17 of the best eye moisturizers dermatologists love

In terms of ingredients, you’ll need an eye cream that includes a gelling agent, humectant, emollient, and/or protective ingredients. Gmyrek breaks down the meanings of those terms below. She notes that your eye cream doesn’t necessarily have to contain all of these ingredients, but you’ll likely find combinations of ingredients from different types in products.

Secret: These substances form a barrier on the surface of the skin to prevent the evaporation of water from the skin into the environment. They reduce transepidermal water loss. Examples include dimethicone, petroleum, shea butter, and colloidal oatmeal.

Humectant: They absorb water and moisture. When a humectant is present on the skin, water from the deeper layer of the skin, the dermis, is absorbed into the upper layer of skin or the epidermis. Water is also attracted and absorbed from the environment, but this is minimal. Examples include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, glycerol, urea, lactic acid, shea butter (butyrospermum parkii) and colloidal oatmeal.

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