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- Drugstore staple Aquaphor can be used on the under-eye area and face to lock in skin's moisture, especially in the dry winter months, for under $10.
- A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology has found a link between dry and skin and wrinkles, and Aquaphor delivers a level of hydration that can keep fine lines from forming.
- It can also be used as a balm for dry skin, dermatitis, and scrapes.
Years ago, I worked as a journalist on the entertainment news beat — which meant I spent a good amount of time face to face with impossibly beautiful actresses, singers, and socialites. In person, these women were even more flawless than you can imagine: perfect, plump skin, no fine lines in sight, and an otherworldly glow that can't be attributed to highlighter (or an Instagram filter) alone.
Luckily, the bulk of my job involved interviewing celebs about their beauty must-haves, and I paid special attention anytime anti-aging products came up in conversation. I always expected my high-profile interviewees to rattle off a long list of luxury serums, moisturizers, and creams that I couldn't afford (or maybe even pronounce); and most of the time, that's exactly what happened.
Until the day one of Hollywood's elite (who shall remain nameless — a journalist never reveals her sources, after all) confided in me her surprisingly low-key anti-aging eye treatment: Aquaphor, an under-$10 drugstore staple that you probably already have in your bathroom cabinet.
I admit that Aquaphor seems like an unexpected choice for eye care. The mineral-packed jelly is actually intended to heal cracked hands and feet or treat minor scrapes, and doesn't boast any fine line-fighting skincare ingredients like retinol or vitamin C. However, its ability to cover the outermost layer of skin with a watertight seal and lock in hydration makes it an anti-aging agent, as well.
Why? Because hydration has been shown to be the most important factor in remaining wrinkle-free. One study published in the British Journal of Dermatology observed a group of 122 women over a period of eight years, and found that over time, well-moisturized skin looks significantly younger than dry skin. In fact, subjects with hydrated skin saw only 22% more wrinkles over eight years, while participants with dry skin saw 52% more wrinkles. In other words, moisturization (along with sun protection, of course) is the key to bouncy, younger-looking skin — and Aquaphor is nothing if not extremely moisturizing.
A quick peek at the ingredients list proves it: With petrolatum as its base, Aquaphor creates a water-protective barrier around the area of application to help the skin retain moisture. It also includes hydration-sealing emollients like natural mineral oil and lanolin, and a waxy mineral substance called cerasin, which makes the formula safe for sensitive skin. Finally, Aquaphor is packed with pathenol, a derivative of vitamin B that stimulates skin cell regeneration, and chamomile, a natural anti-inflammatory.
It's worth noting that Aquaphor doesn't add hydration; it simply prevents a natural function known as Transepidermal Water Loss (or TEWL), in which water evaporates from the skin. This process speeds up as you age, leading to drier, thinner skin — aka fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. By keeping your moisture levels locked and sealed, Aquaphor basically defies the forces of time and nature. (Traditional moisturizers act in pretty much the opposite way — they add moisture, but don't seal it in.)
While all of that sounds great, I'll be the first to say that applying Aquaphor as an eye cream is not the most user-friendly experience. The thick, jelly-like texture is slippery and goopy and doesn't exactly sink into the skin; but the payoff is so, so worth it. I've been using this as my go-to eye treatment every night since this celebrity spilled her secret, and my skin has never looked more hydrated or glowing.
I reach for Aquaphor to treat any dry patches of atopic dermatitis that pop up — they're always gone by morning — and have even been known to slather a light layer on my cheekbones and brow bones during the day as a subtle highlighter. Aquaphor is also my #1 in-flight hydration hack. Frequent fliers, take note: I slather my face in the stuff after boarding, and by touch-down I'm the glowiest girl on the plane.
I can't get enough: I keep an extra-large jar in my bathroom, and travel-size tubes in my pockets, purses, and bedside table. With the weather getting colder and skin getting drier, I suggest stockpiling Aquaphor to keep the delicate under eye area plump and hydrated. You've got nothing to lose (except $10).
Buy the Aquaphor Healing Ointment for $9.96 (7 oz.) at Amazon.
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