Our eyes are the windows to our souls, it’s true. But, they are also the window to our rough nights, our long days, and our oh-so-taxing weeks. When we’re tired, stressed, or not feeling well, we can see it in and around our eyes – making them one of the first spots that show the signs of aging. To boot, there are a seemingly endless array of eye issues that plague us and I know I’m already exploring options to fix some myself. Fortunately, I have a handful of the best board-certified plastic surgeons at my disposal to answer my most pressing questions, and friends who’ve already had some experience with these procedures themselves.
We love shopping bags, but under-eye bags are the worst. And it seems the more we stress about it, the uglier they appear! “Bags are caused by herniated peri-orbital fat and are usually genetic. The only way to truly improve them, or really, eliminate them is to remove the fat altogether with a blepharoplasty surgery,” says Dr. Peter Neumann, Chief Plastic Surgeon: Nassau Plastic Surgical Associates in Roslyn, NY. In fact, Leigh Fountain, who works with the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery had a lower blepharoplasty done a couple of years ago and describes it as, “life-changing.” She loves the result and says it was well-worth it.
Lasers may help that under-eye crepey skin that impacts countless women as they start to head into their late-30s and early-40s, like mild pixel lasers which aren’t terribly expensive and typically only cause a bit of mild redness that usually disappears within a week. Fillers and neurotoxins (like Botox, Dysport & Xeomin) can NOT be used safely in this area,” cautions Dr. Neumann, so lasers are probably the best bet to reduce that dreaded crepiness. Almost everyone I know over the age of 35 complains about this, so it’s good to know that a nonsurgical laser-based procedure might help!
Low brows and loose skin cause upper-eye hooding. “Sometimes the use of neurotoxins, (Botox et al.) can raise the eyebrows which will address this issue, but in certain cases where the hooding is more severe, surgical skin removal is required” says Dr. Neumann.
There’s all sorts of reasons we may have dark circles under our eyes. Some are genetic, some are just lifestyle and/or environment-related. Dark circles are seen in thin-skinned individuals because superficial blood vessels are visible due to being so close to the surface of the crepey skin. “By removing or tightening the loose skin, the darkness improves. Many times, the circles are caused only by the loose skin and shadowing. Again, removal of loose skin helps address that greatly. Bleaching creams, Porcelona and other creams never work,” he cautions.
Genetics can play a major role in the appearance of dark circles in younger patients. “Some families have pigmentation abnormalities or sun sensitivity causing dark circles. Fatigue is another reason for dark circles under the eyes. Puffiness from fatigue-induced swelling or under-eye bags can worsen the appearance of dark circles by creating shadows. In addition, older patients typically have thinner, more translucent skin that magnifies the tiny blood vessels found around the eye. These patients tend to also have leaky micro blood vessels that stain the skin with iron found in blood much like with a bruise. This iron staining can last for weeks,” says plastic surgeon, Dr. Ulysses Scarpidis.
The key to a successful treatment is to correctly identify the cause of your dark circles. “All in all, a combination of rest to reduce blood pressure and minimize blood vessel engorgement, sleeping on your back to reduce overall facial and eyelid swelling, and products that help restore eyelid skin thickness and constrict blood vessels will significantly improve dark circles,” says Dr. Scarpidis.
Crow’s feet and eye wrinkles
“My philosophy is less about erasing all wrinkles and more about looking the best for your age and aging gracefully,” says Dr. Scarpidis. “For this reason, I prefer non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures as preventative measures rather than corrective surgical transformations at a later age. Regardless of age, but especially with my younger patients, I focus on education about the importance of sunscreen and avoidance of sun exposure altogether, skincare and the proper skin regimen for their skin type, antioxidant protection from free radicals, and repair peptides for skin rejuvenation. As we age, fine wrinkles become more pronounced. Interestingly, very expressive patients develop facial wrinkles at a younger age but forgo treatment with neuromodulators, such as Botox and Xeomin, because they fear losing their facial expressions,” says Dr. Scarpidis.
The surgery on the eyelids are divided into upper and lower lid surgery. Both are often performed together. “This can be done in the office under local anesthesia or in the outpatient setting with sedation. Surgery takes 1-2 hours and the removal of the fat is permanent. Over the years, the skin may droop a bit again requiring revision, which involves the simple removal of the excess skin. Lower eyelids rarely need secondary surgery, and upper lid hanging over time is usually treated with toxins only. Surgery costs range from $3,500-$5,500 and recovery is over a 1-2 week period. Patients must be off of all blood thinners, Aspirin or Advil prior to surgery. When done by a well trained professional, it is safe,” says Dr. Neumann.
Eyelid surgery has a 94.2% patient satisfaction rating. To learn more about the procedure, and read patient reviews, visit the procedure page.
The best advice for dealing with aging around the eyes? Stop stressing and do the best you can. Stress can age you too!