Those Eyes, Those Lips

Written by Michael Q. Pugliese, L.E.

The romance poets honored the parts of a face, saying “the eyes are windows of the soul” and “oh, lips, you the doors of breath…” It can also be said that these are parts of the face that we closely associate with conventional beauty. They are the images that linger when we remember our loved ones… his eyes, her smile, that look. The eyes in particular tell us so much. The sincerity of the words passing over the lips can often be identified by the story the eyes tell; because they create expression, they are the regions of the face where we begin to see many signs of damage associated with aging.

 The eyes can show multiple signs of damage. Fine lines can begin to appear as early as the 20s and 30s and ultimately progress to deep expression lines by the 50s and 60s. Fortunately, this type of damage is widely preventable. The two main mechanisms responsible for wrinkle formation are sun exposure, primarily UVA, and muscle contraction. UVA has a much longer wavelength than UVB, allowing it to penetrate deeper in the skin, reaching the hypodermis. This action sets forward a series of biological actions that lead to the crosslinking, stiffening, and breakdown of healthy collagen and elastin. Repetitive muscle contraction, along with this weakened state, will then start to form what we see as wrinkling. Keep in mind that wrinkles will form perpendicular to the long access of muscle contraction. In short, a muscle contracts in one direction and the wrinkle will form in the other. Because the orbicularis oculi muscle runs in bands in a circular fashion underneath the eye and above the orbital arch, these lines called “crow’s feet” become particularly pronounced. 
As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so sunscreens go a long way to keep these lines from ever forming. Everyday use of a broad spectrum sunscreen should be top priority for skin care professionals in any case, and eye care helps us to reaffirm to clients just why. Be sure to use a product that says broad-spectrum on the package. That lets us know we are protecting from UVA and not just UVB, which is determined by the SPF number. For clients who already have fine (or even deep) lines, there plenty of options. Good collagen stimulation is the key. There are many known collagen stimulating ingredients available to skin care formulators. Matrixyl 3000TM is arguably one of the best and most widely used in the skin care industry. An extension of this original technology, Matrixyl sythe’ 6TM, has become very popular in recent years. The company claims to effectively produce collagen, but specifically types I, III, and IV, the three types of collagen most associated with dermal integrity, and major targets of UVA damage. Reducing muscle contraction will dramatically soften these expression lines. BotoxTM, of course, has become the main method for achieving this goal; however there are ingredient options that can work in tandem, or as a Botox alternative. ArgirelineTM was the first commercial peptide of this kind that claimed to disrupt mechanisms of muscle contraction. Although still popular among product formulators, Snap 8TM and InylineTM have become the must-haves for their higher level of performance. The use of collagen stimulators in tandem with muscle contraction inhibitors addresses both wrinkle-forming factors and can give a better result than addressing each individually.
Dark circles have been known to plague certain ethnic groups even at very young ages. Many factors, including genetics, inflammation, and irregular sleep patterns, attribute to their formation, but the underlying cause is leaky blood vessels. Because the skin under the eye is so thin and the blood vessels themselves are often only one cell thick, the blood is able to leak from the vessels into the surrounding tissue. Once there, the blood will ionize and darken in color. Treatment for this should be twofold. First, the permeability of the vessel must be slowed. By increasing the integrity of the vessel, we slow the accumulation of blood in the tissue. Second, the blood already in the tissue must be broken down and metabolized by the body. Neither of these are easy to do, which is why effective treatment options are limited. Vitamin K and caffeine are widely used and can give visible results, but are somewhat limited in their performance. HyloxylTM is a trade ingredient that contains chysin, a material that has been clinically shown to reduce inflammatory aspects of dark circle formation.
Because the circulatory system and the lymphatic system are closely intertwined, puffiness under the eye often goes hand in hand with dark circles. Puffiness occurs through water retention and is linked to damage to the lymph system in that area as well as hereditary factors. Many of the same ingredients can be used to address both issues. Caffeine, however, while a good vasoconstrictor, can also dehydrate the skin if the concentration is too high, leaving the skin looking no longer puffy, but somewhat crepey. EyelissTM is another commercial ingredient that contains hesperidin and other materials that can help metabolize excessive fluid accumulation under the eye.
The overall the importance of vitamin C, not just for treatment of the eye area but for all daily skin care regimens, cannot be overstated. It protects, repairs, and is an absolute necessity. There are plenty of forms available, and without debating the merit of one versus another, ascorbyl glucoside is recognized as being particularly gentle to apply to the delicate skin around the eye. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate have shown exceptional performance and are reorganized for their tolerability of sensitive skin and skin around the eye.
When discussing lip treatment products, the focus is much simpler than that of the eye. Again, SPF protection is critical while also maintaining proper hydration levels. Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas occur on the lip. The most common type is basal cell carcinoma, which occurs on the lower lip of males. The lower lip is 12 times more likely to be affected because of its greater exposure to ultraviolet light. Approximately 70 percent of upper lip cancers in women are basal cells, but only about nine percent of cancers on the lower lip are basal cell.
The rate of moisture loss on the lips is far greater than the rest of the skin on the face. It is part of the mucus membrane of the mouth and is considered a parakeratotic tissue. This means that it proliferates much faster and is not cornified the same way as facial skin so lipid content and subsequent water retention is poor. Petrolatum is used in the vast majority of lip products due to its ability to occlude skin and slow critical water loss. Microcrystalline waxes and fatty chain acids like beeswax and carnauba wax are commonly used for their moisture-retaining properties.
Possibly one of the most notable obsessions in beauty trends in the last decade is lip enhancements. Pouty lips have become a symbol of beauty and attraction. While injectables have dominated this market, topical enhancers have become incredibly popular as well. Natural agents like cinnamon and capsasin from chili peppers are often used to achieve a slight irritation that leads to mild puffing. However it is the action of niacin, vitamin B3, and some of its derivatives that have emerged as the most functional ingredients when looking to create this immediate plumping. Niacin is a vasodilator that causes flushing and a warming sensation when applied topically, but it is quickly metabolized by the body and its effects are brief. Some companies that market lip products may also add topical collagen stimulators for a longer-lasting result.
Most ultraviolet screening agents for the lips provide protection of an SPF lower than the reported value because the lip products are not applied thick enough nor frequently enough. Many commercial photo-protective lip screens are poorly absorbed and can be broken down quickly in ultraviolet light, thereby losing effectiveness. These two reasons suggest frequent application. The appearance on abnormal legions or other sudden changes in the lips should be seen by a physician.

michael-pugliese-2014Michael Q. Pugliese, B.S., L.E., became the third-generation CEO of Circadia by Dr. Pugliese, Inc. in 2006. Under his leadership, the Circadia brand has grown to achieve international recognition and distribution. Pugliese is a licensed aesthetician, a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, and regularly attends their education events to stay on the cutting edge of new product development. His compelling original lectures honor the tenets of modern skin science discovered by his grandfather. Today’s application of that information creates an ever-changing business and scientific environment.

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