Blue Plasma Orbital
Perricone's latest eye cream is sold with entertaining (at least to us) claims of attacking dead surface skin "gently" and "hydro-fusing" with specially enriched water, and, well, we could go on and on (and we will), but suffice it to say, this is another eye cream you can and should skip. Before you do though, check out the More Info section to find out why not everyone needs an eye cream, especially not a pricey, problematic one like this.
Frustratingly, the claims also mention that this eye cream can be paired with other eye treatments for additional hydration. Although there's nothing wrong with layering products for more moisture, given Blue Plasma Orbital's cost and its claims of hydration, to our way of thinking, it should provide enough moisture on its own, but we digress.
Turning to the formula: This product's relationship to exfoliating ("attacking") dead skin cells is based on its high amount of urea, an ingredient that, when present in higher concentrations, can exfoliate skin but isn't all that gentle. Urea isn't an acid (something the marketing for this product makes a big deal about), but it works in a manner similar to AHAs like glycolic acid. Very high amounts of urea are potentially irritating, as is the case here, so it's something to pay attention to in a product you'd use around your eyes.
By the way, urea is not a new ingredient, it's been around for decades, and typically is not included in facial products because of its smell and because it doesn't work as well as lower concentrations of AHAs or BHA ingredients such as glycolic or salicylic acids.
A worrisome inclusion is benzyl alcohol, a type of alcohol that can trigger free-radical damage and that, in this case, is also a fragrance additive. We suspect Perrione added such a high amount because not everyone will find the smell of so much urea pleasant (and it can linger).
This also contains the controversial ingredient DMAE, listed as dimethyl MEA. Perricone is quite fond of this ingredient, and we discuss the issues it presents in the More Info section. DMAE does not offer unique benefits for skin around the eyes.
We also encourage you to check out the More Info section to read about why the jar packaging for this eye cream is a problem for keeping the delicate light- and air-sensitive ingredients it contains stable during use. Simply put, jar packaging isn't the way to go with most products, but especially not products that actually contain anti-aging and beneficial ingredients.
Last, it must be said that Perricone's products tend to contain the same key ingredients in formula after formula, although their price points can vary dramatically. There's nothing of significance in this eye cream that's not found in several other Perricone products, including his facial moisturizers. We're all for variety in a line, but one would think that the formulas should be different enough to provide a valid reason for choosing one over the other, rather than relying on marketing copy about "enriched water," which this doesn't contain, it simply contains water.
- Contains a high percentage of urea in an amount that should provide reliable exfoliation.
- Some of the plant extracts and other ingredients have water-binding properties.
- Jar packaging won't keep some of the beneficial ingredients stable once opened.
- Contains nothing special for the eye area.
- Urea is not the best ingredient for use around the eyes.
- DMAE is a controversial ingredient for skin.
- Doesn't contain "enriched water," it just contains water, as indicated on the ingredient label.
- Contains an amount of benzyl alcohol that can trigger irritation.
Why Jar Packaging is a Problem: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Why You May Not Need an Eye Cream: Most eye creams aren't necessary. That's either because they are poorly formulated, contain nothing special for the eye area, or come in packaging that won't keep the key ingredients stable. Just because the product is labeled an eye cream doesn't mean it's good for your eye area; in fact, many can actually make matters worse.
There is much you can do to improve signs of aging around your eyes. Any product loaded with antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, skin-lightening ingredients, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and effective emollients will work wonders and those ingredients don't have to come from a product labeled an eye cream.
You would be shocked at how many eye creams lack even the most basic ingredients to help skin. For example, most eye creams don't contain sunscreen. During the day that is a serious problem because it leaves the skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage, and this absolutely will make dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles worse!
Whatever product you put around your eye area, regardless of what it is labeled, must be well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes! That may mean you need an eye cream, but you may also do just as well applying your regular facial moisturizer around your eyes.
Why DMAE is a Problem: As with most of Perricone's anti-aging products, this eye cream contains dimethyl MEA. Also known as DMAE, this ingredient is controversial because research has shown conflicting results. It seems to offer an initial benefit that improves skin, but these results are short-lived and eventually give way to destruction of the substances in skin that help build healthy collagen (Sources: Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, November-December 2007, pages 711–718; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Volume 6, 2005, pages 39–47).
Interestingly, there is a formulation challenge when including DMAE in skin-care products. To maintain the efficacy and stability of DMAE, the product's pH must be at least 10. A pH of 10 is highly alkaline, which isn't good news for skin because it increases bacteria content in pores, and causes irritation and dryness. Moreover, because almost all moisturizers (including serums and eye creams) are formulated with a pH that closely matches that of human skin (generally 5.5–6.5, which is on the acidic side of the scale), in all likelihood the DMAE included in skin-care products cannot have any prolonged functionality (Source: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Supplement 72, 2008, pages S17–S22).
An innovative eye treatment that has two powerful yet gentle modes of action. First, it bio-specifically attacks only dead surface skin. Second, it hydro-fuses with enriched water to rebalance skins hydration. Gentle enough to use daily to brighten the area around the eye and perfectly primes the skin for makeup. Pair with other eye treatments for additional hydration.
Perricone MD CosmeceuticalsAt-A-Glance
Strengths: A handful of good cleansers; a couple of worthwhile moisturizers for the eye area; several fragrance-free products; a few impressive makeup products.
Weaknesses: Expensive; long on claims not supported by evidence-based science; use of controversial ingredients throughout the line; several antioxidant-rich products are packaged in jars, which renders those beneficial ingredients less effective.
This dermatologist-developed line is perhaps the best known in an increasingly crowded field. The frenzy began with Nicholas Perricone's first book, The Wrinkle Cure, and continued when he appeared on PBS to discuss his book and namesake products, all of which seemed incredibly legitimate to consumers worried about how to look younger longer. PBS reaped a financial windfall from his appearance, netting millions of dollars between 2001 and 2002 (Source: www.quackwatch.org). Originally all the fuss centered around vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid, but as his success continued, Perricone wrote half a dozen more books and expanded his product line to include other over-hyped ingredients, each with claims (and price tags) more inflated than the last round.
We sourced the Web site Quackwatch.org because they have an excellent, unbiased report on the Perricone phenomenon. This non-profit site is operated by consumer advocate Dr. Stephen Barrett, and, to quote the Quackwatch Mission Statement, their purpose is "to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct." That's where Perricone comes into play. According to Quackwatch, Perricone's books "contain many claims that are questionable, controversial, fanciful, unsupported by published evidence, or just plain wrong. Although he mentions standard skin-care treatments, sometimes favorably, his books provide little guidance about when they might be appropriate or sufficient. Although he provides long lists of references, practically none of them directly support what he promises." Those sentiments are exactly what we felt and wrote after reading The Wrinkle Cure.
The site goes on to state: "Perricone's books are sprinkled with statements that his ideas are based on his own research. However, the extent and quality of this research is unclear. A PubMed search for his name brought up only six citations, of which only two appear to be original research, both on topical glycolic acid. His books describe situations in which he tested various ideas in a few patients, usually over a short period of time, but he provides few details and apparently published none of those findings in medical journals." Does that sound like the kind of products you'd like to spend (a lot of) your money on?
They go on to conclude (and we agree completely with the following text): "Dr. Perricone has mixed a pinch of science with a gallon of imagination to create an elaborate, time-consuming, expensive, prescription for a healthy life and younger skin. There is no reason to think his program is more effective than standard measures. Although some of his advice is standard, most of his recommendations are based on speculation and fanciful interpretation of selected medical literature. He makes lots of money by convincing patients and consumers, but he hasn't succeeded in convincing critical thinkers, doctors, scientists, or anyone who wants to see hard evidence. Perricone's prescription isn't science; it's creative salesmanship." And which ingredient is the answer for healthy skin? Perricone can't seem to make up his mind, because one group of products contains alpha lipoic acid, another group olive oil, another vitamin C, and still another neuropeptides. Come on, doctor, which is it?
One ingredient Perricone uses deserves some discussion because it is present in all of his products, and that's dimethyl MEA, also known as DMAE (chemically 2-dimethyl-aminoethanol). DMAE has been around for years as an oral supplement that's popularly believed to improve mental alertness, much like Ginkgo biloba and coenzyme Q10. However, the research about DMAE does not show the same positive results as the other two supplements. Because DMAE is chemically similar to choline, DMAE is thought to stimulate production of acetylcholine. And because acetylcholine is a brain neurotransmitter, it's easy to see how it could be associated with brain function. However, only a handful of studies have looked at DMAE for that purpose and they have not been conclusive in the least, while some have shown that DMAE may be problematic or not very effective (Sources: Mechanisms of Aging and Development, February 1988, pages 129138; Neuropharmacology, June 1989, pages, 557561; European Neurology, 1991, pages 423425; and European Journal of Medical Research, May 2003, pages 183191).
How does any of this translate into skin care, or, more to the point, suppressing the signs of aging? Perricone claims DMAE restores muscle tone to skin that has lost firmness and has begun to slacken, as well as conveying an antioxidant benefit. Johnson & Johnson uses DMAE in a few of their Neutrogena products, and a study they paid for appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (June 2005, pages 3947). The conclusion was as follows: "the benefits of DMAE in dermatology include a potential anti-inflammatory effect and a documented increase in skin firmness with possible improvement in underlying facial muscle tone." The study examined topical application of 3% DMAE over a period of 16 weeks, but it was not done double-blind and was not placebo-controlled, which makes the results, at best, questionable. Moreover, the study didn't examine whether a 3% or lower concentration of other ingredients, such as green tea, glycolic acid, vitamin C, or myriad others (many of which Perricone has extolled in his other products, and the amount of DMAE he used varies widely from product to product), might have had the same or better results.
Is there any reason to get excited (and drain your pocketbook) for products with DMAE? Apparently not; a study published in The British Journal of Dermatology (May 2007) has shown contrary evidence that it may actually pose risks for the skin. In vitro tests of the pure substance, as well as creams that contained DMAE, demonstrated a fairly fast and significant increase in protective elements around the skin cell. However, a short time later the researchers observed an important reduction in cell growth and in some cases they found that it halted cell growth altogether. So, while you may initially experience a kind of swelling of the skin because of the expanding effect caused by topical application of DMAE, the long-term results appear to be far from desirable.
Interestingly, even though this ingredient is present throughout Perricone's line, he has yet to publish his own research discussing the claims and explaining how topical DMAE works. The bottom line is that as more research comes to light, DMAE may prove more problematic than helpful for aging skin. But in the meantime, Perricone is raking in lots of money by convincing consumers otherwise.
For more information about Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals call (888) 823-7837 or visit www.perriconemd.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.