Droopy. Baggy. Dark.
Those are fine names if you are one of the Seven Dwarfs. But if you wake up every morning looking more like one of those seven little men and not at all like Snow White, you know that it’s no fairytale. Lucky for you, modern cosmetic medicine can remove the evil curse of droopy lids, dark circles and bags under your eyes, helping you attain Snow White beauty in your own fairytale.
Ptosis or the sagging of eyelids is caused by heredity, age and gravity. As we age our skin loses some of its elasticity, causing skin to sag. Add the constant pull of gravity and the result is droops and wrinkles; the degree that this happens to your upper or lower eyelids, and even crows feet, depends on your genes. Crows feet can also be caused by sun-damage.
Dark Circles – or is it a Dark Shadow?
Dark Circles – Dark circles around the eyes are caused by the small blood vessels just under the skin surface, resulting in a dark bluish skin color. The skin around the eye is quite thin so it is easy to see blood vessels and sometimes even the color of the muscle just below the skin surface.
Dark Shadows – In many cases, dark circles under the eye are really just dark shadows that are a result of aging and genetics. As the muscles and ligaments weaken, they cause a prolapse,a small collapsed area below the lower eyelid. The area above the prolapse, especially if it gets puffy, casts a shadow below, causing the dark circle.
Dark Circles or Shadows – Which Is It?
Here’s an expert tip: Pull your lower eyelid gently to the side so that it is taut. Does the dark circle disappear? If your answer is yes, your problem is a shadow.
If your parents have bags under their eyes, chances are that you will, too. There is a natural amount of fat just below the skin in the eye area. For people who have a genetic history of under eye bags, the condition worsens when the ligaments below the eye weaken with age, allowing the fat in that area to sag and puff. As we age, the skin naturally loses its elasticity, and the bags below the eyes grow more noticeable.
Methods of Treatment
• Surgical Eye Lift (also known as Blepharoplasty) – According to plastic surgeon Darrick E. Antell, MD on WebMD, “Nothing beats a surgical eye lift.” If there is volume loss, the surgeon may reposition the fat to lift it up or in some cases, place an implant. Sometimes, a small amount of fat is taken out. If there is excess loose skin, a tiny tuck is made in lower lash line and excess skin is removed.
– A lifted and even-looking eye area
– The results from upper eyelid surgery may last from 5 years to forever
– Results from a lower lid surgery is usually permanent
Cost – around $6,000 depending on your geographical area
• Injectable dermal fillers – To treat dark shadows and bags under the eyes, a temporary filler, like Restalyne or Juvederm, is injected just under the puffy area to remove the troublesome indention below it. Fillers may also be used to add volume to lift a droopy eye and fill in crows feet lines.
Neurotoxins, like Botox and Dysport, are also an option. Injected into the problem area, Botox will freeze the muscle contractions in the treated area, which in turn lifts and smoothes the skin.
Because this is a non-invasive procedure, there is no downtime involved.
– A smoother and lifted-looking eye area
– Diminished, if not erased, crows feet
– Results lasts about 8 or 9 months for fillers and about 4 to 6 months for Botox or Dysport before the treatment needs to be repeated.
Cost – anywhere from $700 to $2,000 for each appointment, depending on the areas treated and your geographical area
• Thermage – Radio frequency is used to heat the lower layers of the skin to stimulate collagen production. The new collagen will plump up the treated area smoothing out indentations and wrinkles.
It is completely non-invasive and doesn’t require any downtime.
– Lifts the eye and brow area
– Tightens and smoothes the skin after an eye lift surgery
– One treatment is all you need to get the full benefits of Thermage.
– Works immediately and continues to work over time as your body stimulates new collagen formation.
Cost – Around $1500 per treatment area
• Ulthera – Using ultrasound technology, Ulthera stimulates the tissue to rebuild collagen. Like Thermage, it heats up the deep layers of the tissue without damaging the outer layers of the skin. The immediate result has a tightening and lifting effect on the treated area, with continuing improvement over time as collagen is rebuilt.
This treatment is non-surgical so it requires no downtime. Oral pain medication is given before the procedure, as there is some pain involved during the treatment. The treated tissue may be sensitive for a few days.
– Lifts droopy eyelids
– Fills in wrinkles
– Helps reduce the appearance of bags by filling in the indention under the bag
– Only one treatment is required
Cost – $1500 to $2000 per treatment
• Laser Therapy – This treatment is usually performed to complement other eyelid procedures. Ablative lasers act like a rejuvenating peel, resurfacing the skin by removing the damaged top layer. Non-ablative lasers heat the layers of skin beneath the surface to promote collagen growth.
– An improvement in wrinkles
– A gentle eye lift due to the stimulation of collagen
– 3 to 4 treatments are required over the course of a few months.
The degree of improvement varies from person to person. It will take at least 10 days for your skin to heal and maybe up to a month for the redness to go away and see the results.
Cost – $1000 to $4000 depending on the areas treated
• Chemical Peels – Also performed to enhance the results of other eyelid procedures, chemical peels can help improve the look of fine wrinkles around the eyes. An acid is applied to the skin to remove the outer layers to reveal fresher and smoother skin.
– An improvement in the appearance of fine wrinkles and furrows
Chemical peels take a week to 10 days to heal. Generally, chemical peels are only performed once but may be repeated after a few years
Cost – $700 up
Caring for Your Beautiful Eyes
The eye area is very delicate. Do your homework before deciding on a treatment plan and be sure to choose a qualified doctor who is an expert in performing the therapy you choose.
And, if in fact you do chase Seven Dwarfs around all night and you don’t get enough sleep or your diet isn’t all that it should be, you are just asking for droopy eyes, under eye bags and dark circles. If this is the case for you, ditch the dwarfs, eat better and try to get more sleep.
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