Botox vs Fauxtox

Crows feet before tretmentThere are literally hundreds of exhibits  at the International Beauty Show, so when I saw that one small booth was always three deep with visitors, I had to check it out.  I managed to wiggle my way to the front ( I know, I’m a New Yorker)  to see a table  selling just one item– a small pink bottle called Instantly Ageless.  The  posters and brochures  showed impressive before and after photos.     Application of a few drops on the face promised  instantly ( albeit  temporarily)  to erase crows feet and laugh lines.

A quick scan of  the ingredients showed that Instantly Ageless contained Hexapeptide, aka ‘fauxtox” a protein that  may  produce Botox like effects  in a product spread on  rather than injected into the skin.  Instantly Ageless also contains silicates  which  can form a  film much in the way an egg white mask tightens the skin.

Directions were  super simple.  Apply a moisturzer to the  skin and let  it dry throughly. Then pat ( not rub) a half drop of of Instantly Ageless to targeted areas. Allow it to dry  and stay still and expressionless for 1-2 minutes.  Then top with  an oil-free foundation. So far, so good. The serum-like fluid tingled a bit as I applied it to my skin and I could feel my skin tightening– not uncomfortable, but  definately tighter.

Did Instantly Ageless Work?

So did it deliver as promised?    The photo on top left is my before pix that  highlights a nice deep crows foot at the corner of my eye.  The photo on the right  was treated to a drop of Instantly Ageless.  Even in this less than perfect  shot, you can see that the  little line is shorter and less pronounced.   I also felt  that it made my eyes look a bit fresherCrows foot after treatment and  the dark circles  less apparent.  I think that, IRL, the improvements  were more apparent. The  changes last for just a few hours  and is an affordable option  when you want to crank it up for a event– eg high school reunion, blind date or job interview.

Instantly Ageless did not give me the same dramatic results  that I saw in the brochure, but I definately saw a difference.  It also did not give me the same degree of improvement as  Botox, but at $40 a bottle, it is a safe, affordable and effective addition to my beauty tool kit.

Clarisonic Opal Eye Infuser-Week One

I’ve been using the Clarisonic Opal for a week  and at first I was all thumbs.  I  had to read the instructions several times before I felt comfortable to try it.  It is not  like any other device that I had used and I’m especially anxious about using anything around my eyes.

The oval device  has a little nubbin that you fill with serum. This pale amber gel  had a number of interesting ingredients which had  some good science behind them.  These included world class antioxidants including green tea and resveratrol and marine peptides, vitamin C to brighten the skin and glycosaminoglycans ( what a mouthful)  for firmness.

The Clarisonic instructions were very specific to follow the rim of the eye socket  and not to use the device on the soft tissue  right below the eye.  As per directions  I put a few drops of serum on the infuser, turned on the moter and started to move the tip in little overlapping circles. After 30 seconds the machine turns off.

The procedure  should be done twice a day– in the morning and before going to bed.  According to instructions, I was to wash my face with the Clarisonic brush on my face, then use the Clarisonic device on the eyes.  It felt a little self-absored to dedicate so much time twice a day, but I am a sucker for a science project.

After a week, I felt that when I woke up in the morning, my eyes were clearly less puffy.  I looked fresher and more rested even if I had stayed up late. I’m so  pleased with these quick results after just one week, I’m going to continue for a month.  I would love to hear about you experiences with  the Clarisonic  Eye device.  Did your eyes look  less puffy?  Were dark circles reduced?

My New Beauty Baseline

I got a new high resolution facial imging photo from Dr Bruce Katz  at the Juva Medispa in New York City.  My original image was done with the Reveal   machine– and to be able to accurately judge changes in my skin, I needed to get a new baseline photo from the same machine that I would be using to chronicle the differences anti-aging treatments will make. Equally important, these photos will be “read” by  the same expert  pair of eyes.

The  new photos done on the Visia imaging machine  also provides more information about dark spots, pores, wrinkles and texture.   According to Dr Katz, “the ultra violet light allows you to see what can’t be seen”.  Dr Katz   recommends  that women from 20-80 get a baseline facial imaging to assess the health of the skin– and spot potential skin cancer areas  long before they become a real problem.  Dr Katz  provides this service as part of the care at his skin and laser center (  If you want to find  out  where to get facial  imaging in your area, send me your  zip code and I will locate the nearest one to your home.

My new photos were both interesting and encouraging.   The yellow circles are the computer pointing out areas of greatest sun damage that can be measured later.   The darkened areas over  my eyes look  like some kind of permanent smoky eye make-up.   For my age I am in the 79th percentile for age spots and 97st percentile for wrinkles.  This means that out of 100 women, I have fewer age spots than 79% and less wrinkles than 97% of women.  Remember that these good numbers are after a year of Retin A, IPL and various lasers for spots and hair removal.  I wish I had known about this tool before starting my anti-aging project, but I still have  many options to explore.  First on my list is  my big girl Retin A. I have been putting off starting it, but now I’ve run out of excuses.  In about eight weeks, I will return for another UV photo to check for improvements.

How Long Can I Stay on Tri-Luma?

I’ve  had good results with Tri-luma.  The blue /black shadows  are pretty much gone, and the reddish blue areas are much much lighter.  However, the latter, which  are caused by leaking of the tiny under eye blood vessels, tend to reappear  with   things like allergies, jet lag and and, no kidding, chinese food. This week, I got an industrial strength migraine headache, and the next morning, the reddish shadows made a return appearance.  Not as pronounced as  before Tri-luma,  but the area certainly looked more shadowy today.  Do I  reach for my trusty Tri-luma.  Not so fast. I have been using Tri-luma off and on since March.  Label instructions advise against using it longer than three consecutive months.   Dr Marmur was pleased that  it worked, but  told me to try to take a three month break before using it again.  She knows that I like to  work on these shadows, but Tri-luma  can’t really be used as a maintenance product like Retin A.  It is a combo of  Retin A, (hydroquinone, a known skin lightener) and a steroid to keep things calm.  But steroids  can  be destructive if used  too much and that’s why  there’s a time limit on Tri-luma. 

I’m going to follow her advise , stock up on concealer and not use Tri-luma again until November.   Now that my skin is so comfortable with Retin A Micro, I wonder if I can use it on my under-eye rea.  Has anyone done that?

Did Tri-luma Work? Judge for Yourself

I have been using Tri-luma about 3X a week  since  the middle of May.  As you can see from the photos, there is a real difference in the before and after photos.  Before Tri- luma  I had  two types of shadows– greyish blue shadows  and reddish areas.

After  about a month I was really happy to see the greyish blue circles  had faded away and the  reddish tones  were  much lighter and easily hidden by a dab of concealer.  Then just  as  I was about to proudly take  some  “after” photos,  a bad allergy season hit  and the dark circles made an encore  appearance.   The allergy congestion caused the tiny blood vessels under the eyes to leak,  producing more  reddish- blue shadows.  After a trunkful   of allergy sprays, pills, and rinses, the allergies cleared up  along with the  dark undereye circles.I was about to  take some photos to secure my under eye circles bragging rights when the morning after  a ” wild”  book club I could see the reddish circles were back.  –more leakage from tiny under-eye blood vessels.

With the allergies under control and no more book club meetings until the fall, my undereye circles stayed away long enough to take this after photo. So what did I learn?  I can see  certain improvement after  four weeks on Tri-luma — the trick is holding on to these improvements.

I suspect that the  greyish bluish circles were  melanin deposits.  Tri-luma breaks down and prevents new melanin formation.  I helped things along there by  diligently applying an  eye area  concealer with 25SPF to discourage sun-induced  melanin.  The reddish blue areas were signs of leakage from tiny bloodvessels in the area. While Tri-luma did seem to breakdown the hemoglobin causing the discoloration, the underlying conditions which caused the problems, were not always under my control.  Allergies, alcohol, stress, and even chinese food and the reddish circles came back. 

Fillers like Juvederm  can be injected into my under eye areas to both fill in the hollows and create a barrier between blood vessels and the paper thin under eye skin.  This means the leakage from tiny vessels will  just not be visable.   I’m not sure I’m going to take this step, but its nice to know the option  is there.

I’m planning to keep using Tri-luma 2- 3X a week to keep shadows at bay.  According to package guidelines, Tri-luma is not a maintenance  product like Retin A.  I’d like  to keep using it,  but I need to OK this with my dermatologist. 

 Tri-luma worked   nicely for me, but it may not be for eyeryone.  In some people, there can be a darkening of the  skin, the opposite of what you’re  looking for.  If you use Tri-luma under doctor’s supervision, you’ll be fine.  Since its available only by prescription, you really don’t have much choice.

I’d really like to hear about your experience with Tri-luma  Did  it work?  How long did you use it?

Beauty Dangers of Book Clubs

This week I had my monthly bookclub meeting which meant  great conversation, a perfect brie  and of course  several glasses of  a crisp Pinot Grigio.  The next morning I was reminded what  alcohol does to the skin.  My under-eye circles which  had nearly faded way ( thanks to Tri-luma) had now  suddenly  made an encore appearance.  The reddish/blue shadows were a clear sign  that  alcohol had caused minute leaking  from tiny blood vessels. under the eye.  I now have to wait until the body can breakdown this hemoglobin for the color to fade.   To help things along, I applied a compress of cold Lipton tea bags.  The cool temperature and tannin in the black tea  should shrink the swollen blood vessels– and shrunken  vessels won’t leak anymore blood and fluid.  Within 48 hours, the lurid color  had faded a bit and I can cover it with a dab of green Dermablend cream  under my regular concealer.  But I know  what lies beneath the make-up.

This experience  reminded me  that what we drink and eat ( salty crackers with the Brie)  has a huge impact  on how  we look.  It made me think– what other factors in my diet are affecting my hair and skin?  Any suggestions where I should start?

Under Eye Shadows and Allergies

Sometimes there are simple answers to complicated problems.  I was bummed out that  most of the improvements I had seen with Tri-luma were reversed by seasonal allergies.  But yesterday I went to an  allergist who gave me such a simple and effective solution– a saline nasal rinse.  You simply spray a salty solution into each nostril and blow.  I did it before  going to sleep  and  by morning,   the newly returned shadows  were noticably lighter.  I have to keep using the saline nasal spray   all summer, but its wonderful to have such an easy,  low-tech solution. 

This just goes to my  core belief that we need to get to the causes of  beauty problems to really  see a difference.  If  we don’t deal with  changes in the  body that are driving the problems, then attempts to fix the problem are just a frustating waste of time… and money.

Progress On Under Eye Circles

 I had been on Tri-luma for almost three weeks and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.  The under eye shadows had lightened considerably.  Only the area closest to my nose still had dark blue smudges.  I made plans to take  some  great “after” photos after I got back from a weekend in the country.  And that’s where it all unraveled.  Saturday morning I woke up sneezing and by Monday my eyes were swollen and red.  And the under eye circles?  They’re back! 

When I  had blogged about the causes of under eye circles in March, I explained  that congestion of allergies causes pooling of fluids and hemoglobin under the eyes — and here I am the poster girl for under eye  allergy shadows.  I am hoping that  when I get  past this allergy episode, Triluma will  lighten my under eye shadows again. 

The good news here is that Tri-luma seemed to work as promised.  The bad news? Its not permanent.  THe underlying issues that cause shadows in the first place still exist and can cause new  problems.  Package inserts for Tri-luma recommend not using  it longer than 3 months.  Does that mean three months at a time?   In a year?  I need to get clarification.