While the eyes are noticed immediately and are significant factors in the age game, so, too, are the lips. The lips are the second most common area in which signs of aging begin to reveal themselves. How do skin care professionals support clients in maintaining a youthful appearance in these two delicate regions?
Treating the Delicate Areas
The eyes, while one of the most beautiful features, are often a top concern among clients. Skin care professionals discovered this very early on, as many clients primarily focused on how to eliminate wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, or sagging skin around the eyes.
According to the annual survey released by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures in the United States is blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery.
From crows’ feet and wrinkles, to puffiness, under-eye bags, dark circles, and crepe-like eyelids, the eyes provide their fair share of challenges. The same is true for the lip region. These two areas are tricky to treat as the skin surrounding them is more sensitive and thinner than the rest of the face. Luckily, there are ingredients and treatments available to rebuild, strengthen, and actively restore youthful qualities to the eye and lip areas.
An Eye for the Right Ingredients
Since the skin around the eyes and lips differ quite drastically from the rest of the face, it is thinner, more sensitive, and has less fatty tissue supporting it, it requires special treatment. These two regions need extra hydration, cell-regeneration, circulation, and collagen support. Ingredients that will help strengthen the skin, correct dark circles, brighten, tighten, and regenerate the cells for more youthful-looking eyes and lips include:
- Spin trap (phenyl t-butylnitrone) – considered an intelligent antioxidant. It works by trapping free radicals and transforming them into oxygen to be transported back through the respiratory cycle.
- Cholesterol liquid crystals (cholesteryl stearate/carbonate complex) – botanical liquid crystals that melt into the skin and deliver potent moisture support for delicate eye tissue.
- Retinol and encapsulated retinaldehyde – both work to stimulate cellular regeneration. Encapsulated retinaldehyde, however, is less irritating to the skin and performs closest to retinoic acid, where it provides powerful wrinkle reduction and prevention.
- Peptides – chains of amino acids that are very active in small doses. Peptides work to stimulate fibroblasts, the building blocks of collagen, and signal the skin to produce more collagen. They also reverse the effects of free radical damage.
- Hyaluronic acid – supports moisture retention, provides nutrients, and removes waste from cells, allowing nutrients to move into the cell. Sodium hyaluronate, the purest form of hyaluronic acid, promotes keratinocyte proliferation and increases retinoic acid, which preserves the skin’s hydration.
- Ascorbic acid (L) – a vitamin C derivative that will strengthen collagen, brighten, and help reduce wrinkles.
- Lactic acid (L) – an alpha hydroxyl acid with hydrating and regenerating properties. It reduces wrinkles and corrects pigmentation issues.
- Ruscus aculeatus (butcher’s broom) – an evergreen plant that works to strengthen blood vessels and promote circulation and blood flow.
- Brightening complex – a complex of chrysin, oligopeptides, and tetrapeptides, is a synergistic complex that reduces inflammation and lightens dark circles. It also stimulates enzymes to clear infraorbital shadows under the eye caused by hemoglobin accumulation.
Other key ingredients include squalane, olea europaea, rosehip oil, and aloe vera. Aloe is antioxidant-rich and a powerful healer that stimulates fibroblasts and epidermal cells for growth and repair. Squalane, derived from olives, is an antioxidant and emollient that assists in acceleration of new cell growth. Olea europaea, extracted from olives, is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. It has emollient and skin softening properties, making it suppler. Rosehip oil delivers a potent dose of vitamin C that enhances collagen.
Other brighteners that work particularly well for the eyes include chrysin, an isoflavone and powerful antioxidant from the blue passionflower, as well as althea officinalis (marshmallow root), an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory, emollient, and brightening properties.
When treating the eyes and lips, cell regeneration and hydration are essential. Papaya and pineapple work well to digest the cells and leave skin soft and polished. This can be followed up with a cocktail of serums containing antioxidants, retinol, ascorbic acid (L), and a liquid crystal complex to hydrate, rejuvenate, and strengthen collagen around the eyes and lips. Omega 6 essential fatty acids will also further support nourishment and hydration.
Rejuvenation in the Treatment Room
Regular treatments that specifically target the eye region, addressing crows’ feet, dark circles, wrinkles, and puffiness are also essential to achieving the client’s re-youth goals. Rejuvenating peel treatments, light emitting diode (LED), and appropriate enzymes, during corrective facials, are excellent go-tos for minimizing, and in some cases, eliminating lines and wrinkles. All of these treatments give the skin an overall refreshed, youthful appearance.
Caution must be taken, however, when performing any sort of resurfacing or rejuvenating treatment, particularly around the eye region. As a rule of thumb, professionals should avoid the eyes when performing more aggressive treatments such as microdermabrasion as delicate eye tissues and already stretched skin does not always respond well to this type of manipulation.
It is important to point out that the eyelids are better suited to very mild exfoliation and more nutrient-based topicals with smart ingredients such as peptides. Always place a layer of a nutrient-based serum or cream on the eyelids when doing any facial or peel treatment, even if that area is not specifically being worked on. This is key in age management.
A mask of alpha hydroxyl acids, vitamin A, aloe vera, tocopherols, and sodium hyaluronate will also provide gentle exfoliation, while hydrating, nourishing, and actively stimulating the area, giving it a gentle, yet effective, workout. The alpha hydroxyl acids and vitamin A will also smooth and promote healthy collagen synthesis. Chilled, refreshing ice globes may be gently rolled over the mask to reduce puffiness. To finish, a revitalizing formula with peptides and anti-inflammatory ingredients leave eyes feeling fresh, cool, and taut.
A simple combination of lactic acid, salicylic acid, and retinol could also be used to stimulate exfoliation and collagen production, support cellular moisture barrier, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
What about the lips? Lips are often ignored in aesthetic treatments, other than to perhaps remove lip color. The area around the lips is, of course, a concern for most clients and can be treated more aggressively than the eyes. Here, elevated peeling, microdermabrasion, and potent enzymes work to support the smoothing of fine lines and furrowing and keep the vermillion of the lip line smooth and soft.
But what about the actual lips? This can be tricky if too much is done, however, applying a thin layer of a mild enzyme as the last stroke when doing a facial is very beneficial to remove cracked, dry skin. This also applies to a brief application of alpha hydroxyl acid, such as lactic acid. Swipe it across the lips and then remove after approximately 60 to 90 seconds. Follow these miniature exfoliations with soothing, hydrating topicals or a hydrating, creamy mask to really soften and plump up lips.
Maintaining Bright Eyes and Soft Lips at Home
A daily regimen will consist of sunscreen (application around the eyes and over the lips are a good practice to teach clients), a skin-building peptide formula, and a serum or moisturizer in the morning. If clients wear makeup, encourage them to use a gentle eye makeup remover at night and their favorite cleanser for the rest of the face. Remember, the eye and lip region require special care.
There are several options that clients have when it comes to corrective homecare. A good retinol serum may be used to stimulate cell regeneration. Alternatively, a vitamin C formula that blends the collagen-strengthening properties of the ascorbic acid, with powerful peptides, will strengthen and rebuild the skin. An intelligent peptide serum that uses next-generation peptide may also be used to further support smooth skin by rebuilding the skin from the inside. When recommending these power ingredients, specifically for the eyes, be sure to have clients mix it with omega 6 essential fatty acids or an eye serum. Some correctives, unless somewhat diluted, are too active to apply directly to eye tissue.
For a quick perk-me-up for tired eyes, send clients home with an eye enzyme containing salicylic, lactic acid (L), resveratrol, and cherry, which they can lightly smooth around the eyes. They would leave this on for five to 10 minutes, thoroughly rinse, and finish with a cocktail of peptides, spin trap, and bisabolol (L). Eyes will feel hydrated, bright, and lifted.
Of course, always encourage clients to get a good amount of sleep, follow proper nutrition, avoid smoking, and habitually wear sun protection. This, in addition to regular spa treatments and a good homecare regimen, will help clients restore skin health and maintain a youthful appearance. Most importantly, always keep people guessing about their age!
Rhonda Allison, a pioneer in the skin care industry, is the founder and CEO of Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals and RA for Men. She is also an author and internationally known speaker with more than 30 years’ aesthetic experience. www.rhondaallison.com and www.ramethod.com
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