Old Think: Concealer was your best bet for years. Under-eye creams that contained vitamin K showed promise by constricting dilated blood vessels (which cause the shadowing effect), but the vitamin was found to be unstable and tough to deliver topically.
New Think: At home: The first line of defense is to re-plump the skin around the eyes. As we age, we lose the fat under the eyes, which makes dilated blood vessels look more prominent. Retinol and other peptides thicken the skin. Brandt adds that creams with caffeine can help temporarily shrink dilated blood vessels. Try Dr. Brandt Skincare r3p Eye, $80, or Lancôme High Résolution Collaser-5X Eye Serum, $59. Another bright idea: More stable forms of vitamin K are being paired with new delivery systems to help it penetrate better. Try Auriderm Illume Eye Creme, $50. At the doctor's office: Once again, it's fillers to the rescue. HAs such as Perlane and Restylane fill in the hollow under the eye. The blood vessels can also be sealed with lasers such as the Vbeam. Finally, Thermage recently introduced a handheld device to tone, tighten, and stimulate collagen around the eyes, which will plump the area.
Future Think: Bank suspects we'll see one machine that would do the work of lasers and radio frequency — zapping blood vessels, tightening skin, and stimulating collagen — in a single treatment.
Old Think: We learned that pore size was genetically determined. (Darn!) However, dirt, debris, and even sun damage can stretch pores. For decades, dermatologists have turned to chemical peels (glycolic and salicylic acids) to unclog pores. They've also prescribed the antiacne medication Accutane, which shrinks pores by reducing oil glands, but controversy about the drug's safety (it's been linked to birth defects, depression, and suicide) has made that a less popular option today.
New Think: At home: New delivery systems for salicylic acid help it penetrate deeper into the pores. Try AvonAnew Rejuvenate Night Revitalizing Cream, $32. Products with peptide technology strengthen skin around pores so they won't be permanently stretched. Try DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer, $85, a serum that also contains vitamin B3, said to increase cell renewal, and light-reflecting microparticles for an immediate fix.
At the Doctor's Office: Chemical peels are still number one. But Bank has also seen a reduction in pore size from Photodynamic Therapy, an acne treatment during which an antibiotic ointment is applied to the skin and accelerated with a light source. Brandt also uses non-ablative lasers (lasers that don't visibly disrupt the surface of the skin) to tighten the skin surrounding the pores.
Future Think: Doctors hope for a safer oral medication. "If there were some way to modify Accutane to get benefits without the questionable side effects, that would be phenomenal," says Bank.
Originally published on September 18, 2008