A TikTok video has the potential to reach millions in a few short hours, which is what happened when user @trinidad1967 captured the effects of her favorite eye cream in real time. Without any cuts or speeding up the video, she applied Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant FIRMx Temporary Eye Tightener ($38) to her prominent under-eye bags and within minutes the excess skin tightened up almost miraculously.
In one day, the video amassed more than 13 million views and was single handedly responsible for a massive rush to purchase the $38 cream. In mere minutes after the cream is applied, the under-eye bags begin to flatten. New York plastic surgeon Mokhtar Asaadi, MD says those bags are actually malar bags, or festoons. “Festoons occur due to excess fat and laxity of orbicularis muscle, not skin,” he explains.
So, what is in this cream that causes a Preparation-H like result? According to Woodbury, NY oculoplastic surgeon David Schlessinger, MD, key ingredient sodium silicate is responsible for the instant tightening. “Creams like Instant FIRMx certainly can lead to temporary improvement in the appearance of under eye bags. The active ingredients hydrate the skin and as they dry, they begin to contract, thus shrinking the skin.”
“Sodium silicate is a mineral and an astringent substance,” adds Dr. Asaadi. “It can make skin appear tighter temporarily, but you have to be careful because it’s also a skin irritant and can also cause chemical burns.”
Boca Raton, FL oculoplastic surgeon Steven Fagien, MD, notes that just like every skin-care product and treatment available, results will vary depending on the individual. “It will not be equally effective in all individuals. Some may see dramatic results like in this video, and others may not get much of a result and may even experience visibility of other issues like worsening of lower eyelid lines with animation and smiling. It also can leave behind a visible white residue when it dries.”
If this miracle eye cream doesn’t work for you—and let’s face it, one cream can’t do it all—there are other treatments to address festoons like the ones shown in the video. “Festoons are very difficult to treat, but we’ve had success using microneedling with radio frequency technology like Morpheus8 and with tetracycline injections,” says Dr. Schlessinger
For a permanent fix, Dr. Asaadi adds that festoons are best corrected by surgical tightening of the orbicularis muscle and removal of the fat in prezygomatic space. “Many patients that I see for treatment of festoons had the procedures before, like lasers, thread lifts, or fillers that ended up making them look worse.”
For now, those who want a temporary fix can get on the waiting list for the soon-to-be sold-out viral cream. “While this is not the first kind of topical used to improve the appearance of lower eyelid bags. This video is impressive and these topicals are usually reasonably safe for most people. As far as efficacy, it really depends on what you mean,” says Dr. Fagien. “Results are very temporary, but what I like about this product is it’s an easy option for a difficult problem to treat.”
“Using this product for temporary purposes is OK, as long as it’s used in moderation with an understand that effects are short lived,” adds New York oculoplastic surgeon Irene Gladstein, MD. “Those with a history of allergies to skin care and make up products—be on a look out for the signs of contact dermatitis, and discontinue use immediately.”
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