Natural Plant Extracts Combat Aging, Drooping EyelidsNovember 2016
By Robert Goldfaden and Gary Goldfaden, MD
The thin skin of the eyelids is highly sensitive to external stressors like sun exposure and environmental pollutants.1-3
Internal changes such as the formation of advanced glycation end products further accelerate aging of functional skin proteins in collagen and elastin.4,5 The resulting formation of cross-links in elastin and collagen reduces their flexibility and elasticity, and increases tissue stiffening.6,7
This compromised collagen and elastin structural network produces a tired and worn out appearance—often accompanied by unsightly drooping eyelids, dark circles, and bags that make one look older.
Fortunately, natural plant extracts have been identified that offer a unique advantage by boosting the formation of collagen and elastin, while protecting existing skin proteins from glycation and enzymatic degradation.
Albizia julibrissin Extract
Albizia julibrissin, also known as Persian silk tree, is a plant indigenous to southwestern and eastern Asia. Its cluster of pink flowers has been historically used to treat anxiety and depression in Chinese traditional medicine due to its ability to elevate mood and restore calm in the face of stress.8,9
There has been a great deal of cosmetic interest in Albizia julibrissin extract, and for good reason. Its free-radical scavenging power—six-fold greater than vitamin C—thwarts free-radical assaults that result in damaged and aging eyelids.10,11
Siegesbeckia orientalis Extract
For centuries, natives of India have used Siegesbeckia orientalis to treat and reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases. Now research is catching up to this traditional wisdom as one of this plant’s main constituents—kirenol—has been shown to quell local and systemic inflammation through suppression of nuclear factor-kappaB activation, which in turn blocks the production of pro-inflammatory mediators.12,13
A Powerful Combination
In vitro studies combining both Albizia julibrissin and Siegesbeckia orientalis extracts have been shown to inhibit free-radical production by 37% and reduce lipid peroxidation by 81% in human skin fibroblasts.14
Additionally, the combination of the extracts decreased elastin glycation by 21% after 9 days in human fibroblasts exposed to fructose. This combination of nutrients was shown to protect against advanced glycation end products, prevent the formation of damaging glycotoxins that contribute to dark circles, and reduce the accumulation of the pigment lipofuscin responsible for light brown, yellowish age spots.14
There is also evidence that the two plant extracts, when exposed to human fibroblast cells of connective tissue, may strengthen the dermis by an impressive 229%, and increase elastin and collagen synthesis by 256%.14
In human studies, extracts of Albizia julibrissin and Siegesbeckia orientalis improve characteristics of aging around the eyes, including crow’s feet, drooping eyelids, and dark circles.
Scientists applied a cream containing either both plant extracts or a placebo twice daily to the crow’s feet of 24 volunteers aged 40-79. After two months, the volume and depth of wrinkles diminished by an average of 14.1% and 9.5%, respectively. They also observed an 11.2% increase in the opening of the wrinkles, thereby making them less pronounced.14
Next, scientists retained 18 volunteers with drooping upper eyelids from this study and applied the same protocol. Participants experienced a 20.4% decrease in height of the fold of the eyes, and a 13.7% reduction in drooping surface area. At the end of two months, 94% of participants demonstrated a visible lifting effect on the upper eyelid.14
In another controlled clinical study with 24 participants (mean age 42), twice daily application for two months of a cream containing both plant extracts was shown to reduce dark circles under the eyes by 7.5%, whereas a placebo cream increased them by an approximate 2.8%.14
Researchers evaluated the self-assessment scores of 105 volunteers reporting a tired look characterized by dark circles, wrinkles, and puffiness. Compared to a placebo, participants applying a cream containing both plant extracts reported the following significant improvements after 28 days:14
- 44% reduction in the fatigue appearance of the eye area
- Approximate 42% reduction in wrinkles and puffiness
- Close to a 46% reduction in dark circles
Olive Oil Extract
The benefits of olive oil for skin health have been seen after both local (topical) and systemic (oral) administration. Olive oil is a well-known component of the Mediterranean diet that safeguards against numerous age-related diseases.15,16 As a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil reduces the risk of photoaged skin characterized by saggy and droopy eyelids, wrinkles, and undesirable pigmentation.17 Furthermore, olive oil’s main phenolic compound—oleuropein—supports the skin’s healing mechanisms, especially in the delicate area of the eyelids.18
Chondrus crispus—a species of red seaweed found along the rocky coasts of the Atlantic—has unique properties that can bind and trap water molecules,19 thereby effectively rehydrating different layers of eyelid skin. It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that help repair sun-damaged skin to leave it smoother and more radiant.20
The daily assault of external and internal factors such as ultraviolet radiation and formation of advanced glycation end products takes a heavy toll on the thin skin of the eyelids. This weakens the skin’s structural network of collagen and elastin—paving the way for the development of dark circles and bags under the eyes, as well as drooping eyelids that can add years to your perceived age.
Scientists have identified natural plant extracts—including Albizia julibrissin and Siegesbeckia orientalis—that work together to stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis. These topical compounds, combined with the moisturizing and nourishing properties of seaweed and olive oil extracts, offer a potent formula for rejuvenating aging eyelids.
Gary Goldfaden, MD, is a clinical dermatologist and lifetime member of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is the founder of Academy Dermatology in Hollywood, FL, and Cosmesis Skin Care. Dr. Goldfaden is a member of Life Extension®’s Medical Advisory Board. All Cosmesis products are available online.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
- D’Orazio J, Jarrett S, Amaro-Ortiz A, et al. UV radiation and the skin. Int J Mol Sci. 2013;14(6):12222-48.
- Pillai S, Oresajo C, Hayward J. Ultraviolet radiation and skin aging: roles of reactive oxygen species, inflammation and protease activation, and strategies for prevention of inflammation-induced matrix degradation - a review. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2005;27(1):17-34.
- Vierkotter A, Krutmann J. Environmental influences on skin aging and ethnic-specific manifestations. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):227-31.
- Pageon H, Asselineau D. An in vitro approach to the chronological aging of skin by glycation of the collagen: the biological effect of glycation on the reconstructed skin model. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005;1043:529-32.
- Pageon H, Zucchi H, Rousset F, et al. Skin aging by glycation: lessons from the reconstructed skin model. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014;52(1):169-74.
- Monnier VM, Mustata GT, Biemel KL, et al. Cross-linking of the extracellular matrix by the maillard reaction in aging and diabetes: an update on “a puzzle nearing resolution”. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005;1043:533-44.
- Langton AK, Griffiths CE, Sherratt MJ, et al. Cross-linking of structural proteins in ageing skin: an in situ assay for the detection of amine oxidase activity. Biogerontology. 2013;14(1):89-97.
- Kokila K, Priyadharshini SD, Sujatha V. Phytopharmacological properties of Albizia species: a review. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2013;5(Suppl 3):70-3.
- Kim WK, Jung JW, Ahn NY, et al. Anxiolytic-like effects of extracts from Albizzia julibrissin bark in the elevated plus-maze in rats. Life Sci. 2004;75(23):2787-95.
- Jung MJ, Chung HY, Kang SS, et al. Antioxidant activity from the stem bark of Albizzia julibrissin. Arch Pharm Res. 2003;26(6):458-62.
- Jung MJ, Kang SS, Jung HA, et al. Isolation of flavonoids and a cerebroside from the stem bark of Albizzia julibrissin. Arch Pharm Res. 2004;27(6):593-9.
- Wang JP, Zhou YM, Ye YJ, et al. Topical anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of kirenol isolated from Siegesbeckia orientalis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;137(3):1089-94.
- Hong YH, Weng LW, Chang CC, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of Siegesbeckia orientalis ethanol extract in in vitro and in vivo models. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:329712.
- Available at: http://truactivs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Beautifeye.pdf. Accessed August 10, 2016.
- Covas MI, Konstantinidou V, Fito M. Olive oil and cardiovascular health. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2009;54(6):477-82.
- Buckland G, Mayen AL, Agudo A, et al. Olive oil intake and mortality within the Spanish population (EPIC-Spain). Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(1):142-9.
- Latreille J, Kesse-Guyot E, Malvy D, et al. Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44490.
- Mehraein F, Sarbishegi M, Aslani A. Evaluation of effect of oleuropein on skin wound healing in aged male BALB/c mice. Cell J. 2014;16(1):25-30.
- Kadajji VG, Betageri GV. Water Soluble Polymers for Pharmaceutical Applications. Polymers. 2011;3(4):1972.
- Skrovankova S. Seaweed vitamins as nutraceuticals. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2011;64:357-69.