As a 50-something female, I'll admit to having been lured by the siren call of wrinkle creams for years. Apparently, I'm not alone in wanting the claim of "brighter, younger-looking eyes" to be true. Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on wrinkle removers.

Anyhow, I was interested in the findings of tests conducted by Consumer Reports magazine about the effectiveness of 16 different over-the-counter eye creams. Ten of these creams are sold in the U.S. and six are European products, bought online and range in price from $20 to $95.

The participants in the study included 94 women and 13 men who were each asked to use two creams, one on each side of the face around the eyes, morning and night for six weeks and fill out questionnaires. The package labels were covered.

High-resolution digital photographs of each person's eye area were taken before the test, one hour after the first application and again after the six weeks of use were completed. Then trained sensory testers evaluated the before and after shots without knowing what wrinkle creams had been used.

Results varied. I was surprised to learn that a moisturizer with no anti-wrinkle claims that was used as a control, reduced wrinkles about as well as several high-rated creams did.

The tests showed that several of these wrinkle creams are worth trying. I was particularly pleased that a couple of my favorite brands, L'Oreal and Olay, made the grade. Still as anyone fighting the battle against saggy skin will attest, no product, however effective, is going to make you look like you're 19 again.

What were the rest of the brands tried, you ask? You have to subscribe to Consumer Reports online or buy the October 2009 issue to find out. I got a copy of the magazine and here's the list of the "slightly more effective" products, the ones that were found to smooth wrinkles somewhat better than the rest. The operative word here is "slightly."

L'Oreal Paris Dermo-Expertise Revitalift Double Lifting Eye, $41.34

Nivea Visage Anti-Rides Q10 Plus, $33.84

Dr. Brandt Lineless, $60

Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging Booster Eye Transforming Cream, $20

The list of "average performance" products include Clinique Repairwear Intensive, Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift, Avon Anew Rejuvenate and Clarins, among others. They ranged in price from $20 to the most expensive of the eye creams, Perricone MD, which costs $95 and testers reported that it smelled like a gym bag. Yuck!

There were only two eye creams in the "slightly less effective" list, ROC Retin-Ox Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Cream, costing $47.79 and Lancome High Resolution Eye Collaser-5x Intense Collagen Anti-Wrinkle Eye Serum for $59 a pop.

Overall, wrinkle-reduction was subtle, even among the best performing products and none of the creams even came close to completely eliminating wrinkles. Each product reduced wrinkle length or depth for at least some of the testers and did nothing for others. In other words, they're all pretty much the same. You have to find the one that works best for you so try the cheaper ones first. Chances are they'll do the job just as well as any of the high-priced potions.

The Consumer Reports article goes on to suggest some sure ways to help prevent wrinkles in the first place. Youngsters take note: Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses when outdoors; never use a tanning bed and don't smoke.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes tips and ideas for home decor using only items from the dollar store.


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