Perhaps you’ve been a victim of sleepless nights, spent a bit too long basking in the sun (unlikely for those of us living in Britain), or maybe danced a little too much of the night away at the weekend. Whatever your poison, unfortunately our eyes are the first to show our sins. Well, Kiehl’s are hoping to change all that with their Rosa Arctica Youth Regenerating Eye Balm.

The eyes are the window to the soul…
Lack of sleep, excess sun exposure and alcohol consumption are all culprits when it comes to tired-looking eyes. Among these factors, exposure to the sun’s UV rays is thought to be the biggest contributor to what is known as ‘extrinsic’ skin ageing, which is simply the ageing process that is brought about by external factors (rather than internal factors).

Sun exposure causes production of free radicals in the skin, which itself causes oxidative stress within skin cells. This leads to cellular damage that speeds up the ageing process. As the skin around our eyes is five times thinner (!) than the rest of our bodies, it is more fragile and so is often the first place to display the tell-tale signs of years gone by!

Prevention is easier than cure, and so when it comes to skincare, The Geeks believe in constant vigilance for early signs to tackle! Waiting too long may mean it’s too late, so let’s get stuck in to Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Youth Regenerating Eye Balm.

The Claims
This eye balm promises to regenerate our tired and dehydrated peepers for a more youthful appearance, whilst tightening and hydrating the eye area. Rosa Arctica Eye Balm claims to revitalise the appearance of skin in the delicate eye area for visibly younger-looking eyes. Inspired by the reactivation principles of the ‘Resurrection flower’, can Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Youth Regenerating cream live up to its name?

Haberlea rhodopensis Leaf Extract
Haberlea rhodopensis, also known as the Resurrection Flower, is a rare plant that is able to survive more than two years of extreme dehydration, but will miraculously come back to life when restored with water (if only the skin worked that way!). This plant extract is enriched with a molecule called myconoside, which has been proven to increase collagen and elastin production in ‘stressed out’ skin.

Collagen, which all you avid readers will know, is a protein which plays an important role in the structure of the skin, physically supporting it and keeping it firm. Sadly, all good things come to an end; collagen production slows down and is degraded faster as we age, causing those dreaded wrinkles! Boosting collagen levels in the skin is ther cornerstone of many anti-ageing regimes, to try and reinforce the skin’s natural structure and firmness, and keep wrinkles at bay!

Elastin, another protein, acts like its name would suggest and helps maintains the skins elasticity to keep it supple-looking and youthful! With boosting levels of these molecules in mind, it’s looking good so far for Rosa Arctica Youth Regenerating Eye Balm.

Squalane is 30-carbon-containing molecule, which is the hydrogenated form of the squalene produced by our own skin cells. Squalene is a key component of human sebum (the protective hydrating oil produced by the skin), and is a natural moisturiser. Because squalene is no stranger to the skin, related molecules like squalane should absorbed quickly and easily into our skin. Smart, hey?

So is it as simple as “Squalane acts to keep our skin in tip-top condition”? Both squalane and squalene are good moisturising factors, but it’s important to be clued up on the differences. Studies have shown squalene is susceptible to breakdown by the sun’s UV rays into by-products which can have pore-blocking and inflammatory effects on the skin (not good for perfect skin!). Fortunately, the squalane included by Khiel’s is not susceptible to this oxidation by UV, and so we can steer clear of these mishaps! Well done on that Kiehl’s.

Squalane is also a natural UV absorber, and helps protect the skin’s lipids that are susceptible to being degraded by sun exposure. Good news all round!

Last, but by no means least: White Birch extract
White Birch extract has been found to contain high levels of betulin and betulinic acid, two molecules we’re not overly familiar with here at Beauty by the Geeks, so let’s delve deeper!

They’re both thought to be antioxidants, and so should help keep those pesky ageing free radicals at bay. But that’s not all these molecules have to offer! There are some studies that show betulinic acid can help brighten skin by blocking the production of the skin’s pigment, melanin. Melanin can be responsible for some kinds of skin hyperpigmentation, and many dark-circle-tackling strategies block melanin production to brighten the eye area (looking good!).

This extract is also thought to be astringent, which comes with a small warning. Simply put, astringent means it causes the skin to contract – this is good for keeping the skin around the eyes looking taught, and certainly helps meet the claim to tightening the eye area. Unfortunately, some astringent can cause a little irritation, especially in sensitive areas like around the eyes. Be on the lookout for this, especially if you have a dry skin type, or know your skin is particularly sensitive.

The Verdict
Kiehl’s claim this eye balm will offer our eyes protection from the elements and keep those early wrinkles at bay. A bold statement, so what do we make of it? Is this cream any more than a glorified moisturiser?

There is good evidence that Haberlea rhodopensis Leaf Extract can increase collagen production to maintain skin’s structure around the eye area to help give it a more youthful appearance – who’s going to say no to that offer? We just hope the quantities of it are high enough to compare to the studies!

At £35, Rosa Arctica Eye Balm isn’t the most expensive eye care product on the market, but it’s not the cheapest either! From the ingredients, this product should live up to its claims to tighten, brighten and moisture the eye area for a more awake-like look!

To get hold of this product, click HERE!

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Natural products from resurrection plants: Potential for medical applications
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Comedogenicity of squalene monohydroperoxide in the skin after topical application.
Betulin, betulinic acid and butein are inhibitors of acetaldehyde-induced activation of liver stellate cells.
A new source of whitening agent from a Thai Mulberry plant and its betulinic acid quantitation.
Biological importance and applications of squalene and squalane.
Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation
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