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?

Does Everything Cause Dark Circles?

Apparently in addition to genetics, stress, age, salty foods, sunlight and skin type, allergies  can also trigger  dark under eye shadows.  I  had brought my dark circles under control with Triluma, a combo of Retin A,  hydroquinone and a steroid to keep things calm.  After three months of  use, you could see a real change.  However  Triluma can only be used for three months at a time and then  you need take a three month holiday before it can be used  again.  Its that strong.

In the meantime, I made sure to use a 20SPF sunblock under my eyes and avoided  pizza  and chinese food– two high salt foods– that were big dark circle triggers for me.   When my  three month Triluma holiday  was over, I  didn’t need  to  use it again.  

 I was feeling  pretty smug about  by under eye managemnt when the worst allergy season  in a decade hit the New York area.  And along with coughing and congestion,  allergies bring on  under eye shadows.  After  a few weeks of sneezing, my shadows came back in force.   ( see pix above)  Allergies cause blood vessels to swell, and under the eye,  swollen blood vessels  increase the red/blue   skin tones.  And  allergies are the gift  that keeps in giving.  In addition to  shadows that look like I haven’t slept for a week, the extra fluid  is causing  under eye bags.  If these  continue, the skin will become stretched out and the bags will be permanent long after the last grain of pollen has drifted away.  

Not to panic, I popped a Zertec  for allergies and plucked out  my trusty tube of Triluma.  But when I opened the tube, the once white  cream had turned a lurid yellow and it smelled like rotten eggs.  According to  my pharmacist,  sulfur is used as a preservative and the color and ssmell  indicated that the Triluma  had “expired” — their word not mine.  These things happen, but Triluma is $300/tube and  according to my calculations, I  had wasted about $270.  Instead of getting a new tube of Triluma I decided to try another  approach to dark circles.  Clarisonic which makes an incredible facial brush also has a serum in a unique delivery device. Called the Opal Sonic Infusion System it  promises to reduce puffiness and dark circles.  The serum contains a host  of effective antioxidants, vitamin C  and caffeine–the later known to constrict blood vessels.  Allergy induced dark circles are due to swollen blood vessels and caffeine  should encourge  these vessels to shrink back to normal.    Sounds plausable.

I am going to  try the device for a month and post  the before and after pix.  I’m asking alot  of  this little device to deal with under eye shadows  in an allergy season, but  I hope we’re both up to the challenge.

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?

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.