Measuring Tri-luma

Looking  at my facial imaging photos  ( posted on Oct 8), I saw that that there were two  dark patches under my eyes–  also known as  under eye shadows.  It showed that this was not from indentation creating dark hollows, but true accumulations of sun damage and melanin.  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  This  is the job that Tri-luma was  born to handle.

I had  used Tri-luma last  spring and was pleased with the results, but  this triple powered crem cannot be used indefinately, so I had stopped using it for several months.  I also realized that dealing with  hyperpigmentation under the eyes is not a short term problem.  The cells which produced so much melanin have a very long memory.  They are born to make melanin and given  the right circulstances  — sun exposure and stress– the cells again fill up with  dark pigment.   

But this time, I have another tool.  I am  going to start using Tri-luma  again– first every other night, then slowly move up to every night.  I will use  this first facial imaging photo as a baseline and   over the next three months with Tri-luma, take  additional photos to see if the darkened areas have lightened.  I am so tempted to use Tri-luma under the right  eye and a non-prescription eye brightener under the left eye, but I think that sounds too much like a high school science project.

In my last go around with Tri-luma, I thought that I had seen real improvement and  the standard photos seemed to  show a  lighter, tighter area.  But these  are subjective impressions and I couldn’t say that there had really been a clinical improvement.  In other words, facial imaging will show if the under eye areas are truly lightened, or I am just delusional.

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?

Tri-luma Diaries

Tri-luma is a cream that is a combination of Retin A, hydroquinone ( established skin lightener) and a steroid  to  keep things calm.  It has been shown to successfully lighten unwanted dark areas on the skin– but not for everyone.  When it works it can lighten under-eye shadows as well as brighten a dull patchy complexion.  However it can also be irritating which  may actually  increase pigmentation — creating  more shadows and dark patches.  Definately not the result  I am looking for.

My first two days on Triluma were uneventful.  I followed standard  Retin A protocol and waited an hour after washing my face before applying a small dab of Tri-luma under my eyes.  In the morning  there was no redness or irritation.  I am going to take photos  every week  to note any changes.  The photo on the right is my “before” shot.  This will give me a baseline  for comparison.   My standard for  a successful anti-aging beauty product  is that there are clear cut benefits.   I am eagar  to see if  the dark circles diminish over the next eight weeks.

A New Treatment for Dark Circles

After a pretty long wait, my Tri-luma finally arrived from the Canadian pharmacy.  Last night I dabbed on a bit for a patch test.  This morning there was no redness or irritation, so I’m going to apply it tonight.  To prevent irritation, I’m going to start  out every other night.  I’m a little nervous.  Eye tissue is very delicate and I already  had a problem  with an over the counter product  that promised  to “brighten” the eye area.  I don’t know  how you would define “brightness”, but red and swollen doesn’t work for me.

The package insert says to use Tri-luma for more than 8 weeks.  I should see some visable signs in four weeks.  If there is no change I am going to assume that Tri-luma is not going to work for me.

Stubborn Dark Circles

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.

Preventing Under Eye Circles

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. 

Coming Up:  Lightening dark circles as you sleep