Eyes are the very first thing we notice about someone. Our eyes are naturally drawn to theirs before anything else. They are quite possibly one of our most important and most beautiful facial features! And while we can’t really control the color of our eyes we can control the health of the skin around them.
Did you know that the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most sensitive surface on the body? Because of this, the eyes are more apt to deteriorate over time and therefore it is one of the first signs of an aging face.
Looking tired all the time is no fun! But the good news is there are plenty of ways to mitigate the look of those dark ‘bags’. Laugh lines are natural, they have their charms. I mean how lovely to have a sign of laughter on your face. But the deep crevices in the skin can end up feeling more unflattering than good and that’s okay!
So what is causing the aging and darkness around our eyes and how can we slow or reverse this process!?
Signs of Damage Around the Eyes
While there are several signs of aging skin near the eyes, fine lines and wrinkles are the most typical initial symptoms of the aging process. Sun damage (UV radiation, lack of collagen, toxins and lack of hydration all cause damage to the skin around the eyes. Even the daily habits we develop over time, such as rubbing or squinting the eyes can increase the formation of crow’s feet and leave you with wrinkles for years to come! The way your muscles contract when squinting or smiling and the shape of the supporting bone underneath are important determinants to a beautiful, fresh appearance.
How fast & intense damage occurs is a combination of genetics and lifestyles. Genetic elements such as elasticity, pigment, bone, and muscle all play a significant role in how well the skin around your eyes will hold in the face of aging.
Some of the aging signs include; dark circles, crepey or sagging skin, hollowness/puffiness, hooded eyelids, and even diminishing lashes.
How to Keep Your Eyes Bright and Fresh
Start by making a difference every day at home with an anti-aging eye cream. Not all eye creams are created equal. Medical grade eye creams are going to contain the most powerful ingredients that are scientifically proven to penetrate and CHANGE the skin around the eyes. If you are especially concerned with fine lines, wrinkles or milia around the eye I suggest an eye cream with retinol and I absolutely love Youthful Eye Cream Retinol + Niacinamide.
This anti-aging eye cream contains micro peptides to help restore elasticity and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains growth factors which help to hydrate, plump, and stimulate collagen production. I also love that this cream contains a “pop” of caffeine to combat puffiness. It really brightens the eye area.
I apply eye cream all underneath my eye, around the crow’s feet, and then onto my eyelid and underneath my brow. This eye cream is great for daily and nightly use. A little pro tip is to actually use your eye cream on your lips as a moisturizer!
Another easy, at-home way to bring a youthful appearance to your eyes is to strengthen and lengthen your eyelashes with Latisse. As we age, our lashes tend to diminish and become more sparse. Our eyelash follicles (the openings in the skin through which the lash grows) can slow, or stop producing new lashes altogether. Scrubbing or rubbing eyelashes too hard, and wearing eyelash extensions can damage the skin and cause delicate eyelashes to fall out. Long, dark, and full eyelashes can enhance the beauty of the eyes, making you appear more youthful and alert. A few times per week I use Latisse. This is a prescription eyelash serum that helps your lashes grow longer, thicker, and darker. I have been using this for over 10 years and it is truly one of my best (unkept) lash secrets! Long lashes really anti-age and brighten the eye. This is definitely one of my highest satisfaction treatments among my patients and it’s super easy and you can use it at home! Good news is I can prescribe this and ship nationwide if you are interested read more about how it works and how to obtain a prescription through my blog. Read more on my latisse blog.
There are two ways that Botox can reverse signs of aging: to lift the eyes and to decrease the smile lines around the eye. As we age our brow position drops and our eyelids become heavier and more “hooded.” Constant smiling and squinting cause static lines (wrinkles) to form around the eyes. These are things that topical eye creams alone can not combat.
The Most Popular Sites for Botox to Brighten Eyes
Glabella – Between the brow’s for the “11” lines
This will get rid of the 11’s and wrinkles between the eyebrows. This area is my favorite area to botox because it is how we create what is called a liquid brow lift. By using botox here the complimentary muscles in the forehead take over and cause the eyebrows to lift up. This is the perfect amount of lift for anyone and everyone. It gives the eyebrows a beautiful arch, and leaves more room for makeup on the exposed eyelid. This is especially helpful in women who are experiencing “hooding” in the upper eyelid. Hooding is the excess skin hanging down over the lid and sometimes sits on the top of the lash line. When we lift the brow we can minimize the hooding and this creates a much more rested and youthful appearance.
This is the area in the corners of the eyes also known as the smile lines. Some people like to fully relax them and others choose to slightly soften them, leaving some room for movement.
FAQ: Yes, This can absolutely be done without changing the smile!
Read more about all things Botox here.
Filler to Tear Troughs (Under Eyes)
When the under eyes hollow out we often look sunken and tired. A little filler under the eyes can go a long way! Filler in this area can lift out hollowness, help reduce dark circles, and help to mask under-eye bags if you have them. When the hollowness under the eyes is reduced it gives off the appearance of instant rest! Depending on the patient’s anatomy treating this area can provide tons of improvement, but not always perfection. I always go over realistic expectations with my patients. If you have fat pads or “bags” under your eyes you may be a better surgical candidate, this is more common in women over 50. For this area, which is very vascular, I always use the Cannula technique. This technique cuts down on bruising and swelling and is very safe and comfortable for the patient!
Read about Fillers here.
Co2 Laser Resurfacing
CO2 Laser Resurfacing is one of my all-time favorite laser treatments because it’s kind of a one stop shop to giving the skin a nice “overhaul.” This can be done solely to the undereye area or we can go ahead and treat the entire face. CO2 Laser resurfacing is an ablative (skin peeling) laser peel that helps to completely resurface the skin, improve texture, reduce and eliminate pigmentation and sun damage, and erases fine lines and wrinkles. That’s right, it does it ALL! With CO2 , the laser heats up the dermal layer of the skin causing tons of collagen stimulation. You will continue to see the collagen producing effects on the skin for up to 6 months post treatment!
This treatment is incredible for the fine lines and crepey skin under the eyes. Those teeny, tiny etched-in lines that cannot be treated with injectables can really be tackled with this laser treatment as the heat can help to “iron” them out. I like to describe it as a shrink-wrap like effect on that thin under eye skin. This is one of my favorite transformative ways to use CO2 laser.
Read more on the Co2 blog.
Surgery – The “Lower Bleph”
For this option I asked my boss, world renowned facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Mike Nayak to explain when and why surgery may be necessary to fully correct the aging eye. Dr. Nayak is truly the best at his craft and I am so honored to have worked for such an incredibly talented individual and surgeon. He has performed surgery on many of our family and friends and hopefully someday he will be able to fix my aging lids when I am ready 😉
Doctor Nayak explains, “Lower blepharoplasty is the gold standard in improving the appearance of the lower eyelid because it can address not only the tear trough emptiness, but also the bulging fat in the bag above the tear trough. When appropriate, lower eyelid looseness can also be treated, as can excess skin and wrinkles. Because lower blepharoplasty can be tailored to treat each person’s specific needs in each of these areas, results can be amazing.
This patient is a good example. She has excess fat (red dots) in one part of the eyelid, and inadequate fat (green dots) in the tear trough and anterior cheek. Together, they create the typical “bag and dark circle” appearance of the aging lower eyelid. In her case, the excess fat was removed through an incision hidden behind her eyelid, and the hollowness was performed with “living filler” fat transfer from her abdomen. A CO2 laser was also used as a finishing touch to refresh the skin of the eyelid.
Her results, below (which also include an upper blepharoplasty and browlift to keep her face in balance) are shown about 1 month after surgery.
Because lower blepharoplasty can be performed with no external skin incision, it is safe in skin of color, and does not keloid. The results shown below are approximately 3 months after surgery in a woman with a Fitzpatrick V skin type. She has a natural restoration with no visible signs of surgery.
Lower blepharoplasty takes about 1 hour to perform, and we routinely do them under sedation in our accredited office based operating rooms. Patients sleep comfortably during their surgery, and typically have no pain during their 1 week of social downtime. They may hide their bruising with sunglasses during that week, and resume strenuous activities after 2 weeks.
Final results take 3-4 months, and are considered permanent. Although the face will continue to age, the fat bag has been removed forever, and the survival rate of fat transfer to the lower eyelid approaches 100%. Because this procedure is so effective and long lasting, it is one of the highest satisfaction treatments in our practice.
-Dr. Nayak (@nayakplasticsurgery)
EYE hope you learned a lot (SEE what I did there).
One last tip is make sure to get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, and wear SPF daily to preserve not only your eyes but all of your skin.
If you’re tired of looking tired you now have a ton of tools to get your eyes looking bright and fresh again!
Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions!