When Should You Start Using Eye Cream?

You're never too young. 

Photo by Lucas Allen

This article originally appeared on MIMI

If you're under 25, there's a good chance you've been bypassing the eye cream aisle at your local drugstore or beauty supply shop. After all, it was only recently that you stopped depending on the acne products that got you through those pubescent breakouts, so wrapping your mind around working an anti-aging product into your routine might seem a little premature. News flash: Eye cream isn't just an anti-aging product. In fact, if you've ever experienced dryness, puffiness, or up-all-night-induced dark circles, now is the time to break out the this skin savior.

"No age is too young for eye cream," says Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC-based dermatologist, host of DermTV.com and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz. "The issues that occur in the eye area (dryness, flakiness, discoloration, and swelling) can happen at 17 and at 47." That said, rather than choosing an eye cream according to your age, zero in on the issues you're having with your skin in the under eye area.

After hours study (or party!) sessions may elicit under eye bags and dark circles. Noticing swelling or discoloration? Instead of relying on your concealer as a quick cover-up, Dr. Schultz recommends a more long-term fix by targeting the issue head-on with ingredients like Regu-age (a soy peptide complex), hyaluronic acid, and vitamin K for their anti-inflammatory and brightening properties.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream, $18, nordstrom.com
Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Crème, $42, sephora.com
BeautyRx Ultra Nourishing Eye Therapy Cream, $85, beautyrx.com

Meanwhile, chlorine, salt water, sweat, and sun exposure can trigger dryness and flakiness this summer. "If dryness is your issue, you need moisturizing ingredients like humectants, or emollients," says Dr. Schultz, who also recommends an exfoliator specially-formulated for sloughing away dead skin cells that accumulate under the eyes. Why can't your facial scrub handle that? Dr. Schultz explains: "Exfoliators created for the rest of your face can be too acidic or harsh for the thin, sensitive skin under your eyes," he says. "Products formulated for the eyes go through special testing that products for the rest of your face don't have to go through because they're more likely to get into your eyes." Dr. Schultz's go-to for sweeping away dry patches is a glycolic acid-based exfoliator for its ability to penetrate the pores, leaving skin silky-smooth.

Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Eye Cream, $70, sephora.com
BeautyRx Gentle Exfoliating Eye Therapy Cream, $60, beautyrx.com

Desperately trying to prolong the day fine lines and wrinkles start to crop up in your eye area? Dr. Schultz is all for taking preventative measures. "Dynamic motion (smiling, squinting) is the biggest cause for fine lines," he says. "Since it isn't realistic to advise you to avoid bending the skin, using eye creams is a great way to avoid breaking down the collagen in your eye area." Start by applying a lightweight formula as the third step of your daily regimen—after your cleanser and toner and before moisturizer and sunscreen. "I always recommend putting eye cream on before heavier creams, to give the product direct contact with your skin and to prevent the heavier products from migrating into your eyes as the day goes on," says Dr. Schultz. Dab—don't rub!—it on with your ring finger to avoid any pulling or tugging that can lead to sagging skin. Now, wasn't that eye-opening?

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum, $85, sephora.com