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Get to Know the Ingredients in Eye Cream That You Need

Eye cream ingredients have become increasingly high-tech, as you've probably seen from trips to the cosmetic counter. Read a few labels and you'll see ingredients including retinol, vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy acids and more.

Today's creams do two main things: Tighten under-eye skin to reduce puffiness, and lighten dark circles. To help you figure out which ingredients do what, we talked to Howard Murad, M.D., a dermatologist in Los Angeles and creator of the Murad skincare line:

Firming ingredients: These include caffeine, alcohol, retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids, copper, and vitamin C. Caffeine and alcohol temporarily dehydrate skin, making it appear taut. Retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, copper, and vitamin C actually work under the skin to stimulate collagen growth. Because collagen supports the skin from within, stimulating its growth may, over time, firm the skin and smooth lines and wrinkles.

Darkness-inhibiting ingredients: These include vitamin K, kojic acid, and hydroquinone. Vitamin K has been shown to inhibit bruising, and doctors suspect it helps to counteract dark shadows caused by too much blood flow and minor bruising under eyes. Kojic acid and hydroquinone are skin-lightening agents, often found in bleaching and age-spot creams.

If this seems complicated, you can relax: Many of today's creams combine the above ingredients to both firm and beat darkness.

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