Background Evidence suggests that periorbital hyperchromia (dark circles) occurs mainly as a consequence of postinflammatory hemodynamic congestion producing a typical bruising aspect on the lower eyelids.
Aims To evaluate the clinical effects of Pfaffia paniculata/Ptychopetalum olacoides B./Lilium candidum L.-associated compound (PPLAC) on periorbital hyperchromia and to study in vitro its underlying anti-inflammatory and antioxidant mechanisms.
Methods Twenty-one volunteers presenting with periorbital hyperchromia received a serum sample containing 5.0% PPLAC, which was applied topically in the periorbital area twice a day for 28 days. Skin color was measured using variations in the individual typological angle (ΔITA0) and skin luminance (ΔL*) calculated in the area around the eyes and in the adjacent area. Colorimetric readings were taken at the onset and end of the 28-day treatment. Volunteers were also asked to fill out a questionnaire concerning the improvement in “dark circles.” The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of PPLAC were measured by quantification of prostaglandin E2, leukotriene B4, histamine, and superoxide dismutase levels using an in vitro model of human skin culture.
Results Topical application of PPLAC led to a significant improvement in skin luminance and tone in the periorbital area, which was demonstrated by increased values of ITA0 and L* in about 90% of volunteers. In addition, subjects reported reduced intensity and improved appearance of “dark circles.” A dose-dependent decreased production of inflammatory mediators, concomitant to increased antioxidant enzyme levels, was observed in our in vitro studies, under basal and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated conditions.
Conclusions Although the precise mechanisms related to PPLAC remain to be clarified, our results indicate that the reduction in the inflammatory process as well as the antioxidant protection against deleterious elements may be considered as an integral approach to preserve the integrity of vascular endothelium, preventing the hemodynamic congestion that culminates in the formation of “dark circles” around the eyes.