The active ingredients of this cream are Rosa centifolia flower water, Helichrysum italicum extract, Hedera helix extract and hydrolyzed wheat protein. Purpose of the Product According to the manufacturers of the product, Immortelle Eye Balm produces anti-aging effects by reducing dark circles and puffiness around the eyes and by reducing signs of tiredness. Biological Background What is ageing and what causes dark circles around the eyes? Accumulation of changes in the body over a period of time is known as ageing. Every human being goes through this process.
While it is not possible to decrease the age of any individual, it is indeed possible to decrease the noticeable effects of aging. The most visible effects of aging are first seen around the eyes (Mayoclinic, 2008). This is because the skin in these areas is the thinnest in the body and there are many blood vessels below the skin which can be easily seen when they get dilated during exhaustion. Thus dark circles appear easily in a tired person. To some extent, the muscles of the upper and lower eyelids hold the fat pads in place and this is known as toning.
Ageing causes loss of elasticity of these muscles and also the skin thus causing sagging around the eyes (BNET, 2005). This is called loss of tonicity. By preventing or curing dark circles around the eyes, it is possible to make an individual look younger. Dark circles and wrinkles around the eyes can be prevented by increasing the tonicity of the upper and lower eyelids. This can be done by increasing micro blood circulation to the skin and muscles around the eyes and by preventing radical actions of various toxic by-products of metabolism.
This cream is expected to produce anti-ageing effects in terms of reducing dark circles, puffiness, and also signs of tiredness around the eyes by means of soothening, moisturizing, nourishing and toning of the delicate skin around the eyes. These effects are due to the main components of the balm namely, Everlasting, Hundred petalled rose, Ivy, Soft Wheat and Tocopherol. Everlasting is nothing but Helichrysum italicum, a Mediterranean aromatic plant. Oil from this flower is said to combat skin ageing naturally due to antiradical properties.
The cellular membranes are protected due to antradical action, thus preventing aging. Also, firmness of the skin is enhanced by stimulating collagen production. The oil also increases cutaneous microcirculation, thus boosting cell renewal (Loccitane en Provence, 2009).. Oil obtained from Hundred petalled rose or Rosa centifolia has a sweet and flowery perfume. It causes anti-aging effects by softening and purifying the skin and also causing toning. The oil also has astringent properties. The floral water extracted from the flower produces comfort and a sensation of freshness (Loccitane en Provence, 2009).
Ivy or Hedera helix has many medical properties. Extracts from this plant have regenerating and vasoconstricting properties which improve microcirculation and thus help in combating under-eye dark circles and puffiness (Loccitane en Provence, 2009). Oil derived from the germ of Soft Wheat or Triticum vulgare is very norishing in nature. The oil also has regenerative properties (Loccitane en Provence, 2009). The peripheral layer of the grain, also known as aleurone is a rich source of minerals and Vitamin-B and hence this part of the grain is used to strengthen the epidermis.
Another important ingredient of the product is Vitamin E which is an important antioxidant. By virtue of this property, the vitamin prevents the damage caused by certain byproducts of the body (Obikoya, 2009). Evaluation of Product Effectiveness By virtue of the above mentioned properties, Immortelle Eye Balm is supposed to be an effective anti-ageing product. But these effects can be achieved only if the product enters the skin and really causes the effects. This depends on the bioavailability of the active ingredients of the product.
I have searched the literature thoroughly and found no data pertaining to the bioavailability of the active ingredients of the balm. There is some research on the bioavailability of essential oils from herbs when applied to the skin. According to Rosen et al (2006), cutaneous application of essential oils from herbs results in the absorption of the active ingredients. This statement is not based on proper evidence. Another research has shown that Wheat germ oil has twice the bioavailability as synthetic Vit. E (Doctors Research, n. d. ). Even this is not backed with proper evidence.
Hence it is unclear whether the active ingredients really cause the benefits as boasted by the manufacturers. Marketing of Anti-Aging Products There are many anti-aging eye balms in the market. Some of them are Garnier, Nivea, Healthspan, Clarins, Kinerase and Clinique. Many of these products have similar ingredients and are available at much lower prices than Immortelle. There are no comparative studies which tell which cream is superior. There are many anti-aging products available in the market which claim to reverse the process of aging.
While some are meant to be consumed orally, others are available in the form of creams and lotions. Recent years have seen a rise in these products. Internet, being a widely used medium of communication is a host of many Websites which market anti-aging products. How effective these products are, is a debatable question. Many anti-aging topical applications like Immortelle Eye Balm claim to have active ingredients which are mainly derivatives of herbs. Research of literature pertaining to the mode of action, bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of these herbal derivatives produced limited data on the efficacy of these products.
It is unknown as whether these herbal oils get really absorbed into the skin and produce the effects as displayed by the product brochure. The enormous rise in the market of anti-aging products definitely shows that more and more people are buying these stuff. Whether these people are imagining benefits and buying the products, or are really finding these products beneficial is not yet known. Research has shown that anti-aging interventions can have deleterious consequences on the welfare of the consumers.
These ineffective and useless treatments can preclude the individuals from paying attention to more beneficial regimens. The products are so costly that financial drain also may occur. Though there is no evidence about the benefits of these treatments, since there are no market regulations, these products continue to pour in. Definitive case-control studies should be used to support these formulations and only after these clinical trials establish the benefits of the formulation that they should be allowed to enter into the market like any other pharmaceutical drug. Conclusion
According to the manufacturers of Immortelle Eye Balm, this cream produces anti-aging effects by reducing dark circles and puffiness around the eyes and also by reducing wrinkles around the eyes. These effects are expected to be produced by the four active herbal ingredients in the cream. However there is limited data on the bioavailability of these active ingredients when applied to the skin. Research has shown that anti-aging products do not have any benefits and their entry into the markets should be based on controlled-trials to avoid unnecessary expenditure and hazards to the consumers.
References BNET Health Publications (2005). Diminish dark circles: what causes those persistent under-eye shadows”and simple tips on how to minimize them. Retrieved on 11th April, 2009 from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_7_24/ai_n13606392/ Doctors Research. (n. d. ). Wheat Germ Oil E. Retrieved on 26th April, 2009 from http://www. doctorsresearch. com/prod_wheat. htm Loccitane en Provence. (2009). Ingredients from A to Z. Retrieved on 11th April, 2009 from http://usa. loccitane. com/FO/Services/GlossaryDetail.
aspx? id=38 Mayoclinic. (2008). Dark Circles under eyes. Mayoclinic. com. Retrieved on 11th April, 2009 from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/dark-circles-under-eyes/my00346 Mehlman, M. J. , Binstock, R. H. , Juengst, E. T. (2004). Anti-Aging Medicine: Can Consumers Be Better Protected? The Gerontologist, 44, 304-310. Obikoya, G. (2009). Vitamin E: A Powerful Antioxidant. The Vitamins and Nutrition Center. Retrieved on 11th April, 2009 from http://www. vitamins-nutrition. org/vitamins/vitamin-e-antioxidant. html