The Best Eye Creams of 2011: The Friendly Friday Q&A Post

Beautiful Eye

Every Friday, we choose one question to answer in our new Friendly Friday feature.  We’re happy to hear from you!  Sign up for the Futurederm.com fan page on Facebook and submit your question.  Each week, we’ll pick one lucky reader’s question, and try to address the rest as best we can!

This week’s question:

Dear Nicki,

I have another query within  a week of my “retinol” query. The eye area is the first to give away a persons age . Which are the best eye creams that you would recommend? It’s been a while since you reviewed eye creams. since id like to make an educated purchase, It would be great if you could help me out. Most of them are pricey and I dont want to be wasting my money on the wrong one.

Sincerely,
S.B.

Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue1.  Best for Dark Circles:  Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue

There are few things in this world I think are worth $100+ for 0.5 ounces — maybe rare gems, a couple of collector’s items, perhaps a Chanel bag.  Unfortunately for my wallet, Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue is also one of them, particularly if you have dark undereye circles caused by excess melanin production [see below].  A 2004 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that a combination of vitamin K, vitamin C, and retinol provided moderate alleviation of dark circles better than any other formulation of those tested.  I’ve eliminated my dark circles from late nights studying in high school with this product, and it kept dark circles at bay during college.  Definitely a must-have!

Note that Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue doesn’t actually contain retinol – I normally apply a thinner eye cream with retinol first, such as Replenix Eye Repair Cream, and then I apply the gel-like Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue over the top.  It’s an amazing one-two punch against dark circles!

Not sure if your dark circles will be helped by this power punch regimen?  To find out the source of your dark circles, do the following test, from Dr. Heidi Waldorf M.D.: If you apply light pressure to the circle or shadow and it disappears, your problem is due to blood pooling under the eyes, so this product will not help you.  If the color doesn’t disappear, however, the darkness is caused by excess pigment (time for some Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue!).  And, lastly, if the shadow forms at the inside corner of your eye, where a tear would flow, it’s probably due to a deep tear trough, so this product won’t help.

Replenix Eye Repair Cream

2.  Best for Eliminating Fine Lines, Wrinkles: Replenix Eye Repair Cream

There are just some people I absolutely love to be around, the kinds of people who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty.  If those people were morphed into a cream, they would be called Replenix.

What I love about Replenix formulas is that they contain retinol and green tea and hyaluronic acid.  But not just any green tea – Replenix Eye Repair Cream ($60.00, Amazon.com) has a high concentration of green tea polyphenols, the active compounds of green tea.  The polyphenols in green tea have been found in a 2003 study in Molecular Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention to prevent UVB-induced oxidation of lipids and proteins in the mouse.  A 2003 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry also reports green tea reduces UVB-induced inflammation.  Rosacea sufferers get to cheer as well; according to dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden, M.D., “In a recent dermatological comparison study, the use of a lotion containing a tea extract produced a 70% improvement in rosacea compared to use of a lotion containing the base ingredients alone.”

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, touting all of the praises of retinoids several times a week.  But the reason I do so is because they work.  Retinoids are prescribed by dermatologists more than any other agent for treating fine lines, wrinkles, skin sagging, and other signs of aging.  According to research by Fisher et. al, retinoids are effective in preventing and treating the collagen loss caused by photodamage. UV exposure decreases collagen types I and III with 24 hours, but treatment of the skin with all-trans retinoic acid prevents the loss of these types of collagen synthesis. In addition, Fisher et. al has demonstrated that application of tretinoin inhibits the induction of matrix metalloproteinase genes, which are responsible for part of collagen degradation.

Rounding out the ingredients in Replenix Eye Repair Cream is hyaluronic acid, which has been found to bind up to 1000 times its volume in water.  The hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin to the extent that it can make it temporarily look more hydrated, fresher, and younger.  Can you say superachiever?  I love Replenix!

Ingredients: Purified Water, Glycerin, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Acrylates Copolymer, Acrylates/Steareth-20, Methacrylate Copolymer, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Polymer, Propylene Glycol, Cacrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Polyphenols, Myristyl Myristate, Myristyl Laurate, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pinanediol, Camphanediol, Dipeptide-2, N-Hydroxysuccinate.

NIA 24 Eye repair3.  Best for Brightening and Hydrating: NIA 24 Eye Rescue

As a rather investigative beauty blogger, I usually predict the effects of skin and hair care products very well based upon their ingredients, formulation (i.e., water-in-water, oil-in-water, microencapsulation, etc.), packaging, and other factors.  (Don’t be too impressed – it took four years and five hundred-plus posts to get to this point!)  But any time I have tried NIA 24 products, the results have consistently been above even my most calculated expectations.  The reason for this is two-fold:  One, NIA 24 products contain Pro-NiacinTM (nicotinic acid), a form of vitamin B3 included in very few other skin care regimes.  Most studies and research behind vitamin B3 are substantiated on the basis of niacinamide, the basic form of vitamin B3, so it is possible that nicotinic acid is a bit more potent than niacinamide.  The reason for this is likely to be slower delivery:  An NIA24 informational brochure attests that nicotinic acid  “goes beyond topical application to penetrate the epidermis in a slow, continuous release.”

Two, NIA 24 contains 5% nicotinic acid, while the most potent niacinamide product I have seen over-the-counter is 4%.  It may not sound like much, but 20% more vitamin B3 applied day and after day can really make a difference.

So what will this eye cream do?   Niacin has been found to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and to increase skin’s elasticity.  Sounds amazing – and it also works.  Within two weeks of using this cream every morning, I really saw a difference in the texture and brightness of my undereye skin.

Ingredients: Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Oil Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isopropyl Palmitate, Myristyl Nicotinate (Pro-Niacin®) Dimethicone, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Paraffin, Butylene Glycol, Polyacrylamide, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract Betula Alba Leaf Extract Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract Morus Alba Bark Extract Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil Fragrance (Parfum), Tocopheryl Acetate, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate Panthenol, Caffeine, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 Sodium PCa, Urea, Trehalose, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hyaluronate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide Steareth-20, Chrysin, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Dextrane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate Cetyl Phosphate, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Polysilicone-11, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Propylene Glycol , Tetrasodium Edta, Potassium Sorbate, BHT, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol

Olay Professional Pro X Eye Restoration Complex

4.  Best Value:  Olay Professional ProX Eye Restoration Complex

As I’ve said above, vitamin B3 as nicotinic acid or niacinamide (as seen in Olay products) has been found to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and to increase skin’s elasticity.  But there are customers out there who refuse to buy anything other than drugstore products, and I respect that, because drugstore products typically have more funds devoted to research and development and can save you hundreds of dollars per year.  With that said, one of my favorite over-the-counter eye creams is Olay Professional Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex ($17.99, Amazon.com), because it contains about 4% niacinamide, the highest concentration sold over-the-counter.  It also contains peptides, which will help to firm the skin over time.  I personally have used this over a mild retinol cream at night over the gentle undereye area, and I have had dramatic results.

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Isohexadecane, Polyethylene, Caffeine, Isopropyl Isostearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Panthenol, Palmitoyl Dipeptide 7, Palmitoyl Dipeptide 4, Carnosine, Dimethiconol, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Acrylate Acryoldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, PEG 100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sucrose Polycottonseedate, Titanium Dioxide, Polysorbate 80, Propylparaben, Stearic Acid, PEG 4 Dilaurate, PEG 4 Laurate, Decyl Glucoside, Lactic Acid, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, PEG 4, Citric Acid, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Ammonium Polyacrylate, Disodium EDTA

Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care

5.  Best for Aging Prevention:  Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control SPF 30

I’ll be honest:  Normally before I go out in the morning, I apply my sunscreen all over my face, including to the skin under my eyes.  There are only two main differences between eye creams and regular moisturizers:  One, an eye cream is a a thicker, more hydrating formulation for the thinner, more “used” under the eyes.  Two, some eye creams also contain less concentrated forms of the regular cream, so as to not upset or inflame the delicate eye skin.

Most dermatologists still recommend patients use separate eye creams, lest patients start using 30% glycolic acid designed for the face or something potent like that around their eyes.  With that said, for daily morning use, there is nothing better than a sunscreen, and Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control SPF 30 ($24.99, Amazon.com) is amongst the best I’ve seen or used.  It protects well, glides on evenly, and absorbs quickly enough into the skin to apply your make-up within a few minutes.  Given that UV light is the number one contributor to signs of aging, this is a must-have for daily prevention!

Relastin Eye Silk6.  Best for Firming:  Relastin Eye Silk and Kate Somerville (tie)

I like both of these products, and if money is no object, you can use them both at the same time.  (!)  Revance Therapeutics is responsible for the development of Relastin Eye Silk ($65.00, Amazon.com), a moisturizer (or eye cream) with a patent-pending Zinc-Firming Complex that actually causes elastin levels in the skin to increase. This is largely unprecedented, as most other formulations only attempt to preserve current elastin levels in the skin.  The data shows that the skin is significantly firmer after six to eight weeks of use.  On the other hand, Kate Somerville Line Release Under Eye Repair ($125.00, Amazon.com) contains three different types of peptides, including clinically-proven acetyl hexapeptide-3 and Matrixyl™ 3000 for firming, as well as Dermaxyl® to reportedly increase transport within the skin.

Unfortunately, whether with the Relastin Eye Silk Zinc Complex or the Kate Somerville triple peptide complex, you’re going to have to wait about six to eight weeks of daily use for results.  This is because firming occurs when fibroblasts within the skin are stimulated to produce more collagen and elastin, a process that takes a significant amount of time.  With that said, if you’re willing to put in the time and the money, these products will generate a significant improvement — I’d say about 30-50% increased firmness within two months!

Ingredients in Relastin Eye Silk: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Zinc Complex, Mica, Titanium Dioxide.

Ingredients in Kate Somerville Line Release Under Eye Repair: Purified Water, Cyclomethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Octyl Cocoate, Lecithin, Glycolipids, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Tribehenin, Trehalose, Ceramide 2, PEG 10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Tripeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Urea, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Oxido Reductases, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.

Bottom Line

There are incredible eye creams on the market today for just about every purpose.   I’d say that the big 5 in skin care right now are sunscreen (day), retinoids (night), peptides (night), niacinamide (either or both), and antioxidants (both day and night), and the above list covers all of your bases.

What are your go-to eye creams?  Let me know in Comments!

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6 thoughts on “The Best Eye Creams of 2011: The Friendly Friday Q&A Post

  1. Rachel says:

    I have started using Green Cream (level 6) again after taking a break to try a Neutrogena retinol. Bad decision, it did nothing for me! I will be buying the OLAY eye cream you’ve mentioned above. I am saving for a wedding in October and need to go with the best value product!

    Is it okay that I use the green cream under eye?

  2. futurederm says:

    @Rachel – I’m sorry to hear that the Neutrogena product did nothing for you! This is probably because it has a retinol content that is, by my best estimate only, about 0.025%. On the other hand, Green Cream Level 6 is 0.6% – about 24 times higher! – so you should get excellent results. Keep me posted!

    On the record, do not use it under your eyes. Retinoids can thin the skin, and while this boosts collagen production, the skin under the eyes is naturally thinner than the rest of the face to begin with, as it is subject to wear and tear. Off the record, I have done this from time to time, mainly in the winter months and always at night – when there are less UV rays circulating – and I’m pretty happy with the results. But, of course, this is “off the record”, and I can’t recommend that to anyone!

    Hope this helps
    -Nicki

  3. Pingback: Daily Question: What Do YOU Use On Your Skin, FutureDerm? | FutureDerm.com

  4. DawnT says:

    I was looking for the best product for under eye bags. I’m 40 and mine are a family trait that make me look much older than I am! I know surgery is the only cure, but what is the best product for improving them? Thanks!!

  5. Pingback: What Do YOU Use On Your Skin, FutureDerm? | FutureDerm - Skin Care - Retinol - Beauty Blog

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