well as vitamin E and vitamin B3. As a bonus, 70 percent of the ingredients in this cream are organic and the cream itself is 97.5 percent natural.
- Advances in Dermatology and Allergology: "Retinoids: Active Molecules Influencing Skin Structure Formation in Cosmetic and Dermatological Treatments"
- Alan Matarasso, MD, FACS, clinical professor of surgery at Hofstra University, part of the Northwell School of Medicine
- Antioxidants: "Collagen Hydrolysates for Skin Protection: Oral Administration and Topical Formulation"
- Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologica: "Antioxidants in Dermatology"
- BCK Patel MD, FRCS, chief, professor at the Division of Facial Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City
- Brett Kotlus, MD, FACS, cosmetic oculoplastic surgeon in NYC specializing in both nonsurgical and surgical cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the eyes and face
- Clincical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology: "Skin Hydration is Significantly Increased by a Cream Formulated to Mimic the Skin's Own Natural Moisturizing Systems"
- Foods: "Food Applications and Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate and its Derivatives"
- International Journal of Biological Marcomolecules: "Hyaluronic acid, A Promising Skin Rejuvenating Biomedicine: A Review of Recent Updates and Pre-clinical and Clinical Investigations on Cosmetic and Nutricosmetic Effects"
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences: "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences: "Anti-Wrinkle Benefits of Peptides Complex Stimulating Skin Basement Membrane Proteins Expression"
- International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics: "Skin Filling and Firming Activity of a Hyaluronic Acid Inducing Synthetic Tripeptide"
- Molecules: "Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents"
- Natasha Herz, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology
- Nutrients: "A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy"
- Nutrients: "Dietary Management of Skin Health: The Role of Genistein"
- Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Science: "Phytoestrogens and Their Health Effect"
- PLOS ONE: "HelixComplex Snail Mucus as a Potential Technology Against O3 Induced Skin damage"
- Scientific Reports: "HelixComplex Snail Mucus Exhibits Pro-survival, Proliferative and Pro-migration Effects on Mammalian Fibroblasts"