Causes and Prevention of Early Wrinkles Under the Eyes

What happens when wrinkles and fine lines appear sooner than later? Learn what you can do to prevent early onset and tips on how to improve them.

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Wrinkles under the eyes are among the most common signs of aging, with fine lines and crow's feet appearing earlier than in other areas of the face. This delicate skin requires extra attention and care to prevent and reduce the appearance of early wrinkles.

It’s an entirely natural process, but what if they show up too early? This guide will discuss the causes of these fine lines appearing sooner than you hope. You’ll discover what you can do to remove wrinkles and how to prevent or postpone their appearance.

What Causes Early Wrinkles Under Your Eyes?

Dynamic wrinkles appear when your muscles are in use, such as when you frown, lift eyebrows, or smile. As time passes, these might turn into static wrinkles, which stay visible even if your muscles don’t move.

The most common causes of early wrinkles include:

  • Smoking: As you inhale, you also crinkle your eyes. That can lead to crow’s feet, those fine lines below your eyes. Additionally, harmful cigarette effects limit blood flow, which causes wrinkles.
  • Sun exposure: Spending too much time under direct sunlight can age your skin prematurely. UV rays break down the collagen, leading to wrinkles and fine lines on your skin. It also affects your skin plumpness and leads to early wrinkles.
  • Lack of sleep: Not getting enough sleep can lead to dark circles and bags under the eyes, as well as contribute to the formation of wrinkles.
  • Aging: As we age, our skin loses collagen and elasticity, leading to wrinkles and fine lines forming.
  • Genetics: Genetics can play a role in developing early wrinkles under the eyes. If your parents or grandparents have under-eye wrinkles, you may also be more prone to developing them.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can lead to dry, sagging skin, which can contribute to the formation of wrinkles under the eyes. It's important to drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeine.
  • Poor nutrition: An unhealthy diet can cause oxidative stress, which may cause your skin to age prematurely. A diet that is lacking in essential nutrients can lead to premature aging and the appearance of wrinkles. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help keep your skin healthy and youthful.
  • Stress: Stress can cause the body to produce cortisol, a hormone that breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to wrinkles and sagging.

By understanding the causes of early wrinkles under the eyes, you can take steps to prevent them from forming and reduce their appearance. In the next section, we will discuss improvement and prevention methods for under-eye wrinkles.

Can You Improve How Wrinkles Under the Eyes Look?

There are treatments that could reduce wrinkles under the eyes and make them less visible. Here are some suggestions:

  • Face masks: Face masks that contain vitamin C polyphenols may help prevent the development of premature wrinkles.
  • Anti-aging cosmetic products: Start your day with moisturizers that contain sunscreen to ensure optimal moisture and protection. Then, find day and night cosmetic solutions that focus on wrinkles and suit your skin tone like collagen peptide serums, retinol, and collagen creams.
  • Medical and cosmetic treatments: Facial rejuvenation via Botox injections and dermal and soft tissue fillers are common treatments for fine lines.

Importance of Under-eye Skincare

The skin around our eyes is thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of our face, making it more susceptible to damage and wrinkles. Additionally, the under-eye area has fewer oil glands, which makes it prone to dryness and irritation.

Neglecting this area of the face can lead to premature aging and the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark circles.

Tips to Prevent Wrinkles Under the Eyes

Prevention is the best medicine for under-eye wrinkles. But, even if they have already appeared, you can use these tips to postpone or stop their progress.


Use Sunscreen When Under Direct Sunlight

Sun damage is a major contributor to the formation of under-eye wrinkles. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and wearing sunglasses to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Sunglasses and hats provide the best protection alongside sunscreen. It’s important to use a high SPF and to protect your skin. You may need to reapply the sunscreen every couple of hours, depending on the instructions and brand.


Allow Your Eyes to Rest and Limit Screen Time

Screens are big enemies of our eyes and can lead to eyestrain, poor vision, and other issues. If you feel strain in your eyes, it might urge you to rub them. You’ll also start crinkling, and all that helps wrinkles form. Allow your eyes to rest whenever necessary.

Applying a cool compress to the eyes can help reduce puffiness and inflammation, which can contribute to the formation of wrinkles. Use a clean washcloth soaked in cold water or chilled cucumber slices, and apply to the eyes for 10-15 minutes.

Additionally, eye exams can detect any underlying eye conditions that may contribute to the formation of under-eye wrinkles. Make sure to get regular eye exams to maintain good eye health.


Find a Skincare Routine Suitable for Your Age

In your 20s, you should focus on exfoliation and cleansing your skin. You are in a defensive mode, so use sunscreens, formulas with antioxidants, and other anti-aging ingredients.

In your 30s, you need to upgrade skin hydration and introduce growth factors that help repair the skin. After you enter your 40s, you may want to use more specialized products to maintain a youthful skin appearance.

Eye creams that contain antioxidants and retinoids can help prevent and reduce the appearance of under-eye wrinkles. Antioxidants like vitamin C and E can protect the skin from free radical damage, while retinoids can stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture.


Use Health Supplements and Develop Good Lifestyle Habits

Getting all the nutrients that you need from the food you consume is challenging. That’s why you should consider taking supplements or getting IV therapy for better absorption of vitamins and minerals.

Adopting positive habits could be vital to preventing under-eye wrinkles but also for your overall health. For example, giving up smoking will reduce eye crinkling and decrease the negative cigarette effects on your health, especially in the long run.

Not getting enough sleep can also lead to dark circles and bags under the eyes, as well as contribute to the formation of wrinkles. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to keep your skin looking its best.

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can provide your skin with the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy and prevent premature aging.

Dehydrated skin can also lead to dry, sagging skin, which can contribute to the formation of wrinkles under the eyes. Make sure to drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeine.

Stress can cause the body to produce cortisol, a hormone that breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to wrinkles and sagging. Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to keep your stress levels in check.


Use Gentle Products & Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

The skin under the eyes is delicate and sensitive, so it's important to use gentle, non-irritating products. Avoid products with harsh chemicals and fragrances that can cause irritation and inflammation.

It's also important to apply products like eye cream correctly to get the most benefit. Use your ring finger to gently dab the cream around the eye area, being careful not to pull or tug at the skin. Apply the cream in a circular motion, starting from the outer corner of the eye and working inward.

In conclusion, early wrinkles under the eyes can be caused by various factors including aging, sun damage, smoking, genetics, dehydration, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and stress. However, you can take several preventative measures to keep your under-eye skin youthful and radiant.

Preventative measures include using sunscreen and sunglasses, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, managing stress, using gentle skincare products, and getting regular eye exams. By following these preventative measures and incorporating them into your skincare routine and lifestyle, you can help prevent the formation of under-eye wrinkles.

You need to take care of your under-eye skin as it is delicate and sensitive. Taking care of it properly can prevent premature aging and keep your skin healthy and youthful.

If you have under-eye wrinkles or any other skin concerns, it's always best to consult a licensed dermatologist or esthetician. They can provide personalized recommendations and treatments to help address your specific skincare needs.


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  • Suminori Akiba, Reiko Shinkura, Kukizo Miyamoto, Greg Hillebrand, Naohito Yamaguchi, Masamitsu Ichihashi, Influence of Chronic UV Exposure and Lifestyle on Facial Skin Photo-Aging –Results from a Pilot Study, Journal of Epidemiology, 1999, Volume 9, Issue 6sup, Pages 136-142, Released on J-STAGE November 30, 2007, Online ISSN 1349-9092, Print ISSN 0917-5040,,
  • Silke K. Schagen, Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki & Christos C. Zouboulis (2012) Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging, Dermato-Endocrinology, 4:3, 298-307, DOI: 10.4161/derm.22876


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Jade Serieys
A beauty journalist and copywriter with over eight years’ experience in the industry. Jade has contributed to print titles in magazines like Le Figaro and various publications before shifting to freelance writing.