Even if you’ve been faithfully using an anti-aging skincare routine for years, everything shifts when you enter your 50s. With age, the skin becomes drier, loses tone and elasticity, wrinkles become more prominent, dark spots come to the surface, and texture is compromised. The first place you’re likely to notice these substantial changes in the eye area. With all that said, the eye cream you were using in your 30s and 40s isn’t going to cut it in your 50s. You need a formula with more potent, results-driven ingredients to address these more permanent signs of age. While there’s no miracle cream, there are several options that can make a noticeable difference with regular use — here are 15 of the best.
Related: Best Eye Creams
Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $60
Formulyst Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $85
NEOCUTIS Lumière, $97
SkinBetter Instant Effect Gel EYE, $85
What Happens to the Eye Area in Your 50s
As the skin around our eyes is the thinnest on our entire body and doesn’t have sebaceous (oil) glands — it’s one of the first places we notice dryness and the early signs of aging — especially if you haven’t been protecting your skin from sun exposure. Collagen degenerates more rapidly, leading to loss of elasticity and under-eye pouches. You’ll also notice that those fine lines have morphed into more profound, permanent wrinkles. And those dark circles and puffiness? Poor sleep habits and dehydration alone do not cause them. As we get older, these rings (known as periorbital hyperpigmentation) are due to the thinning of the skin, degeneration of malar fat, and the enlargement of the bony orbital space.
Cosmetic Procedures for Eyes in Your 50s
Cosmetic procedures aren’t for everyone, but when topical treatments aren’t doing enough, they can be effective in making more dramatic changes to the eye area in your 50s — and beyond.
Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
The hollowness that appears under the eyes in your 50s can appear as dark circles. A hyaluronic acid filler injectable such as Juvederm, Belotero, or Restylane can help fill the depressed areas to diminish the shadowy appearance. As this area is ultra-sensitive, temporary (about a week) swelling and bruising can occur. Results last approximately six months.
Related: Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles
Most chemical peels and lasers can’t be used close to the eyes because of a risk of injury. Luckily, microneedling can be safely administered by a professional, and it can have some pretty incredible results. Microneedling is a skin-rejuvenating procedure where tiny needles puncture the skin to trigger the healing process — think of it as a controlled injury. The concept is that during the healing process, the body creates collagen and elastin, leading to smoother, firmer skin and softened wrinkles around the eye area.
Lifestyle Changes for Optimal Eyes
While lifestyle changes are not directly linked to the intrinsic (chronological) transformation that happens to your eye area in your 50s, good habits can help lessen the effects of age versus exasperating them.
Allergies contribute to dark under-eye circles by dilating under-eye blood vessels. Try to reduce your allergy symptoms by avoiding triggers (think dust, pollen, mold, etc.) and speaking to your doctor about taking allergy medications.
Drink Enough Water
Water is vital for the skin’s health and function. When you’re dehydrated, dark circles and fine lines are more prominent. Carry a refillable water bottle with you to make it easier to get those eight glasses a day.
Lay Off the Salt
Opt for spices and clean additives such as lemon juice to flavor your food instead of salt, so you don’t retain water, which also shows up in your eyes as puffiness.
Related: Best Eye Creams for Puffiness
Drink in Moderation
Alcohol, like cigarettes and the sun, can also speed up the aging process. Studies show that alcohol also causes peripheral vasodilation, which means the facial capillaries become dilated. This leads to wrinkles, an uneven skin tone, and volume loss around the eyes.
Eat a 50s-Friendly Diet
Beautiful skin often starts from within, so make sure you eat a healthy diet full of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and avoid processed and sugary packaged items. Along with eating a balanced diet, the best foods for those in their 50s include:
- Fiber-rich foods such as whole grains and vegetables
- B-12 foods that come from animals, such as meat, eggs, seafood, and dairy
- Foods rich in potassium such as bananas, avocado, pistachios, and potatoes
- Calcium-rich foods paired with enough vitamin D for absorption
- Broccoli and leafy greens
Get Enough Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for everyone, but it’s not always easy to accomplish — especially during menopause. The menopausal decline of estrogen contributes to disrupted sleep by causing menopausal symptoms ranging from hot flushes and sweats (vasomotor symptoms.) to anxiety that leads to difficulty sleeping and depression.
Nighttime is when our bodies heal, and without a solid seven or eight hours of sleep, it won’t have proper time to repair itself. Sleep deficiency can cause a whole host of problems, from an increased risk of health issues to sallow, sagging skin. Studies suggest that a lack of sleep exacerbates fine lines and wrinkles. Blackout blinds, soothing music, unplugging from electronics, meditation, a good bed, and keeping the room around 69 to 70 degrees can help precipitate a good night’s rest.
Change Your Sleeping Habits
The way you sleep affects your eye area — and your entire face. If you sleep on your side with your face pressed against the pillow, it can lead to the creation of deep under-eye creases. Repeated pressure or repetitive muscle motion in one targeted area breaks down collagen, resulting in visible lines. Try to sleep on your back or switch to a smooth satin or silk pillow to reduce creasing.
Protect Your Eyes
The sun’s damaging rays are one of the primary causes of aging and fine lines, not to mention damage to the eye itself. Protect your eyes by always wearing sunglasses, especially when driving. Choose a pair that blocks UV rays, and prevents squinting, which can lead to deeper wrinkles. A wrap-around style or oversized glasses will offer the most amount of protection to the eye area. If you want to up the ante, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
Use a Color Corrector
While it’s a quick fix, color correcting primers (peach if you’re fair, orange-based if you’re dark) cancel out under-eye circles when worn under foundation or concealer.
The Best Anti-Aging Eye Cream Ingredients in Your 50s
Vitamin A (Retinol)
When it comes to tackling deep-set eye wrinkles in your 50s, there’s no comparison to retinol. The vitamin A derivative stimulates collagen production that corrects and prevents additional signs of aging. Retinol should be applied at night because it makes the skin more sensitive to the sun. It’s best to introduce retinol into your routine slowly so you don’t run the risk of making under-eye wrinkles worse. If retinol is too intense, opt for bakuchiol, a natural ingredient with the same properties, sans the irritation.
Related: Best Retinol Eye Creams
As it’s a humectant, it can hold over 1,000 times its weight in water, so it’s a super-hydrator. It also strengthens the skin’s natural barriers and gives the eye areas a more toned and smooth appearance due to increased hydration.
Like hyaluronic acid, glycerin is a humectant, a type of moisturizing agent that draws water into the outer layer of your skin from deeper levels of your skin and the air. However, it’s proven to be even more effective than HA. Additionally, it’s an emollient, which means it can soften the skin.
A powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals such as sun exposure; it also has brightening properties.
Decreases puffiness and dark circles that can accompany under-eye wrinkles by constricting blood vessels beneath the skin.
Supports collagen production, reduces wrinkles, and decreases inflammation while plumping the skins’ appearance.
If an eye cream has sun protection in it, rest assured it’s an ingredient that is safe to use around the eyes. You mustn’t use the same SPF that you slather over your face and body before heading to the beach, as it’s apt to cause irritation.
The Best Anti-Aging Eye Cream 50s
Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $60
This revolutionary treatment uses highly effective botanical extracts to reduce signs of stress and fatigue, including dark circles. Persian silk tree (albizia julibrissin) has an anti-glycation effect that helps delicate skin around the lids feel tighter. St. Paul’s wort (sigesbeckia Orientalis) boosts the appearance of collagen and elastin, restoring vitality.
Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum, $70
A blend of advanced peptides reduces the look of discoloration and rich moisturizers combat dryness. Crow’s feet are smoothed, puffiness is reduced and skin is visibly lifted and brightened with every application.
Formulyst Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $85
Formulated with clarifying concentrate and moisture-rich complexes that stimulate, strengthen and hydrate, this lightweight formula is also enriched with hyaluronic acid to help restore your skin’s natural suppleness and elasticity while visibly smoothing away wrinkles. This advanced eye treatment leaves skin feeling smoother and tighter. It dramatically reduces the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness, enhancing the natural beauty of your eyes.
Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Eye, $70
While there’s no such thing as a real miracle cream for the eyes, there’s no doubt this one is pretty impressive. It’s formulated with a patented technology that effectively treats fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of tone. Vitamin C brightens, caffeine reduces puffiness, and an SPF of 15 protects the delicate eye area from dangerous UV rays.
Urban Skin Vital Eyez Rx Retinol + Vitamin C Complex, $48
Not only does this power-packed serum contain retinol, but it also features three additional anti-aging powerhouse ingredients; vitamin C, peptides, and caffeine. It’s an excellent pick for those who are past the first signs of aging and have graduated to sagging, pouching, more prominent lines, and ruddiness. It effectively softens wrinkles, brightens, and diminishes puffiness and dark circles. While you can’t turn back the clock, this eye cream comes pretty close.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Cream SPF 15, $100
This multi-defense eye cream uses idebenone (the single most powerful antioxidant) to fortify the delicate skin under the eye area while treating and preventing the signs of aging with continued use. It’s formulated with encapsulated SPF 15 sunscreens to guard against daily sun damage minus any irritation.
NEOCUTIS Lumière, $97
This power-packed eye cream is formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and a patented blend of peptides called PSP (Processed Skin Cell Proteins) that work synergistically to deeply hydrate, soften wrinkles and crow’s feet while addressing puffiness and under-eye darkness. You’ll need a prescription for this one, which is an excellent excuse to make an appointment with a dermatologist.
StriVectin Peptight 360° Tightening Eye Serum, $69
This lightweight serum visibly tightens and firms the entire eye area while providing instant depuffing effects, thanks to a cooling applicator. StriVectin’s number one selling eye serum has been clinically proven to improve firmness, elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles, under-eye bags, and puffiness, so it’s genuinely an all-encompassing treatment product.
Related: Best Firming Eye Creams
Dermalogica Total Eye Care, $54
Not only does this eye cream protect from harmful UV rays, but it also smooths and retexturizes the delicate eye area, thanks to gently alpha hydroxy acids and plant extracts. The addition of optical light diffusers helps conceal dark circles and puffiness.
Eau Thermale Avène Retinal Eyes, $49
This French pharmacy favorite (that you can find here in the States) is formulated with retinaldehyde (a stabilized form of retinol) to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and crow’s feet. Hyaluronic acid fragments plump the skin and encourage microcirculation, and dextran sulfate corrects signs of fatigue caused by aging skin. It’s an excellent choice for those with extremely sensitive and/or dry skin.
NEOSTRATA Comprehensive Retinol Eye Cream, $54
While the best way to avoid prominent lines around the eyes is to prevent them in the first place, you can’t take back those teen years spent basking in the sun minus any protection. Retinol and NeoGlucosamine — two ingredients that exfoliate — target deep wrinkles, crepiness, and discoloration, resulting in a more refreshed, youthful appearance.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Eye Cream, $22.49
As with any skincare product, you have to use it regularly to see results, though some products take longer to get there than others. This popular drugstore retinol eye cream has been proven to show visible results in just one week — even more so over time. Retinol SA and a Glucose Complex (that serves as a booster) work together synergistically to dramatically fade stubborn wrinkles.
Related: Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles
Skinceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50, $30
While this isn’t exactly a de-puffing eye cream, sun protection is the best defense against premature aging — including eye bags. This formula is 100% mineral-based and has UVA/UVB protection. It also features a tint, so it helps to conceal bags and shadows.
L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Cream, $15
Backed up by over 20 years of research, this regenerating formula can be used on the lids and below to address crepiness around the entire eye area. Additionally, it reduces the appearance of puffiness, under-eye bags, and crow’s feet. The innovative applicator dispenses the perfect amount of product, taking the guesswork out of how much to use.
Dr. Brandt 24/7 Retinol Eye Cream, $55
This incredibly impressive eye cream brightens, protects against environmental stressors, and softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, thanks to time-released retinol and proprietary Ruby Crystal Complex. A Hydra-Balance Complex (lemon tree honey, phospholipids, and an amino acid deeply hydrate and prevent moisture loss.
SkinBetter Instant Effect Gel EYE, $85
This dermatologist favorite (you need a prescription for this one) contains a hearty dose of caffeine to provide an instant tightening effect to reduce bags, crepiness, and puffiness. It’s at the top of the ingredient list, so you know your eyes are getting a concentrated dose of this active ingredient. Additionally, it improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and texture.
Pond’s Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream, $8
Yet another retinol eye cream — but this one relies on retinyl propionate, a slightly more powerful (and effective) version than the retinoids typically found in drugstore products. According to many consumers, the ultra-hydrating formula improves the elasticity of the eye area, making it look tighter and more lifted — in as little as two weeks, according to many consumers — while niacinamide brightens. Bonus points for Ponds’ Blur System technology instantly improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Eye Creams in Your 50s: The Bottom Line
Even if you’ve been faithfully using an anti-aging skincare routine for years, everything shifts when you enter your 50s. As the skin around our eyes is the thinnest on our entire body and doesn’t have sebaceous (oil) glands — it’s one of the first places we notice dryness and the early signs of aging — especially if you haven’t been protecting your skin from sun exposure.
Collagen degenerates more rapidly, leading to loss of elasticity and under-eye pouches. You’ll also notice that those fine lines have morphed into more profound, permanent wrinkles. And those dark circles and puffiness? Poor sleep habits and dehydration alone do not cause them. As we get older, these rings (known as periorbital hyperpigmentation) are due to the thinning of the skin, degeneration of malar fat, and the enlargement of the bony orbital space.
While lifestyle changes are not directly linked to the intrinsic (chronological) transformation that happens to your eye area in your 50s, they can help lessen the effects of age versus exasperating them. While cosmetic procedures such as hyaluronic fillers and microneedling can be beneficial in treating more profound signs of aging around the eyes, they’re not for everyone. However, an eye cream with potent ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid is a solution everyone can get on board with.
“Impact of Smoking and Alcohol Use on Facial Aging in Women: Results of a Large Multinational, Multiracial, Cross-sectional Survey,”US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, August 2019.
“Menopause and Insomnia,”Womenshealthconcern.org.