The fragile skin of the eye area needs extra care—it’s the first place on your face to show stress, fatigue, and aging. The visible effects are dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, crow’s feet, and sagging skin. Eye creams and gels, just like face moisturizers and sunscreens, are essential for prevention and damage control for the young as well as the aging eye.

On average, you blink over 100,000 times per day, and every time you smile or frown you place a demand on the delicate skin around the eyes. This skin is actually 5–10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face, and it contains a small amount of subcutaneous fat and absolutely no oil glands. Effective eye creams can imitate the function of oil glands, providing the necessary hydration.

“The thin eyelid skin can be one of the first places to show irritation and allergy,” says Jennifer MacGregor, MD, certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York. “And the eyelid skin is very dynamic—it moves with facial expression—so it tends to be the first area of the face to show skin aging.”