About 6 months ago, I started an experiment (see the original post here) to see if I could lighten my dark circles with a concoction of vitamin K and retinol (which had to be at least 0.15%). Why? Because a study conducted by the Cosmetic Dermatology Textbook concluded, found that 93% of participants found to have reduced pigmentation around the eye area and it did not return up to a year later. Granted, I don’t know for how long their treatment lasted, but I was happy to give it a go and use it for an extended period of time. I decided to use Peter Thomas Roth’s Power K Eye Rescue because vitamin K is the active ingredient in the eye cream (and is second in the ingredient list). This was to be layered above my trusty Futurederm Time Release Retinol 0.5%.
Before starting the ‘treatment’ (using both products together) I started off by using a touch of the retinol serum around my eye area on in it’s own for a couple of week (maybe about two weeks in total?). Not every night, because I didn’t want to overwhelm my sensitive eye area, but every couple of nights with ‘rests’ in-between. My eye area seemed to respond to the retinol really well and as long as I didn’t apply the retinol to close to my water line or tear duct, I was fine and didn’t experience any irritation (because the eye area is so thin, heat from your skin can make an eye product move around, so be sure to not apply it to close to the waterline).
Once I did start layering the two products together, that’s when I started to experience irritation. It was so odd because I thought that the retinol on it’s own being active, would be the issue here, but whenever I applied the vitamin K infused eye cream over the retinol I could feel a ‘reaction’ taking place. Now I won’t lie, this was not pleasant. I would use this combination only say every 3-4 nights, depending on how the skin around my eyes were feeling. I knew I would need to get used to the treatment considering how delicate the eye area is, but I didn’t quite expect the redness and irritation that would sometimes occur. A few times, my under eye area (especially the outer half my eye) would feel raw. I should have taken pictures, but alas. I don’t have very sensitive skin so I was very surprised. I still prevailed with the treatment and would use the combination every couple of nights taking break inbetween, but it took a long time before the reactions lessened considerably – and they did, but it just took ages (maybe a month or two?). So why did I continue on with the experiment? Well I figured that my skin was reacting this way because it was working on some level. Perhaps I should have stopped (thinking about it now), but I had already started and the reaction was lessening with time (albeit slowly). Plus, my dark circles do bother me a lot, so I was willing to put in the time and effort.
Above: Peter Thomas Roth’s Power K Eye Rescue
I’m still using this combination 6 months on since starting the experiment. I definitely don’t experience the ‘burning’ sensation I used to, but I do experience some tingling from time to time after application. I’d like to say that I apply the ‘treatment’ (as I call it) every second night (I try to) but it’s probably every third night or so. Did I experience significant improvements? Maybe not ‘significant’. My eye area doesn’t have any wrinkles and the few fine lines I have are very insignificant. So from this perspective, I think it’s kept my eye area in shape and is a preventative treatment thanks to the retinol. I think my dark circles have lessened slightly, but it’s not a dramatic difference. Perhaps I would need to use the duo every second night without fail for more noticeable/dramatic results? Maybe. But I’m starting to think that my dark circles aren’t only (if at all) a pigmentation issue. The skin around my eyes is very thin, and around the inner corners, you can see some purple/blue veins. This would no doubt make the issue worse. Perhaps it’s also an issue of circulation? My eye area can also become red when I’m tired (so this added with the veins, ain’t a helpful combo).
This definitely isn’t the answer to my problem unfortunately, but I will keep on using the duo around my eye area until I run out of my Power K Eye Rescue eye cream (I’ve still got about a quarter of it left). I probably won’t repurchase is however. I will still use the retinol around my eye every second night or so, because I think its got to work preventatively. It’s not moisturising enough to use around the eye area on it’s own though – so a hydrating eye cream over the top of it is a must. I will also mention that I didn’t find the Power K Eye rescue to be very hydrating (not as much as I would like it to be – despite fab ingredients). As it’s a gel, it seems to ‘dry down’ and leaves a film on your skin if you use to much (at night, I like to load up on the eye cream) almost giving the skin a tightening effect.
When my skin was seriously irritated (and possibly burned slightly, now that I think about it), sometimes the next day after my nightly treatment, my other eye creams felt irritating sitting on top of my red, sore skin. It was so unpleasant and I didn’t know how to soothe my skin if gentle eye creams were not lessening the irritation. In came some marula oil! I figured an oil would contain hydrating lipids/emollients which would protect and soothe the skin. If you use a pure oil, there’s less ingredients to react with your skin which is a good thing. Luckily this worked and some days, it’s all I would use around the eye area. The one that I used comes with a roller ball – I bought it from Sephora (the US Sephora). The roller ball also made the application around the eye area more pleasant. Just note that again, you should not apply to much oil and to close to the waterline as it will irritate your eyes if product gets into your eye (oil heats up and moves around on the skin even more easily than creams).
So that’s it for my experiment! Not entirely successful. but I think I learnt a few things. Firstly, that pigmentation isn’t perhaps the cause of my dark circles. Secondly, that marula oil is nourishing and soothing. I’m so glad I found a use for it – I bought the small little bottle on a whim but sure what to do with it! It is also great for nourishing cuticles. My search to help my dark circles does continue however. I will keep you updated, so let me know if you have a similar problem and if anything has helped!
Until next time,