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Sometimes in the summer, I leave work and I’m so exhausted I wish I could just rub an ice cube over my entire face. Or at least around my eyes, which feel pretty tired.
Thankfully, to get the cooling sensation, I don’t have to rub off my makeup and skin care products with ice cubes; there’s GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream ($29.00, Amazon.com), with ginseng and caffeine for a refreshing, depuffing sensation, and chamomile and green tea for a soothing, calming effect. Overall, its a perfect eye cream for women in their teens, 20s, or early 30s who are not overly concerned about fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, or lack of undereye firmness.
The term “ginseng” can refer to any of 22 related plants, but it is generally associated with P ginseng. It is widely used in contemporary Chinese medicine as a stimulant to increase metabolism and to regulate blood pressure and blood glucose, but the only recognized medical use in the United States is as a demulcent (soothing agent) in skin ointments (JAMA, 1979).
Ginseng is a rather rare ingredient in skin care, but it shouldn’t be. Ginseng extract significantly decreased wrinkle formation in rat skin after exposure to UVB light (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2008). In the same study, it has also been shown to decrease MMP-1, an enzyme that degrades collagen.
Ginseng is also believed to prevent cancer. A potent antioxidant, ginseng may upregulate the immune system when taken as a supplement or food, and protect cells from UV radiation as a topical treatment (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2010). In a product like GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, it will provide some antioxidant and UV-boosting protection, but you need to apply a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen over it for the best effect. I recommend using a physical sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxide around the eyes, as there is less irritant potential than with chemical sunscreens.
Caffeine around the eyes is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the benefits are aplenty: Topical application of caffeine has been shown by Lu et. al in 2007 to have a mild sunscreen effect and to inhibit UVB-induced cancer in mice. It has also been found that caffeine in certain delivery systems can diffuse the active ingredient, theophylline, through the skin and reduce the subcutaneous fat somewhat. Around the eyes, it will temporarily dehydrate the skin cells, resulting in a “depuffed” appearance.
On the other hand, caffeine use over time can thin the skin (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1998). While agents like retinoids and glycolic acid also thin the skin, these simultaneously increase collagen production, so the thinning effect is negated over time. With caffeine, not so much. So my recommendation is to use products with caffeine, like GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, as necessary. (Wake up with puffy eyes? Use it. Wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? Skip it.)
Green tea also prevents advanced glycation endproduct (AGE) formation, which is responsible for the hardened, rough state of collagen in old age. Unfortunately, this effect is more documented from drinking green tea, not topically applying it (Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics,
Lastly, green tea is a soothing agent, demonstrated to help 70% of the signs of rosacea in a 2003 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. My only caveat? Not all green tea extracts in beauty products are created equal: The best have the active component, EGCG, isolated from the green tea plant and concentrated in the lotion. One great line, Topix Replenix, is known for concentrated EGCG.
Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 is the new name for palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, not to be confused with palmitoyl pentapeptide-3. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 reduces inflammatory cytokines, known as interleukins (Clinics in Dermatology, 1999). By reducing inflammation, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 may potentially reduce the cumulative amount of damage that occurs following exposure to UV light, pollution, internal stress, and other pro-inflammatory factors. Cells exposed to UV radiation and then treated with Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 saw an 86% reduction of interleukin production.
There are very few studies that report the topical effects of palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 on its own. Despite this, it is included in a number of skin care creams, including Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Night and Avon Anew Rejuvenating Night Cream. [Read more: What are the Differences Between Peptides?]
GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream is great for teens, 20-somethings, and those in their early 30’s who are looking to stave off signs of aging, but not necessarily treat many of them. Ginseng, green tea, and caffeine all are antioxidants that increase UVB protection, but it is still necessary to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen around the eyes when using this product. As I said earlier, I recommend zinc or titanium oxide rather than chemical sunscreens around the eyes, as there’s a lower risk of irritation.
Because this product contains caffeine, which can thin the skin over time, I would use GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream only at those moments I had puffy eyes. That said, GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream is a very solid product – it could only be made better with the addition of a physical sunscreen and removal of the caffeine if marketed instead as an “everyday” rather than a “treatment” product.
Product Rating: 8/10
- High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients: 3/3
- Unique formulation or new technology: 2.5/3
- Value: 2.5/3
- Sunscreen: 0/1