Eye Treatment 101 by Sarah Boehman

This scene is all too familiar.  Your current under eye treatment has failed you and you’ve tossed it under the bathroom sink on top of all the other products you’ve purchased that don’t seem to work either.  You’re frustrated, annoyed and out another $50.  You grab your purse and keys and drive to the nearest department store only to be sucked in yet again by the overly excited sales clerk who is selling the latest and greatest eye care system that you just “like….just have to have because it has all of these like….peptides and anti aging ingredients….” Your mind wanders off thinking about what you are going to order from Starbucks on your way out and before you know it, the overly excited sales clerk is handing you your beautifully wrapped package and thanking you for your purchase.  What on earth just happened?  Could you have possibly made ANOTHER eye treatment purchase without first doing your research?  Has the mound of unused eye products under your sink taught you nothing?

We understand.  The thought of making an eye treatment purchase is overwhelming.  Should you buy a serum or a cream, possibly even a gel?  With hundreds of thousands of products on the market, many claiming to provide the same results, how can you be sure that the product you are buying is actually the best product for you?

Today we are going to explore the world of eye treatments, specifically the difference between serums and creams.  The answers may surprise you!

In order to determine which type of product you need, you must first understand the types of aging.  The first type of aging is genetically based, aging that we are predisposed to.  The second type of aging is caused by environmental factors, such as sun and UVB damage, stress, lack of sleep, smoking and alcohol.  Both factors result in dark under eye circles, puffy eyes, crows feet, and fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.

The signs of environmental aging can be reduced with the right product.  How do you know which type of product is best?  Serum or cream or maybe even a gel?  We’ve done the research for you!

Let’s first explore eye serum.  An eye serum is defined as a topical agent that has become a recent phenomenon in the anti-aging industry. Eye Serums are designed for daily use, under and around the eyes.  They tend to be lightweight, glide on smoothly, absorb quickly and can be worn under makeup.  Many eye serums do not have a color or a distinctive smell.  They act as a compliment to an overall anti-aging skin care regimen.  Most eye serums claim to remove dark circles under the eyes, improve the appearance of wrinkles, and reduce the depth of fine lines.  Ingredients normally include peptides and or antioxidants. Some serums also include ingredients such as Haloxyl.  Halyoxl has been identified as the primary ingredient in products that make claims to reduce dark-circles under the eye region.

I sampled a few products for you.  The first product, called Elite Serum, made by SkinPro, claims to be a leading skin treatment for people looking to reduce the visibility of dark under eye circles, eye wrinkles, and other skin issues around the eyes. Elite Serum was named “An Anti Aging Breakthrough” by Best of 2011 – Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeons.  The packaging is unique, unlike any other that we’ve seen on the market.  It comes in the form of a syringe, without the real needle of course.  This product has a total of 7 peptides and red and green seaweed extracts to moisturize and help reduce wrinkle depth.  Most notably, this product includes Argireline, a key anti aging peptide.  This product seems to be one of the few on the market that includes Argireline.  There is no color and no fragrance.  This product has a cooling effect when applied to the skin and absorbs quickly.  Over a 2 week period, I noticed significantly lightened under eye circles, softened fine lines and reduced puffiness.  This is a product that I would certainly continue to use and would recommend to you. In fact, my colleague Ronald Gold, who’s opinion I highly trust, has been raving about this particular eye serum for months now.

The second product I tested is a serum called Freeze 24-7.  This product has several similarities to Elite Serum, in that it claims to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles directly under and around the eye area within minutes of application as well as reduces the appearance of dark circles and puffiness around the eye area.  This product is also a lightweight, fast-absorbing, topical serum, which causes a cooling, toning sensation when applied to the skin.  This product does not contain Argireline or Haloxyl, but does contain an ingredient called GABA.  When used in conjuction with other key ingredients, GABA will work to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  I noticed somewhat of a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and reduced puffiness with this product. However, the results were not significant enough to continue use.

Both products have similarities, different key ingredients, and both produce results.  I would recommend Elite Serum over Freeze 24-7 based on the fact that Elite Serum has more key anti aging ingredients than Freeze 24-7, at a lower price point.

You now know what a serum is, how its used, what its comprised of and which product to buy, so let’s take a deeper look into the world of eye creams.

An eye cream is a specifically formulated product for the eyes to mitigate any kind of harm done by weather conditions or any stress or lack of sleep conditions.  Eye creams claim to help people keep their eyes younger looking.  There are creams that are tinted, which help mask the appearance of dark under eye circles.  Often times creams have a fragrance to them.  They can be heavy and greasy, making it difficult for the skin to absorb, causing makeup application to be a disaster.  Eye creams are often time best used at night, although many makers encourage twice daily use.

I sampled Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology Intensive 3-in-1 Eye Cream.  This product is said to hydrate, lift, and firm skin and stimulate collagen to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  This product contains Argerline, that very famous peptide that Dr. Oz likes so much.  That is a major plus, as the Argerline, helps to combat aging.  However, Argerline is one of the only specific anti aging ingredients.  This product is said to be an alternative to Retinol.  The product goes on smoothly, absorbs fairly well and does help the eyes to feel hydrated.  It did help visibly reduce the fine lines and wrinkles, but because this product has no ingredient to assist with puffiness and dark circles, you will need to follow up with a second product that specifically targets dark under eye circles and puffiness.

The second eye cream we tried was Olay Eye Regenerating Cream.  Olay is a household name, creating beauty products for over 60 years.  This isn’t a company new that is new to skin care.  The Olay Eye Regenerating Cream is a tinted, anti-aging cream that claims to Hydrates and smooths the undereye area, conceals dark circles, and lightens spots over time.  The Amino-peptide and B3 complex, moisturizes and renews cells and the titanium dioxide brightens and conceals dark circles.  This product is fragrance free, glides on smoothly and is tinted, so you do not need to wear a separate concealer over it.  This product certainly helped to conceal under eye circles and even somewhat improved them over a short period of time, however, this product lacks the ingredients to fight wrinkles.  It is merely a dark circle diminisher and concealer in one.  You will still need to use an anti aging and moisturizing product in addition.

The biggest difference between serums and creams is that creams seem to lack the ability to offer a solution to all of the eye issues in one pretty package.   There are separate creams for wrinkles, under eyes, dark circles and puffiness, but there are very few creams that offer ingredients to combat all of these issues with one product.  A cream seems to be nothing more than a glorified moisturizer.  Many creams even direct you to combine an under eye cream with a serum, for maximum results.

Most serums include a wide enough array of ingredients, to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dark circles, reduce puffiness and hydrate, with the use of one serum, no additional products and no additional cost.  Serums are also a better choice for anyone with acne prone skin, as many creams can be heavy and clog pores, leading to additional acne breakouts.

I highly recommend the use of an eye serum for all of your eye care needs!

Sarah Boehman is a nationally syndicated fashion writer and guest contributor to EyeSerum.com