This absurdly expensive fragrance-free eye-area serum is said to replenish elasticity and support collagen for tighter skin, but if that's true, then the same claim can be tagged onto almost any other ordinary gel-type moisturizer. This contains mostly water, slip agent, solvents, caffeine, an antioxidant, and some minerals.
One of the antioxidants is a synthetic ingredient, malonic acid, which is a strong skin irritant when used in pure form. Dr. Obagi claims it is part of a mineral complex clinically proven to stimulate elastin production, but the company cites only one supporting study, and it wasn't comparative (Source: Experimental Dermatology, March 2009, pages 205–211). In other words, the mineral complex appeared to improve elastin in the skin, but what about other ingredients that might have the same benefit, such as retinol or vitamin C?
Caffeine is alleged to improve undereye puffiness, but again, there's no research to support this—and, sadly, no skin-care ingredient can improve age-related puffiness that occurs when fat pads beneath the skin slip out of place (this issue requires surgery). Caffeine does have some antioxidant properties, so it's not a wasted ingredient in skin care, but it just doesn't perform as claimed.
We can't think of a good reason to use this eye serum, not only due to its eyebrow-raising price and relatively disappointing formulation, but also because, truthfully, you don't need a special serum for the eye area (see More Info for details).
- Formula lacks a range of proven anti-aging ingredients.
- Contains malonic acid, which can be a skin irritant, and isn't proven to be better than other ingredients at rebuilding elastin.
We know it's hard to believe, but the truth is you don't need a special product for the eye area, whether labeled eye serum or something else. Although there is much you can do to improve signs of aging around your eyes, the ingredients capable of doing that don't need to come from, and often aren't even included in, an eye serum. For example, most eye serums (such as this one) don't contain sunscreen, and that is a serious problem because it leaves the skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage, which will make dark circles and wrinkling worse!
You can save money and take superior care of your eye area by using your face product, if it is well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes!
Bi-mineral complex: Helps replenish elasticity and support collagen for tighter, smoother-looking skin. Malonic acid: Helps stimulate the production of healthy skin cells
for overall skin improvement. Caffeine: Improves appearance of under-eye puffiness.
Water (Aqua), Dipropylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Caffeine, Malonic Acid, Zinc Carbonate, Arginine, Laureth-9, Copper Carbonate Hydroxide, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.
Dermatologist Zein E. Obagi is behind this line, which claims to be your skin's key to transformation. Choosing to focus on the skin issues that plague many aging adults (chiefly, skin discolorations from sun damage and other sources and wrinkles), Obagi offers a mixed bag of cosmetic and prescription products sold only through authorized physicians, plastic surgeons, and accredited medical spas. That exclusivity may increase this line's cache with consumers, but let me assure you that most of what's offered isn't all that exceptional—and what's available by prescription can be prescribed in other forms by any dermatologist, so you don't need to seek one that retails Obagi's products. The highlights of this line are actually the prescription products. Several options with 4% hydroquinone are available as well as two products with tretinoin. There is a significant amount of research demonstrating that 4% hydroquinone, especially when combined with tretinoin, has a high success rate for persons dealing with stubborn skin discolorations or the skin condition melasma (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2007, pages 36–39; Cutis, January 2005, pages 57–62, and March 2006, pages 177–184).
The skin-care products Obagi sells to support the prescription-only options are either standard or below-average formulas that are easily replaced by less expensive options from other lines. Beware: This is a line whose proponents are adamant about the products being used as a system, so expect pressure to purchase an entire routine rather than cherry-pick what you really need. Savvy shoppers will find some viable options from Obagi, including a very gentle, fragrance-free sunscreen for someone with sensitive skin.
One more point: Obagi is also "known" for his Blue Peel. This is a standard trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel that has been performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons for years; Obagi simply instructs the practitioner to mix the TCA with a blue-tinted base. TCA is used for peeling the face, neck, hands, and other exposed areas of the body. It causes fewer pigmentation problems than other doctor-only peels such as phenol, and is considered excellent for "spot" peeling specific areas. It also can be used for medium or light peeling, depending on the concentration and method of application. AHA and BHA peels are considered light peels, and are often done in a series of six. TCA peels are best for fine lines and can be somewhat more effective on deeper wrinkling, but they are performed only once every couple of years. Many of the dermatologists we spoke to believe that a TCA peel is a viable option for many skin types, despite consumers' fascination with AHA peels.
For more information about Obagi, call (800) 636-7546 or visit www.obagi.com.