We have been told that one’s eyes are the windows to your soul. At The Good Chemist, we push it a step further. We emphasize that our eyes are the windows to our emotional, mental and physical health. Fine lines, puffiness, blemishes, and dark circles are just a few of the signs of stress, anxiety, pressure, dehydration and lack of adequate sleep.
This is why we believe that finding an eye care ‘solution product’ is like winning the beauty lottery. While many individuals want to find multiple products to cure each ailment, we stand by the philosophy to find one product that works for the face and the eyes. A good treatment cream is essential to one’s beauty regimen - meaning that the cream should include active ingredients beyond simple moisturizers in order to obtain lasting results.
How is the eye area different?
The skin around the eye is unique from any other area of the body and merits special attention from the world of skincare products. Some major points to consider are:
- The skin itself is very thin, and because of that, the skin around your eyes is the first to develop fine lines and wrinkles
- The tissue below the eyes produces little to no oil, to keep the area soft and supple.
- The fatty pads under the eyes diminish over time, resulting in loss of volume
- As collagen breaks down from sun exposure and age, this skin loses elasticity
Why do eyes seem to age first?
Now you know that the skin around this area is more vulnerable and delicate than any other facial skin - which is why it is the first to show signs of aging. There are two medically recognized 'causes' of aging skin - Intrinsic (the natural weakening of skin as we age) and Extrinsic (damaging effects of sun, smoke and other pollutants.) Intrinsic aging manifests as sagging, where as Extrinsic shows more as creases, rough texture and crinkles.
Do eye creams work?
Can anything really be done about crow’s feet and crinkly skin around the eyes? Fortunately, yes. Third-party research published by the National Library of Medicine shows clinical improvement in the texture of skin, reduction of wrinkles and smoothing of fine lines as a result of using topical retinoids (vitamin A derivatives)*. Why third-party research? This is independent scientific research that is not funded by a skin care company advocating for their own products. Although sponsored research can be completely valid, we prefer to rely on completely independent research that bears no hint of bias.
How to choose the best anti-aging eye cream
Which retinoid to use can be a confusing and difficult choice. Dermatologists will often prescribe a cream-based tretinoin formula (Renova is one brand name) to treat wrinkles. The pros: the FDA has approved topical tretinoin as an effective treatment for reducing wrinkles. The cons: Requires a prescription, and, as the strongest form of retinoid available, tretinoin often causes irritation, dryness and flaking during treatment.
Derivatives of tretinoin, also known as precursors since they convert to the same active ingredient in the skin, include retinol, retinyl palmitate and other forms of retinoids. Turning to research once again, retinol is shown repeatedly to be the most effective form of non-prescription retinoid*. Moreover, it produces far fewer side effects (erythema/redness, irritation, flaking, dryness.). For this reason The Good Chemist team has focused on retinol as the key power ingredient in our eye treatment cream.
Our solution: Renew Balm for eyes
The Good Chemist’s signature product, Renew Balm, delivers powerful ingredients that smooth and firm the delicate skin around the eyes: 1% retinol (a highly effective concentration,) and peptides to signal new collagen growth and cell turnover. Since we know that retinoids -even retinol - can cause some dryness or irritation, we have formulated Renew Balm with soothing ingredients including Shea butter and jojoba oil. The result is that your eye area skin gets a dose of powerful anti-agers along with a rich base that keeps this delicate skin silky and plump. This extraordinary balm is luxurious and comforting while stimulating skin to be visibly smoother.
When to start
When is the right time to start using retinol? Studies have shown it has terrific preventative power of retinol against thinning and aging of skin. We recommend starting the use of retinol in the late 20’s or early 30’s for maximum preventative benefit. Retinol is effective for men and women and is often recommended for men as the one ingredient to look for when beginning to use anti-aging products.
The greatest improvement for people experiencing signs of aging around the eye area starts around age 40, and increases with age. Our peak customer age range is between 40 and 60, which makes perfect sense. After all, that's when those eyes really start to look older!
The last word
One last tip? The skin of the neck and décolletage is very similar to that around the eyes, having very few oil producing glands and being naturally thinner than skin on the rest of the face. Our founder, Linda, uses Renew Balm on her neck as well as the eye area every night. Many of our customers use it on their face and neck as well, and have reported visible improvements. Give it a try!
*Excerpt from “Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety”
US National Library of Medicine
Vitamin A alcohol or all-trans retinol belong to the family of endogenous natural retinoids and is a precursor for synthesis of endogenous retinal and retinoic acid. Although all-trans retinol has been used in OTC cosmetic products since 1984 (Rolewski 2003), its potential in the treatment of photoaging was realized when Kang et al (1995) showed that application of all-trans-retinol on normal human skin induces epidermal thickening and enhances the expression of CRABP II and CRBP mRNAs and proteins, as does retinoic acid. Moreover, the authors also observed that retinol showed only minimal signs of erythema and irritation unlike tretinoin. In another study (n = 6; duration = 14 days), Fluhr and colleagues (1999) confirmed that retinol produces considerably less transepidermal water loss, erythema and scaling than retinoic acid. Interestingly, Fisher and colleagues (1996, 1997) further demonstrated that retinol inhibits UV induction of MMP and stimulates collagen synthesis in photoaged skin. However, it was observed that retinol is 20 times less potent than tretinoin and it requires further conversion to retinoic acid (in vivo) to demonstrate its action (Kurlandsky et al 1994; Kang et al 1995). Duell and colleagues (1996) demonstrated that retinol could be as effective as retinoic acid in producing ‘retinoid mediated histological changes’ (like epidermal thickening and keratinocyte proliferation), but with much less irritancy. Pierard-Franchimont and colleagues (1998) first conducted a controlled clinical trial with retinol formulation.
They observed that retinol formulation resulted in significant improvement in fine wrinkles after 12 weeks of treatment. Subsequently, Varani and colleagues (2000) studied the effect of topical application of 1% retinol in 53 individuals (80 years or above) with aged skin. The authors observed that retinol application for 7 days reduced MMP (matrix metalloproteinase), collagenase, and gelatinase expression with concomitant increase in fibroblast growth and collagen synthesis in the studied tissue specimens. Thus, it can be concluded that retinol should be effective in the treatment of aging and photoaging. However, the vehicle used for retinol delivery would play a crucial role in eliciting its efficacy, as retinol is extremely unstable and easily gets degraded to biologically inactive forms on exposure to light and air.
*Buchanan PJ, Gilman RH. Retinoids: Literature Review and Suggested Algorithm for Use Prior to Facial Resurfacing Procedures. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2016;9(3):139-144. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.191653.