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Being a new parent is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also (understandably) exhausting. It’s full of late nights, early mornings, and little-to-no rest in between. So it’s no surprise if you’re rocking some heavy bags and dark circles under your tired eyes to show for it.
After all, there’s a reason they call it “beauty sleep.” There are several restorative processes that occur both mentally and physically while we sleep, explains Brendan Camp, MD, a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology.
“When we don’t get enough sleep we affect our body’s ability to produce collagen, restore the skin barrier function, and process fluids appropriately,” Camp says. “Sleep deprivation may also create dark circles by making the blood vessels under our eyes more pronounced; without enough sleep the vessels dilate and impart a blue or purple appearance.”
Luckily there are no shortage of skin care products on the market designed to alleviate your dark circles and puffy eyes.
There’s not a ton of research out there about what ingredients are and are not safe to use on your skin while breastfeeding, especially in topical eye creams which are used in such a small quantity.
Still, we prefer to play it safe, so all of these products went through our medical review process and were given the thumbs up for breastfeeding moms.
For this list, we took dermatologist recommendations and pored over customer reviews. Most of these products focus on natural ingredients, such as rosehip oil, aloe vera, and shea butter, for added peace of mind.
When talking about skin care products, it’s important to remember that what works for some people might not work for others. In all the reviews we read, every product had mixed results as everyone’s skin is different.
Additionally, if you have any specific skin conditions, it’s always smart to speak to your dermatologist before trying a new product on your skin.
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
Another ingredient worth mentioning is niacinamide, which has anti-inflammatory properties that help cut back on redness, notes Rina Allawh, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
“An added bonus this product is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic (i.e. won’t cause acne breakouts) making it ideal for acne-prone, sensitive skin,” she says.
CeraVe’s eye cream has mostly rave reviews, especially because it’s designed for sensitive skin and on the lower end of the price range. But a few folks complain that the formula is greasy so not great for layering makeup on top.
Botanics 80% Organic Hydrating Eye Cream
Rosehip oil is the star ingredient in this cream, working to help improve hydration in the eye area and soothe puffiness. Other ingredients include sweet almond oil, olive fruit oil, and shea butter to nourish the skin. It can be used morning and night in addition to your regular skin care regimen.
Some reviewers say that it’s fast absorbing, so you don’t feel any oily residue under your eye area — which is especially useful if you apply any makeup on top. Other reviewers say that while it’s certainly moisturizing, they didn’t see a big difference in their dark under-eye circles.
Preparation H with Aloe
Putting hemorrhoid cream under your eyes might not be the most glam morning activity, but dermatologists swear by it for reducing that puffiness that comes along with a poor night’s sleep.
“Preparation H is a vasoconstrictor, which means it narrows the blood vessels, helping reduce under eye puffiness and aiding in the blue-violaceous discoloration, contributing to the ‘tired’ appearance,” explains Allawh. “This easy trick can help maintain the coveted ‘well-rested’ look, while saving you a few bucks.”
A word of caution for this inside beauty hack: key ingredient in Preparation H is witch hazel, which can actually dry out the skin. Allawh recommends starting with a small test spot on your hand to check for any irritation reactions, especially in those with sensitive skin.
Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
This cream provides a trio of fatigue-fighting ingredients: peptides, vitamin C, and cucumber extract. “Peptides are short-chain amino acids that are used as the building blocks of proteins like collagen and elastin,” explains Camp.
Vitamin C is your go-to ingredient for those pesky dark circles, thanks to its brightening benefits, and cucumbers help rehydrate and soothe the skin with their naturally high water content, explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Drunk Elephant products are mostly well loved by those who use them, but they’re on the expensive side, making this half-ounce bottle a bit of a splurge. Some reviewers say the bottle ran out quickly, and others advise that they saw better results when they kept it in the fridge.
EltaMD Renew Eye Gel
This oil-free eye gel works hard on your under-eye area, reducing puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. “It contains an ingredient called HDI/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer, which helps brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines by diffusing light,” explains Allawh.
“It also contains vitamin C and niacinamide to help target and reduce redness and puffiness of the under eyes.” She recommends using this eye gel twice daily (morning and evening) for optimal results.
A lot of folks like this EltaMD product, but it’s definitely on the pricier end of this list.
100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
This plant-based, caffeinated cream was designed to shrink puffiness. It also contains rosehip oil, which hydrates and helps brighten, and vitamin C, which replaces lost collagen from the night before.
Another key ingredient is aloe, which aloe is widely used for burns and inflammation, and similarly may have a soothing effect for dry skin around the eyes, according to Zeichner.
Honest Beauty Deep Hydration Eye Cream
You may already be a fan of the baby-friendly brand Honest Company, founded by actress and mompreneur Jessica Alba, but you may or may not know that they sell a wide array of skin care products for parents too!
One of Honest Beauty’s most popular products is their Deep Hydration Eye Cream, which contains hyaluronic acid to draw water back into the skin and a soothing botanical blend that includes chamomile and calendula, which are both known to calm and soothe tired-looking skin.
Reviews are mixed when it comes to sensitivity, despite this product being fragrance-free. Some folks were happy with the results and say a little goes a long way so it’s great for the price. Others say they had a bad reaction to this cream and it irritated their skin.
emerginC Rawceuticals Eye & Lip Craft
This is another splurge-y option, but definitely hits the mark if you’re looking for something all natural. Rawceuticals uses a cold-press method to process fruit, vegetables, and seeds while retaining the nutritional integrity of the ingredients. The result is a balm of sorts, which warms to the touch for application.
This specific blend includes cocoa butter, coconut oil, and carrot seed oil, which
Our market editor is currently testing this product and says that the cocoa butter and carrot seed oil combo is definitely moisturizing and feels nice on the skin. But the consistency is definitely on the greasy side, so it’s not great for wearing under makeup. It also has a very distinct, earthy scent, so if you’re smell-averse, this might not be a great pick for you.
Goddess Garden Dream Repair Brightening Night Cream
This night-only cream is designed to brighten your skin while you’re (hopefully) asleep, taking advantage of the time that your cells rejuvenate. The ingredients are simple — naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids, mango extract, and licorice root — and work to hydrate, firm the skin, and stimulate collagen production.
The reviews are mostly positive for this night cream, with folks saying they experienced brighter, more moisturized skin after using it. But as it’s intended to be used on your entire face, there aren’t many reviews that speak to dark circles specifically. And a few people say they don’t like the scent.