To begin with, the ingredient lineup for MD Skincare's Lift & Lighten Cream ($47) is a whole lot more impressive than Skyn's Icelandic Eye Relief, which I reviewed last week.  For starters, it's not completely bogged down with known irritants or sketchy botanicals from the most obscure places.

What it does have are impressive ingredients (including even Matrixyl 3000) that are targeted to treat every woman's eye concerns.

Moisturization, repair and protection

When it comes to tackling fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area, MD Skincare provides a trio of defenses.  Along with jojoba seed oil, this cream includes the magic moisturizer squalene (What is Squalane?), which, as Marta wrote about earlier this week, has several notable characteristics: its ability to completely and rapidly penetrate the skin and, once there, to act effectively as an antioxidant to prevent UV damage and the formation of age spots, all-the-while promoting cell growth.

Genistein (which is found in soybean oil), along with vitamins A, C, and E, help prevent collagen breakdown, while a unique peptide complex helps to tighten and reduce the fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area by strengthening and repairing the skin's barrier.

The peptide complex found within this formula includes: Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3,
Dipeptide-2, Hydrolized Soy Protein, and Hydrolized Rice Bran Protein. And guess what?  When you put  palmitoyl-tripeptide and palmitoyl-oligopeptide together you get Matrixyl 3000, which, as fans of this site already know, is one of the most powerful anti-aging formulas out there. Also important is dipeptide-2, which helps to improve lymphatic circulation and is especially effective for under-eye bag drainage.

In addition to the peptides, aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is included to help smooth and diminish fine lines and wrinkles.  GABA works as a natural muscle relaxer that naturally inhibits the movement of facial muscles. Earlier this year, Marta wrote up a nice post on this ingredient that you can read more about here.

For increased protection, this formula employs three interesting antioxidants. There is quercetin (What is it: Resveratol could be outperformed by quercetin) and chrysin, which you can read more about by following the links, and then finally oxido reductases, an enzyme that has been showing up in various high-end formulas (although I have yet to see any specific clinical studies.)

For further protection, MD Skincare gives you iron oxides and titanium dioxides, which act as physical sunscreens that will help protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

Reducing leaky blood vessels and lightening discoloration

But wrinkles are only part of the concern.  For me especially, under eye circles are the most infuriating! Dark circles under the eye are caused by an accumulation of hemoglobin and colored degradation products in the skin. To treat these circles, you're going to want a product that both reduces leaky blood vessels and lightens the discoloration.

To reduce leaky blood vessels, this formula uses hesperidin methyl chalcone, arnica montana extract, n-hydroxysuccinimide, alpha-arbutin and vitamin K.

Hesperidin methyl chalcone, a citrus flavenoid, is often used as a dark circle treatment because research shows that it lowers the filtration rate of capillaries. However, the research is on oral use and the effects on the organs of guinee pigs and rats. Some people claim it is unlikely to do much for dark circles under the eyes.

Arnica montana, on the other hand, has demonstrable effects, which you can read about in the post Arnica Montana, a bonafide bruise basher.

Alpha-arbutin works by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosine, which is responsible for the staining effects of pooled blood under the eyes. And then n-hydroxysuccinimide comes in handy by making the iron soluble, allowing it to be eliminated.

Phytonadione, or vitamin K, is one of the main active ingredients found in nearly all under eye creams. Naturally found in the body, vitamin K helps ensure proper blood clotting. Because under eye circles and bags are linked to poor vascular conditions, vitamin K has been offered up as a viable antidote.  But does it work? Maybe… According to a 2004 study published by the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 47% of participants noticed a “fair to moderate” improvement in their dark circles after applying a preparation of 2% vitamin K + 0.1% retinol, vitamin E, and vitamin C for eight weeks.

For further effect pearl powder is included, acting as a camoflaging light diffuser.

And some other nice effects....

On a final note, this formula also includes phytic acid, which is a water softener, or chelator, that helps remove any heavy metals that tap water may have left on your skin.

And for good measure licorice extract is thrown in to sooth and depuff the skin.


Water, C12-15 Alkyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Aminobutyric Acid, Fragrance, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Silica, Cholesterol, PEG-40 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alpha-Arbutin, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Retinyl Palmitate, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Tocopherol, Phytonadione, Quercetin Caprylate, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Pearl Powder, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Polysorbate 60, Squalane, Sorbitan Stearate, Ceteraeth-20, Stearyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Steareth-20, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Chlorphenesin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Ceramide 2, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Sodium Hydroxide, Tribehenin, Phytic Acid, Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Oxido Reductases, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Glyceryl Oleate, Dipeptide-2, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).