Certain types of wrinkles are so difficult to deal with that it makes you question your belief in science! I’m talking about under-eye wrinkles. I wouldn’t think I’d prefer getting certain wrinkles over others but these creases are not my favorite signs of aging!
After all, we have Botox that works on most types of wrinkles. And if that fails, we have fillers. But wrinkles, fine lines, and creases that appear on the lower eyelids and even on the inner corners of the eyes? How are you supposed to deal with that? They’re so tiny but they’re so many. And because of their location, they are so tricky!
But don’t give up just yet. Because I did the research and I’ve got some news and some good news. The news is that those under-eye wrinkles, creases, and fine lines are natural and normal. We’ll all have them at some point. You may be able to delay their appearance but can’t prevent them from forming completely.
But the good news is that there are several ways to delay and minimize their appearance! If you’re like me and want to know what you can do about them, keep reading to learn what causes under-eye wrinkles and how to get rid of them.
What do under-eye wrinkles look like?
Before we dig in though, don’t confuse these wrinkles with crow’s feet. Crow’s feet refer to wrinkles that appear on the outer corners of the eyes (1). Under-eye wrinkles, on the other hand, as the name suggests, appear on the lower eyelids and sometimes spread toward the inner corner of the eye and even on the sides of the nose.
These wrinkles are more visible when you squint your eyes a little bit. And because of thin skin or aging skin, these fine lines give the appearance of crepey skin on the inner corner of the eye and bags under the eye. While most people focus on wrinkles on the outer corners of the eyes, I find these to be more annoying because of their location and the way they spread out.
What causes under-eye wrinkles?
Wrinkles and fine lines that appear around the eyes are all natural parts of the aging process. And tiny fine lines that appear under the eyes are no exception. Collagen and elastin loss due to aging, making facial expressions are all contributors to any type of wrinkle (2).
However, bad habits and unprotected UV exposure are the two most common causes that accelerate wrinkle formation (3). Those two are responsible for making those fine lines arrive earlier than expected.
In a sense, unless you forgot to apply sunscreen for a few decades, you’re not responsible for the formation of those lines. This was a relief for me. Well, what’s done is done. Let’s move on to what we can do about them, how skincare can help, and what treatments to consider.
How to get rid of under-eye wrinkles and fine lines?
First thing first. Most of the time, the treatments for under-eye wrinkles will overlap with the treatments for wrinkles on the outer corner of the eye, aka crow’s feet. So your attempt to get rid of them will be all about rejuvenating the eye area as a whole. Keep reading to find out how to get rid of under-eye wrinkles.
1. Use retinoids.
We’re all familiar with how anti-aging retinoids are. Topical retinol and retinaldehyde are the most effective over-the-counter retinoids to treat signs of aging. They help sun-damaged skin by improving collagen production, resulting in smoother skin and reduced wrinkles.
But most of us are hesitant to try retinol on the face let alone under the eyes. And that’s a legitimate concern. Retinol causes redness and irritation on the face, which is a pickle when you have sensitive skin. Considering that the eye area is gentler and thinner than the skin on your cheeks, one might want to skip using retinol around the eyes completely.
However, there are things you can do to work it into your skincare routine without causing any problems. Because retinol is as effective in getting rid of the wrinkles on the face as it is on the wrinkles around the eyes (4). So here’s what you can do.
2. Try a retinol eye cream.
Under normal circumstances, you could do what Kourtney Kardashian does and just use your face cream around the eyes too. But we’re talking about retinol here and you really don’t want to bring your retinol cream or serum closer to the eye area as you can irritate the skin.
Instead, invest in a good retinol eye cream to smooth out fine lines under the eyes. Retinol eye creams are much, much gentler than retinol face creams. And they’re made especially for the eye area. But you should incorporate your retinol eye cream into your routine slowly.
So use it only once a week for 2 weeks in your PM routine. And slowly take it up to 3 times a week. There’s no need to go harsh and heavy with this because you really don’t want to deal with peeling under the eyes. And I’m saying this as someone who’s dealing with sensitivity around the eyes because of ocular rosacea.
For that reason, you might want to consider your retinol eye cream as your secondary product and keep a regular moisturizing eye cream in your arsenal. And that brings us to our next point.
3. Moisturize with a good eye cream.
Under-eye creams and serums are incredibly helpful for instant benefits. Hydrating and moisturizing formulations, especially the ones that can be used all around the eye area, will help soften under-eye wrinkles instantly. Remember that our skin tends to thin as we age.
And thining skin is more noticeable when it happens around the eyes. That’s why plumping products like eye creams, eye serums, and even eye gels and masks help reduce eye wrinkles considerably. Some ingredients to look for in your eye serums and creams are humectants like hyaluronic acid and moisturizing ingredients like squalane and shea butter.
I’ve been a little more generous with my eye cream application lately and I can tell you that it makes all the difference. You can even try slugging if your skin isn’t prone to milia. It’s when you apply vaseline all over the face preferably in your evening routine. Because vaseline is really occlusive, it locks moisture in and plumps up your skin.
4. Add more antioxidants into your skincare routine.
Another topical way of minimizing or getting rid of under-eye wrinkles is by using antioxidants (5). Vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, green tea, and coenzymeQ10 are all potent antioxidants that come in eye creams and serums.
As they boost collagen production, they are directly helpful in reducing wrinkle depth and size. In essence, antioxidants prevent free radicals from causing further damage to the skin. And by protecting your skin, antioxidants allow your skin to recover.
So by using topical antioxidants, you can help rejuvenate the eye area and stimulate better and faster collagen production to smooth out fine lines under the eyes. Similarly, peptide eye creams can boost collagen production in the long run and they also provide a temporary firming effect around the eyes for instant benefits.
5. Choose your injectables carefully.
First of all, Botox usually works best on expression wrinkles like crow’s feet and lines on the forehead. Technically speaking, you can get rid of under-eye wrinkles with Botox. But the treatment doesn’t work for wrinkles caused by sun damage and the presence of under-eye bags (6).
And it is so selective that not everyone’s even eligible for it. Personally, I wouldn’t even dare. On the flip side, there’s a workaround. When you can’t treat the area, you go around it. With that in mind, getting Botox for bunny lines could be considered a safer but less effective alternative.
Bunny lines are fine lines that appear on the sides of the nose. You get injections there to relax those muscles there so that wrinkles don’t appear when you make expressions. Relaxing the lines on the sides of the nose also relieves the skin and fine lines that go toward the under-eye area.
Plus, a seasoned professional will consider your anatomy and can even inject the area between the brows to open the eyes and get cumulative results. So consult a professional and ask about Botox for under-eye wrinkles and for bunny lines to see if they can help you too. And that brings me to my next point.
6. Consult a professional.
Only consult professionals and professionals with experience. I talked about my experience with getting Botox in my 20s here. And here’s the gist. If you go in and complain about your wrinkles around the eyes, your injector is more likely to inject Botox into crow’s feet.
But if they’re not professionals and they don’t take the time to understand your facial anatomy, they may make things worse. My crow’s feet injections gave me under-eye wrinkles because my full cheeks were pushing upwards, creating folds on the lower eyelids.
I literally had under-eye bags out of nowhere! That’s why you shouldn’t trust anyone but a professional when it comes to getting treatment for wrinkles.
7. Manage your expectations from fillers.
Under-eye fillers work very well for rejuvenating the under-eye area. Fillers are injected a little bit above the cheeks to fill in the hollows and give the under-eyes a fuller appearance. Fillers work like a cushion here and support the under-eye area and give it a smoother appearance.
But they don’t completely erase fine lines right under the eyes and on the inner corners of the eyes. Again, they’re injected from a distance, above the cheeks, and aren’t supposed to spread out that much.
But still, the fuller appearance makes you look more youthful in spite of those fine lines. And compared to Botox, fillers are more likely to give noticeable results and help get rid of under-eye wrinkles.
8. Protect the eye area with SPF.
Prevention is always easier than cure. And when we’re talking about the eye area with that thin skin, your treatment options become very limited. But it’s never too late. Pay more attention to your SPF. Use SPF 50 to protect your face and your eye area from getting further UV damage.
And allow your skin to become more resilient and healthier. Diversify with sun protection and consider using sunglasses and hats for extra UV protection and to prevent yourself from making unnecessary squinting.
So these are the things you can consider to get rid of under-eye wrinkles. As always, you can also think about resurfacing techniques like chemical peels, micro-needling, and lasers. They tend to be more aggressive. And it’s up to you to decide whether they’re worth the trouble. There’s one thing I’d like to add here from my personal experience. We’re always told to pay attention to our nutrition and avoid sugar or salt if we don’t want to get wrinkles. Personally, that’s not something I can do. I love salt and salty things, especially in the evening. But my under-eye bags and folds were so bad that they were becoming wider and wider. So I stopped eating salty things before bed and even that made a huge difference. My point is that even if you can’t change everything, try changing one thing.
- Fogli A. (1992). Muscle orbiculaire et patte d’oie. Etude pathogénique et approche chirurgicale [Orbicularis oculi muscle and crow’s feet. Pathogenesis and surgical approach]. Annales de chirurgie plastique et esthetique, 37(5), 510–518.
- Manríquez, J. J., Majerson Gringberg, D., & Nicklas Diaz, C. (2008). Wrinkles. BMJ clinical evidence, 2008, 1711.
- Zhang, S., & Duan, E. (2018). Fighting against Skin Aging: The Way from Bench to Bedside. Cell transplantation, 27(5), 729–738. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963689717725755
- Pilkington, S. J., Belden, S., & Miller, R. A. (2015). The Tricky Tear Trough: A Review of Topical Cosmeceuticals for Periorbital Skin Rejuvenation. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 8(9), 39–47.
- Shin, J. W., Kwon, S. H., Choi, J. Y., Na, J. I., Huh, C. H., Choi, H. R., & Park, K. C. (2019). Molecular Mechanisms of Dermal Aging and Antiaging Approaches. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(9), 2126. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092126
- Ascher, B., Talarico, S., Cassuto, D., Escobar, S., Hexsel, D., Jaén, P., Monheit, G., Rzany, B. and Viel, M. (2010), International consensus recommendations on the aesthetic usage of botulinum toxin type A (Speywood Unit) – part II: wrinkles on the middle and lower face, neck and chest. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 24: 1285-1295. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2010.03728.x