Dark Circle Night Serum
This fragrance-free product is a silicone-based serum packaged in single-use capsules. Although the formula contains a tiny amount of the well-researched anti-aging ingredient retinol, what’s being played up is the vitamin K (phytonadione) in the formula and its alleged ability to target dark circles.
Vitamin K shows up in some eye-area products claiming to get rid of dark circles. The association between vitamin K and dark circles has to do with the circulatory system. For some people, dark circles under the eye are caused by veins and capillaries showing through the thin skin under the eyes. Because ingestion of vitamin K is linked to correcting some circulatory problems, some cosmetic companies attest that adding it to skin-care products will have the same benefit.
As it turns out, there is some intriguing research to consider: A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (April 2004, page 73) examined the effect of applying a gel containing 2% vitamin K plus 0.1% retinol, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Fifty-seven adults with dark circles participated in this 8-week study and the results, while not overly impressive, they weren't exactly discouraging either: 47% of the testers noted "fair to moderate" improvement in their dark circles. The majority of testers noticed no change, but the treatment was well-tolerated. As encouraging as this seems whether or not the results were from the vitamin K or the other vitamins in the formula (retinol is truly good for skin) is unknown. But all of this is meaningless if your dark circles aren’t due to circulatory issues vitamin K won't help you.
One other point, there is no way this product contains 2% of vitamin K, so the test results wouldn't necessarily translate to this product.
There is reason to consider this product if you’re struggling with dark circles, but improvement isn’t guaranteed. Also, keep in mind that applying a well-formulated serum or moisturizer around your eyes (loaded with antioxidants) would produce better results for improving the appearance of dark circles—and it doesn’t need to be a special eye-area product either.
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 key ingredients stable. Just because the product is labeled as 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 as an eye cream.
You would be shocked 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.
Effective vitamin K that targets dark circles and lightens them.
NeoStrata Canada At-a-Glance
Strengths: Effective AHA products with glycolic acid and, in some instances, the polyhydroxy acid gluconolactone; good, but pricey self-tanner; some well-formulated moisturizers and vitamin C serums.
Weaknesses: Irritating anti-acne products; the AHA with sunscreen products do not provide sufficient UVA protection, leaving your skin vulnerable to the sun's aging rays; most of the skin-brightening products contain an irritating amount of alcohol; jar packaging; some of the products contain such large amounts of anti-aging ingredients that they tip the scales toward irritation rather than toward youthful benefits.
NeoStrata Canada is not associated in any way with the NeoStrata brand sold in the United States, and the product selections are completely different. We asked NeoStrata Canada's owner, Canderma Pharma, Inc., why many of the products are completely different, but no one would tell us, so it remains a mystery.
What NeoStrata Canada and the U.S.-sold NeoStrata products do have in common is an abundance of well-formulated AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) exfoliants at effective concentrations and at the correct pH levels. The prices are all over the place, but for the most part you can be assured that any AHA product you purchase from NeoStrata Canada will exfoliate your skin and provide additional benefits such as improved skin texture and tone.
Exfoliants are both lines' key selling point, but they're not perfect. For example, the AHA products with sunscreen do not provide enough critical UVA protection (meaning they lack the UVA-protecting active ingredients of avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Tinsorb, ecamsule, or Mexoryl SX). That lack is a disappointment for those who were hoping that an AHA plus sunscreen would be a convenience.
NeoStrata Canada has several other intriguing products that include impressive ingredients such as peptides, retinol, vitamin C, and the company's patented AHA alternative, the polyhydroxy acid known as gluconolactone. Despite including some great ingredients, the formulas suffer from the inclusion of irritants (alcohol is a big one) and/or packaging that won't keep the beneficial ingredients stable during use.
The serums with vitamin C are worth a look, if you're curious about vitamin C. However, you'd do better looking for vitamin C in a product that also treats your skin to a variety of beneficial ingredients because one antioxidant is never enough; your skin requires much more (just like your diet) to be healthy so it can look and act younger.
Because NeoStrata Canada's products are not associated with the NeoStrata brand sold in the United States, our team called NeoStrata Canada's customer service to get additional consumer information about their products. Unfortunately, NeoStrata Canada's customer service phone number was perpetually set to voicemail, and our numerous messages (all left as regular customers, not as investigators) were never returned. After two weeks, the one email reply we did get in response to a question concerning active ingredients said simply that they couldn't give us any information. Their solution was to tell us that we would have to locate the product on store shelves to answer our own question. Either our question was too probing or NeoStrata Canada's strength is not customer service.
For more information about NeoStrata Canada, call (800) 636-3664 or visit www.neostrata.ca.
Note: All prices are in Canadian currency.
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.