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Wrinkles typically signify a life well-lived, full of memories and unforgettable experiences – but eye wrinkles are just plain bothersome. Olay’s new Age-Defying Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream ($10.98, amazon.com) promises to reduce the appearance of orbital (around the eye) wrinkles using a combination of beta-hydroxy acid, green tea, and retinyl propionate, without all of the pain and hassle of surgery. If you suffer from crow’s feet, Olay’s new cream may just be the product for you.
Green Tea: Protects Your Skin in Many Ways
Green tea is good for more than a delicious and relaxing beverage — it’s actually a sort of miracle herb that has fights against skin cancer formation and free radicals. What makes green tea so powerful is its polyphenols, molecules that act as very aggressive antioxidants against a spectrum of free radicals, bacteria, and photodamage.
For example, it was found that topically applying a green tea cream reduced sunburned cells and DNA damage after UV rays exposure, and even encouraged cell regeneration. Given its sun-protecting properties, several studies have linked topical and ingested green tea to reduced risks of skin cancer. Additionally, green tea’s antioxidant properties allow it to eliminate tumor cells that may be found through the body. However, most studies have been conducted on mice or other animals, and more human subjects are needed (Journal of American Academy of Dermatology).
Aside from UV rays, green tea defends the skin against oxidative stress (damage from the sun, scarring, bacteria) and photoaging. For example, it blocks the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase that is responsible for breaking down your skin’s naturally-made collagen. The less collagen that your skin has, the more that it roughens, sags, and develops wrinkles. Green tea also inhibits lipid peroxidation, a process that diminishes the fat cells that give our skin its plump and smooth texture (Journal of American Academy of Dermatology).
Additionally, Katiyar, Ahmad, and Mukhtar mention that green tea is a wonderful soothing agent for skin inflammation, especially erythema, and sunburn. While this may seem like a minor benefit, protecting against skin inflammation can prevent some skin diseases and depletion of protective enzymes.
In short, green tea is a great skin-healing agent because it acts as a shield against virtually any attack. It encourages cell regeneration, which means that wrinkles could be partially filled in with newer, healthier cells. Fighting against UV damage, free radicals, and photoaging means that your skin is free to produce the collagen and fat cells that make our skin appear fuller and more youthful and is no longer affected by harmful enzymes like collagenase. Plus, it gets rid of precancerous and tumor cells.
Beta-Hydroxy Acid Help Exfoliate and Deal with the Acne/Fine Lines Dilemma
Beta-hydroxy acids works to moisturize your skin while gently removing bacterias. What makes this ingredient so special is that it is oil-soluble so it can easily enter even the most clogged pore — for this reason it’s often recommended by doctors to cure pesky black and white-head pimples. It will also clean up any dead skin cells or excess oils that may be lurking in the depths of your dermis, preventing future breakouts and revealing the beautiful you (Radiant Skin Clinic).
So what’s Beta-Hydroxy acid going to do for your wrinkles? By exfoliating your skin, there is room for new cells to emerge and theoretically fill the creases caused by wrinkles (University of Maryland Medical Center).
Retinyl Propionate: Smooths Skin, Not So Great for Lines and Wrinkles
Retinyl propionate is a form of Retinol, a commonly used skin-healing agent. It’s about 20 times less effective than retinol, which means that while it can help your fine lines and wrinkles, it won’t have the same results as retinol (Journal of Cosmetic Science). Because of it’s pH, retinyl propionate can be used with hydroxy acids without the issues that come along with retinol (Journal of Cosmetic Science).
Research by Fu et al. compared the wrinkle-reducing effects of niacinamide-peptide-retinyl propionate, and found that the retinyl-propionate cream had much good patient success. Specially, after four weeks patients reported noticeably improved skin smoothness and texture, while 58% of the patients had noticeably reduced wrinkles after eight weeks.
However, retinyl propionate’s anti-aging effects may be limited. A study on the effects of retinyl propionate on photo-aging (skin damage from sun, scarring, pigmentation issues) found that even after 48 weeks, very few of the 60 patients had noticeably improved skin. The researchers noticed that the length of the study and number of participants may have skewed the cream’s efficacy, and may conduct another study to review their results. It was noted that retinyl propionate did reduce the effects of actinic keratosis, or excessively dry, painful patches of skin.(Clinical and Experimental Dermatology).
Personal Use and Experience
My mother, Sandy, used this product over a two week period, applying it once in the morning and once in the evening. The cream was very lightweight, dried after only a few minutes, and didn’t leave behind any oily residue. Plus, it had a very faint scent to it, which is good if you use perfumes or scented shampoos. The only drawback to this product is that even if you use small amounts of cream to treat your wrinkles, the bottle will last only for a month before you need to purchase another.
After three days of using the cream, Sandy reported that her wrinkles were visibly smaller and less prominent, and that the skin around her eyes felt smoother and moisturized. After two weeks she still had wrinkles, but they were visibly finer than before and now more easily concealed with foundation. She reported that her skin tone was significantly more uniform afterwards, the wrinkle cream having reduced the appearance of her age spots and mild pigmentation issues.
After just two week’s time, Olay’s Age-Defying Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream visibly reduced my mother’s eye wrinkles and minor skin pigmentation issues on her face. A lightweight, scentless, fast-acting cream, Olay’s product provides a cost and time-effective product. Of course, products that have more powerful ingredients in higher concentrations will, undoubtedly, have a great effect. So if you want to really smooth fine lines and wrinkles, consider something like a retinol. But for someone looking to deal with very fine lines or skin they want to smooth, this could be a good product. Aside from skin repair, this cream should also protect against some UV and photaging damage (green tea), repair its texture (retinyl propionate) and gently exfoliate the skin to allow for new cell growth (beta-hydroxy acid).