There’s a lot of factors to consider when thinking about the skin around your eyes, from diet to sun exposure and sleep. It’s no wonder why our eyes are always the first to broadcast our bad habits (late nights, leaving the house sans sunscreen, squinting at the desktop, etc.); the skin around our eyes is the thinnest and most fragile part of the face – meaning it’s far more susceptible to signs of ageing.

This just means we’ve got to take every precaution when treating and preventing them before crow’s feet start to appear. We know that when such fine lines and wrinkles start to manifest, it is hard to turn back time.

The tricky part is choosing the right under-eye cream to hydrate, de-puff and lift because what works for a 20-something just wouldn’t be as effective for a 50-something — and vice-versa. To help you, here’s a guide on why, when and how you should start taking care of your eye area. And if you haven’t started paying attention to it, maybe you should start today.

Why do our eyes age?

As we age, elastin and collagen levels in the skin begin to decrease. Naturally, this leads to a loss of firmness and density in our skin, hence the gradual appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the eye area over time.

Though it’s a general rule of thumb to combat the big bad trio (a.k.a other factors which accelerate ageing around the eyes) — the sun, fatigue, and pollution — by drinking loads of water, daily SPF and getting well rested, an eye care routine tailored to fit your age can play an even bigger role to re-stimulate the skin’s production of collagen and elastin fibers.

So where do we begin?

If you’re in your 20s

Skincare regimes for women in their 20s should be all about prevention. It’s important to slab on daily moisturizer with sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before you head out during the day.

When it comes to eye creams, look for an all-purpose eye cream with hydrating properties to keep your under eye area plump and firm even after boozy Friday nights. Try Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber De-tox Hydra-gel Eye Patches ($93) for calming, toning and tightening hungover eyes or Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream ($67) for deeper hydration. For an eye cream before makeup, the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème ($59) will moisturise and brighten your undereyes, thereby allowing foundation and concealer to lay better and last longer.

If you’re in your 30s

At this age, you may begin to see some signs of ageing which include hyperpigmentation and sullen, dark rings under the eyes. In your late 30s, you may also start to see some fine lines and textural changes. For those who can tolerate them, use retinol-based treatments to help to increase cell turnover and resurface your skin overnight.

Allies Of Skin Peptides & Omegas Firming Eye Cream ($125) is quite a splurge, but it contains bakuchiol, which is a plant-derived ingredient that has retinol-like properties. The formula is supported by peptides, ceramides and an omega complex to hydrate, plump and diminish the appearance of fine lines. For a budget-friendly alternative. Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask ($64) has encapsulated retinol to do the heavy lifting as well as nourishing avocado and antioxidant-rich coffeeberry extract. It Cosmetics’ Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream ($72) has a quick-drying formula which leaves the under eyes well hydrated and de-puffed while smoothing out fine lines.

If you’re in your 40s

In your 40s, dark eye circles become more prominent alongside deeper set wrinkles. Look for concentrated products which really target the area, and layer serums on top of more hydrating eye creams. Antioxidant-rich creams with ingredients like vitamin A, C, and E can also help to ward off free-radicals and support collagen production.

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream ($90) contains a potent blend of eight peptides, five forms of vitamin C and cucumber extract to brighten, hydrate and increase the firmness. Layer this atop of Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix Eye Power-treatment Fill & Firm ($89) to really pack a punch in speeding up surface cell turnover. The result? A boost in your skin’s production of natural collagen to reduce wrinkles and discolouration. For a fuss-free daytime eye cream, Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream ($81) employs a marine algae complex to hydrate, firm and smooth. It also has a pink tint that colour corrects dark undereye circles.

If you’re in your 50s

The same guideline for the above apply crucially at this age. As we age, the skin around our eyelids tends to droop and loosen because our bodies produce less collagen. That’s where this good stuff comes in.

Lancome Rénergie Yeux Multi-Lift Ultra Eye Cream ($110) is formulated with caffeine to eliminate dark circles and puffiness while also removing excess fluid and constrict blood vessels. It also supports natural collagen to improve the appearance of skin firmness. For extra TLC, go for the occasional eye mask for a hydration boost with lifting and firming properties. We recommend Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels ($46) for a quick pick-me-up that’s soothing and cooling to the under eyes. For those looking to really combat wrinkles and fine line, get SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex ($145) as it employs technology to target signs of ageing caused by glycation while hydrating the undereye.