Eye Creams from Weleda, Ole Henriksen, Perricone MD, SkinCeuticals, Belli, and Boots
A good friend of mine just gave birth to her third child.* While she was still pregnant she told me that even though this is her third rodeo, she still isn’t sure what cosmetics are safe to use while breastfeeding. Apparently she’s just been going without eye cream because it’s just too much of a hassle to figure out what’s safe to use (seriously!). So I decided to look into this myself, partly out of curiosity (I’m done having kids after producing two cute boys), and partly out of my desire to help her.
*This post is dedicated to her, a loving mom who seriously puts her kids’ needs before hers, more than anyone else I know!
In addition, this seemed like a topic I could get into because I’m already an ingredient inspector out of necessity– I have celiac disease (so I must not eat or use gluten in any form). I don’t even allow play-doh in the house because it’s made of wheat flour. I read all food labels, cosmetic labels (including hair care), and constantly double check ingredients.
To write this post I needed to first deal with some preliminary questions:
- Would any cosmetic ingredients, when applied topically to the face, actually make it into the bloodstream or breast milk?
- Which of those ingredients would be harmful if they ended up in the breast milk?
- What ingredients do you have to have to make an effective face or eye cream?
- Out of this ingredients, which ones are probably ok and which are definite no-no’s?
(Note- I may from time to time refer to ingredients as “chemicals”)
To get answers to my questions I read everything I could find about the leaching of ingredients from the skin into the body, and also from the skin into breast milk. One thing became clear very quickly: it’s usually easier for chemicals to end up in breast milk than in your bloodstream. However, for something to make it from your facial pores into your breast milk (instead of directly through your digestive tract to your milk, from eating or drinking), you would need to use a lot of it or it has to be a very potent chemical.
My end goal in doing this research was to come up with a list of actual product names that are available in drugstores, Target, Walmart, etc., or readily available on Amazon.com for delivery. The list will be comprised of things I would personally use. I had to limit my picks to products with full ingredients available on-line, since that’s kind of the whole point here. Surprisingly, some of the “go-to” skincare brands, like Clinique and Origins, don’t even make their ingredient lists readily available!
One last point: Please always keep the following things in mind: don’t blindly trust anyone else’s opinion about this stuff; I am a cosmetic lover and a curious mind, but I’m not an expert or a medical professional; you should always read the label and the ingredients on a cosmetic yourself before use, as formulations can and do change; you should ask your OB/GYN and/or pediatrician for advice; and (what I find most important) remember that cosmetics labeled “natural,” “organic,” “homeopathic,” or “non-toxic,” are no more likely to be safe than any others. In fact, homeopathic products can be more harmful than others if there is a potent herb or extract involved that could harm you or baby.
So, let’s talk about Eye Creams
The following are the top ingredients I look for in an eye cream (remember I’m neither pregnant nor breastfeeding) : Caffeine (to de-puff); Zinc or Titanium Dioxides (to help blur and diffuse darkness, as physical sunblock, and to tint the cream); Hydroquinine (to lighten skin darkness under eyes); Vitamin A (for anti-aging and skin renewing); Silicones (such as dimethicone, for “slip” and to seal in ingredients and moisture); and Emollient(s) (such as shea butter or glycerin, to help plump fine lines and tackle crepiness– (glycerin actually helps draw moisture in, by the way)). Less important but nice to have are: Vitamin C (as an anti-oxidant and to help brighten skin); Vitamin K (it can help with bruises and healing), and Mica (in small amounts, to give the cream some reflective blurring power).
Most of my preferred ingredients are also safe for breastfeeding mamas to use topically. However, you probably want to stay away from hydroquinine because it’s been under scrutiny in the past couple of decades for allegedly being toxic or carcinogenic. After doing my research I’m convinced it’s not harmful in the amounts I use on my face, but then again I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding.
Also note that caffeine is a chemical that can be absorbed through your epidermis (skin). However in an eye cream you’d be getting a fraction of what you’d get if you drank a soda or a coffee, and from my experience doctors just say not to overdo caffeine when you’re breastfeeding (you don’t have to totally avoid it). But if you’re uncomfortable with it just skim past my first recommendation, 100% Pure Eye Cream.
So, mama, what are your biggest skincare issues or concerns?
Here is a list of the things I wanted to treat at some time or another when I was caring for a newborn:
Bags and circles.
Isn’t every mother of a newborn short on sleep? Topical usage of caffeine is going to help with the bags and darkness under your eyes. You can always press a soaked black tea bag to your skin, but if you want something more sophisticated, my recommendation is:100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Organic Rose Hydrosol)*, Rosa Canina Seed Extract (Rosehip Oil), Coffea Arabica (Organic Green Coffee) Seed Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Extracts of Coffea Arabica (Coffee Cherry) Seed, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla Absolute) Fruit, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla Wax) * Certified Organic
Under Eye Darkness that won’t go away (but not necessarily with puffiness).Belli Eye Brightening Cream
Belli is a line formulated for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Belli Eye cream contains emollients galore, silicone, and ingredients to address inflammation. It does not contain hydroquinine. However I did notice one interesting thing: Belli includes arinca in this cream. Thought I would have no problem using it, just note that arnina probably isn’t safe to eat. Here the arnica is in extract form and is just one of many ingredients that goes on topically, so I would not worry— but I just wanted to disclose what I found.
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (and) Squalane (and) Polysorbate 60, Glycerine, Sodium PCA, PPG-2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Esters, Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate, Phospholipids (and) Phytonadione, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein (and) Oxido Reductases (and) Glycerine Soja (and) Deionized Water (and) Glycerine, Acanthopanax Senticosus (Ginseng) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Dimethicone, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) (and) Glucose, Panthenol, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Squalane, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate (and) Glycereth-2 Cocoate
Dryness and Lines.Weleda Pomegranate Firming Eye Cream
Weleda has been around for a while, but I never found it to be a very “fun” brand so I’ve typically ignored it (except for Everon Lip Balm, which I love). However, when you’re ingredient watching it quickly becomes clear that Weleda is using lots of good ingredients. Note that this eye cream is packed full of emollients without a whole lot else, but if you’re treating dryness and lines this may be all you need.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum(Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Petal Extract, Xanthan Gum.
Sun Protection (Chemical Suncreen).
Here I’m making an exception to the rule of only showing products I would use. I personally do not like chemical sunscreens because they irritate me. But if you are ok with them (them being the chemicals bolded below), try this stuff. I like Ole Henriksen’s other products. Note that this eye cream also contains a retinol derivative (retinyl palmitate) and Phenoxyethanol (a preservative). I’m not pointing those out because I think they’re unsafe– I’m just trying to be forthcoming.
Ingredients: Octinoxate, Octisalate, Avobenzone, Water (Aqua, Eau), Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Glycery Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Ceteareth-20, Phenoxyethanol, Algae Extract, Pullulan, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Plukenia Volubilis Seed Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Allantoin, Schinus Terebinthifolius Seed Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Alcohol, Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Hyaluronate.
Sun Protection (Physical Suncreen Only).
This is a cream from a really great brand that’s rarely talked about but is popular with many serious skincare devotees. SkinCeuticals tends to be more expensive than a regular drugstore brand, but it’s really not bad compared to mid and high end brands found at specialty stores. Note, this eye cream is tinted by virtue of the titanium and zinc oxides. It’s possible you’ll find it too dark or too light for your skin, but I’ve never had a problem getting creams containing these ingredients to blend in with my skin any time of year.
These big words, polypropylsilsesquioxane and triethoxycaprylylsilane, are names for silicone agents. And the aluminum hydroxide is fairly self explanatory. The very cautious and crunchiest moms may avoid aluminum in all forms, but I refuse to give up my antiperspirant, and if you’re the same way then you’re already using aluminum. One final thing: yes, this contains paraffin, a petroleum ingredient! Why did I still include this product here? It’s the next to last ingredient and I’m sure has almost no impact on the cream so I would probably just look the other way (for myself at least)!
Ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, dimethicone, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, triethylhexanoin, isohexadecane, talc, hydrogenated jojoba oil, dimethicone crosspolymer, styrene/acrylates copolymer, c30-45 alkyldimethylsilyl polypropylsilsesquioxane, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, aluminum stearate, alumina, polyhydroxystearic acid, iron oxides, phenoxyethanol, silica silylate, peg-8 laurate, triethoxycaprylylsilane, 2-oleamido-1,3-octadecanediol, disodium stearoyl glutamate, paraffin, aluminum hydroxide
The following three are other eye creams I wanted to show you. They had both good user reviews and good expert reviews. Of these three, the Perricone cream has the most foreign sounding ingredients, however I personally wasn’t concerned with any of them.Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Eye Cream
Boots Botanics Hydrating Eye Cream
Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Firming Eye Cream
I hope this post is helpful to you out there. Even if you don’t chose any one of these products for yourself, I hope you’ve gotten some good ideas and found a direction to go in pursuit of what you need!
Remember, if all else fails, just grab some sunglasses and lipstick!
I really welcome comments and feedback here. If you do happen to be an expert, I would especially love to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to correct me or disagree with me on anything!
–The product or products featured in this post were chosen, purchased, and paid for in full by me, Jackie. However this post contains an affiliate link or links that direct you to a third party site where you may purchase the product(s). Out of that third party purchase I may make a small commission, not visible to you. For more information please see this page.–