I was intrigued by a new freckle fighting cream called Elure. There are good clinical studies that it can lighten dark patches in 7-28 days. Elure gets its power from a type of naturally occuring enzyme derived from tree mushrooms. Called legnin peroxidase, it acts by breaking down melanin in the skin cells. Unlike hydroquinone, this enzyme is non irritating and shows no skin sensitivity.
We all know that excess pigmentation is linked to sun exposure. What is less well known is that as we get older there is an increase in dark spots and splotches due to a slowdown in the rate of cell growth. In our twenties cells turn over every 28 days. By the 50′s, the cycle is extended to 45 days. This means that darkened skin cells get even darker and stay around longer.
I’ve pretty much eliminated the dark spots on my face and neck with lasers, IPL and a maintenance program of retinoids. But dark spots come back and I’m always looking for new anti-freckle remedies. To test them out I’ve identified some pretty big freckles on my arms. Now to be perfectly clear. I’m not really concerned about how they look ( I’m not that vain). But I’m glad that I still have freckles to be part of my science project.
Elure is an unusual product in that its a two step process. In step one, you apply a dab of active Melanozyme from one side of the compartment in the Elure jar. Wait for a minute than top it with the same amount of Bio-Activator from compartment 2. I’m going to do this both in the evening and in the morning. In the daytime, I’ll top it with a zinc oxide sunscreen.
My before photo shows a 1/4 inch freckle on my forearm. I’m going to continue with the Elure treatments for up to 28 day, taking a new photograph every week. This is going to be interesting.
When I started exploring anti-aging options a few months go, I had just three go-to products. It wasn’t that I didn’t care — I just didn’t know what my skin truely needed. Too many times I would be vulnerable to great sales pitch and find that the expensive “miracle cream” either did nothing or made my face break-out. Now that I am testing out wrinkling fighting tools and techniques, I had to try out an endless buffet of skin care products. Trial and lots of error has resulted in a group of cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreens that deliever on their promises. I call them my “Fabulous Fourteen” and today I have uploaded that list in the blog tab ” Beauty Tool Kit”. I explain how to use them, how they work and how much they cost. I have only one face and can’t try out everything, so I would love to hear about your go-to products.
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?
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?
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.
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.
I have been using two eye care products for about a month and neither has made a visible difference. In the morning I applied a roller with caffeine and at night I used a cream with AHA’s. My shadows are still there and the slight bagging under the eyes actually seems a bit worse. So when a dramatic looking package at Sephora caught my attention, I was hooked. Called Hylexin, the box had a photo of a young woman with a football players black smudge under her eye. The box copy said that this product was for’serious dark circles’ (hence the name) and not for dark circles that ’pop up in the morning and are gone by breakfast ’ .
Directions on the box said to do a patch test on my arm. I opened the tube and was rocked back by a heavy fragrance. I hesitated a moment, took a breath and applied a small amount on my arm. Very quickly the spot felt warm and a bit itchy. I opened the brochure to read more about Hylexin, but instead of information about the product, it was an flyer for other products from the manufacturer. Apparently the company was very proud of an item called ” Boob Job in a Box” . I don’t know about you, but I have a problem taking skin care advice from a company that sells “Boob Job in a Box”. Between the heavy perfume, itchy patch test and the Boob Job thing, I decided that I did not want to put this product anywhere near my eyes. I packed it up, found my sales slip and plan to take it back today for a refund.
We all know that spring allergies can make us sneeze and itch– but did you know spring allergies can make you look older? Seasonal allergies produce daily inflammation that trigger dark circles under the eyes. Blood vessels swell and leak fluid that pool under the eyes. The result? Eyes become puffy and swollen. A bad allergy season can lead to permanent bags and wrinkles under the eyes.
With seasonal allergies, the best offense is a strong defense. When you see the trees and flowers blooming, start taking a daily non -sedating anti histamine like Zyrtec or Claritin. Your body needs several weeks to build up allergy- fighting levels of medication for the months of pollen heavy air that are coming.
Make you own home an allergen-free zone. To keep pollen from building up inside, close windows and turn on the A/C. If you wake up with swollen eyes and congestion, try to eliminate stuff that attracts pollen and dust — thick rugs, heavy drapes and the well-named dust ruffle. (Actually it should be called a ‘dust magnet’). In the morning use a saline nasal spray to prevent build-up of fluid that will quickly lead to puffy eye bags. When you come home after work or school, leave shoes outside to avoid tracking in dirt and pollen. Two hours before bedtime, turn on a HEPA style air filter to clean the environment that you will be breathing all night long.
This might sound like alot of work but its so worth it. Many women who seem to age faster just have uncontrolled seasonal allergies.
These are my under eye circles, untreated but after four months of Retin A on the rest of my face. Dr. Marmur of Mount Sinai says they are caused by both melanin deposits and loss of fat pads under the eye. In the first photo you can see that there is a depression in facial contours under the eye. That dip is part of aging. Look at a baby or a child under age 10. No depression in that area. The darkness in the skin due to melanin which may, and the operative word here is “may” respond to skin lighteners like kojic acid or hydroquinone. But to make a bigger difference I will need injectable fillers to erase the shadows. The idea of injecting stuff under my eye makes me cringe, so I’ll see how far I can get with under eye creams and gels.
To prevent further discoloration and wrinkling I found two promising products. Revlon Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer ($9.99) is a concealer with a 25 SPF. It both hides the dark circles and prevents more melanin formation. Nice! The second photo shows how well it works. And I don’t have to wear foundation on the rest of my face to blend it in. If nothing actually helps the shadows, I can buy a case of this stuff and use it to disguise them. Its good to have a plan B.
I also found a great eye area sunscreen from Clarins. Called Sunscreen Wrinkle Control Eye High Protection ( $22) it has a 30SPF. I plan to use it hen I spend time outdoors in the summer sun.
It happens to all of us. When we don’t get enough sleep, catch a cold, work 24/7 or deal with personal problems, the face in the mirror includes dark under eye circles. It turns out that the body reads all these problems as “stress” and reacts by producing large amounts of a hormone called costisol. This creates a cascade of changes in the body that includes higher blood pressure, a slowdown in cell growth and an increase in heart rate. Under the eyes, dark circles become more pronounced. This is because cortisol increases leaking from tiny blood vessels and slows removal of body fluids. The result? Fluids and hemoglobin build up in the eye area creating dark shadows,
Its really easy to tell people to relax and take it easy. But while we are waiting for the world to become an easier place to live, we all need a few quick tools to deal with stress induced circles Here are three tips to try until life calms down:
* After a rough night, put cold tea bags on your eyes for 5 minutes. The caffeine in the tea will shrink wollen blood vessels. Black tea works better here than green tea because it contains more caffeine.
* Cut salt intake. Salt retains fluids in the body that shows up as dark bags under your eyes. Don’t add salt to your food and avoid all processed food.
* Raise the headboard of your bed by 2-3 inches. This will encourage fluids to drain from the eye area. You can do this easily if you put a thick paperback on each side. A nice hefty travel book is just perfect.