Replenix All Trans Retinol Eye Repair Cream
This emollient eye cream is a mixed bag of good and bad. It contains a high amount of film-forming agents, which pose a risk of irritation. These film-formers (think hairspray-like ingredients) can make wrinkles appear smoother and perhaps make skin feel a bit tighter, but the effect is strictly cosmetic. Perhaps this eye cream's biggest appeal is the retinol it contains and the fact that Topix refers to it as "all trans retinol," but that is just another way to say retinol—it just sounds more medicinal. If anything, this verbiage is misleading and may lead consumers to confuse it with the prescription ingredient "all-trans-retinoic acid," which is what retinol becomes when absorbed into the skin. All-trans-retinoic acid is the active ingredient in Renova and Retin-A, among other prescription brands.
Despite the name implying superiority over "regular" retinol, this eye cream contains retinol just like lots of other products, but the other products cost a lot less. It's packaged to keep the retinol and other air-sensitive ingredients stable during use, but many other retinol products also come in good packaging. Despite the retinol this contains, in truth you don't need a special product labeled an eye cream (see More Info for details). In this case, the formula doesn't contain any ingredients unique for the eye area.
In addition to the retinol, this eye cream contains an intriguing mix of beneficial ingredients and small amounts of potentially problematic ingredients, including arnica powder and a form of fragrance known as ethylene brassylate. Arnica is sometimes included in eye-area products with claims to reduce puffiness, but it doesn't address this concern; in fact, it can be irritating, although the amount present in this product is a mere dusting.
Two intriguing ingredients worth explaining are pinanediol and camphanediol. These naturally derived ingredients stimulate nitric oxide production in the skin, and research has shown that doing so increases microcirculation as well as skin temperature. According to one study, these ingredients helped reduce dark circles, although only 7 of 27 subjects reported this benefit, which statistically isn't all that impressive. In contrast, other research has shown that pinanediol stimulates melanin production, a process that can make dark circles worse (Sources: Nitric Oxide, August 2006, pages 70–76; and Pigment Cell Research, February 1999, pages 36–47). Ultimately, these ingredients are a bit of a gamble, and most likely they negate each other's effects. What a shame that the weaknesses mentioned above are enough to make this a product to consider carefully.
Note: Within the Replenix line there’s another eye cream (Replenix Enriched Eye Repair Cream) whose formula is very similar to this one, minus the amount of film-forming agent and fragrance ingredient. That product could be seen as the better choice, and t’s a very good formula but it also contains arnica extract so that concern still applies.
- Emollient formula has good wrinkle-smoothing ability.
- Contains retinol plus other intriguing anti-aging ingredients.
- Packaged to keep the retinol stable during use.
- Arnica powder poses a risk of irritation.
- Amount of film-forming agents poses a risk of irritation.
- Contains fragrance in the form of ethylene brassylate.
- Contains an ingredient that can stimulate melanin production, potentially making dark circles worse.
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.
This retinol-based eye cream effectively fights the signs of aging in the delicate eye area without causing irritation. Formulated with vitamin K and arnica to combat dark circles. Peptide blend helps to encourage draining under the eyes discouraging puffiness and also address fine lines and wrinkles.
Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; several good products with retinol in varying strengths; good moisturizers and cleansers; very good body lotions.
Weaknesses: Expensive; the physician allure may seem enticing, but these products do not require a doctor's visit or medical supervision; no AHA or BHA exfoliants; no viable skin-brightening options; fragrant toner; the growth factors in the Citrix serums are potentially risky ingredients.
Topix is best known for its two chief skin-care brands, Replenix and Citrix. Of the two, we're asked most often about the Replenix collection; the Citrix line is smaller and focused on anti-aging products with vitamin C. The Replenix products contain a broader range of anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, green tea, and grape-derived resveratrol, and the claims are broader, too, so little surprise that the Replenix products appeal to more people concerned with signs of aging. Both Replenix and Citrix offer fragrance-free formulas, albeit at fairly high prices, which is typical of most physician-dispensed lines.
A chief selling point of Topix is its physician-dispensed angle, which gives the products a medical lan; in truth, however, not a single ingredient in these products is "medicinal," prescription, or exclusive to physician-sold products. That is, you don't need to see a doctor to be "prescribed" Topix products; rather, they can be obtained from several websites, no appointment necessary. The big question is whether or not you should add any Topix products to your shopping cart and the answer is "it depends."
Within the Replenix line, the most interesting products include the serums and moisturizers. Although none of them are superior to the best options available, most of them do offer good (though pricey) formulas that treat skin to a range of beneficial ingredients.
If you're keen on retinol (and it's a great anti-aging ingredient), Replenix has you covered with several serums offering different strengths of retinol. The various strengths allow you to "step up" to stronger retinol products once your skin has acclimated to the lower strengths. Although that sounds intriguing, it's not really necessary. As we explain in the reviews, more retinol is not necessarily better, and some may find the higher-strength retinol products too sensitizing, so caution is warranted. Indeed, some people cannot tolerate any amount of retinol!
The Citrix products aren't all that exciting unless you want vitamin C in every product. Although there's nothing wrong with vitamin C, it's a mistaken notion to focus on one hero ingredient because skin requires a variety of beneficial ingredients to look and act younger. Topix also adds growth factors to their Citrix serums, but these growth-factor ingredients are unproven for topical use and may present risks (we explain why in the reviews). In short, Citrix isn't all that exciting, and several of these products fall short in one way or another.
Our research revealed that Topix has some intriguing products, but, with few exceptions, there is nothing that you cannot find elsewhere for less money. It's important to let go of the notion that skin-care products sold at a doctor's office are superior to those sold elsewhere. The truth is: There are good and bad products in every retail outlet, knowing what you're buying is more important than where you're buying it or who's selling it!
For more information about Topix, call (800) 445-2595 or visit www.topixpharm.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.