As people age, the underlying muscles and fat in the facial area can break down, leaving you looking tired and a bit haggard, even when you are well-rested. Those drooping puffy bags under the eyes may be contributing to the problem. Cosmetic procedures are available to tighten the under-eye skin, for a more rested, youthful look. Here are a few facts you should know about methods that can improve your appearance
What Causes Bags Under the Eyes?
Small, fleshy bags under the eyes may be caused by genetics. They may run in your family and be evident at an early age. However, aging can also cause under-eye bags, when the loss of collagen under the skin and uneven distributions of fat occurs under the eye. Retention of fluid in the body can cause the skin under the eyes to look puffy. Allergies can also cause under-eye bags. Eye infections may also cause swelling around or under the eyes. Some medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders, can cause under-eye bags. If you smoke, you may notice small pouches developing under the eyes. Stress and lack of sleep can also cause this effect.
Laser Resurfacing: The use of laser for resurfacing facial skin has been a common procedure for many years. This technology can also be used to provide tightening of the skin under the eyes, if the sagging is not very pronounced and if there is not a great deal of fat in the eye pouches.
Dermal Fillers: Fillers use compounds that mimic natural compounds that are produced in the body to “fill it” wrinkles and depressed areas. These fillers are sometimes used to reduce the look of poaching under the eyes. However, they are not always the right choice for severe bagging. Consult with a licensed dermatologist to determine if a tear-trough filler procedure would help your under-eye bags.
Chemical Peels: The chemical peels that are used to soothe the skin surface can also be used to reduce the appearance of undereye bags. These procedures use natural acids to tighten skin and eliminate fine lines. They can also help to tighten the area under the eyes to reduce bags under the eyes.
You can also use several at-home remedies to reduce bagging or pouches under the eyes. Cold compresses, such as ice packs, cucumber slices or refrigerated spoons will constrict the skin under the eyes for a less pronounced appearance. Hemorrhoid creams have been a standard home treatment for undereye bags for many years, but you should be careful to prevent the creams from getting into the eyes. Caffeine will also constrict blood vessels under the eyes, so try placing a chilled tea bag on the eyes for a tighter, more rested look. You can also reduce salt intake and sleep with your head raised on a second pillow to reduce undereye puffiness.
If non-surgical methods do not provide sufficient improvement in the appearance of under-eye bags, you may want to consider a surgical option. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is generally done as an outpatient procedure, and local anesthesia is used, along with sedation. However, in some cases, general anesthesia is used. The surgeon will first do markings on the surface of the skin as a guideline to determine where the correction is needed. A very small incision is made inside the lower eyelid or under the eyelashes. The fat in the lower lid pouch is removed or re-positioned. If necessary, the tendon that supports the lower lid will also be tightened. The incision is then closed with tiny stitches, and an antibiotic ointment is applied to the wound to prevent infection. Some individuals may choose to have upper eyelid surgery done at the same time as the lower lid procedure.
Preparing for the Surgery: Your surgeon may administer tests or do a thorough medical evaluation before your procedure. You should refrain from taking aspirin or other over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications before your surgery. These and other medications can affect bleeding during surgery. Discuss other medications you are taking with your surgeon. You should also stop smoking two weeks before your surgery and avoid smoking for two weeks after surgery. Avoid sun damage before the surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on medications to take after your surgery to avoid infections and to manage discomfort.
After Your Surgery: You can use iced gauze pads to reduce swelling and discomfort in the eye area. Keeping your head elevated will help to minimize swelling. An extra pillow or two will help to raise the head during sleep, or you may prefer sleeping in a recliner. Your surgeon will advise you on how to keep the incision clean during the healing period. Avoid using contact lens until two weeks after your eye surgery. Avoid sun damage and tanning beds for two weeks. When outdoors, wear sunglasses to protect the skin under the eyes and wear a hat.
You may find that methods for reducing under-eye bags vary in their effectiveness. In the end, you may decide lower lid blepharoplasty is the best choice for your needs. Your cosmetic surgeon will explain all aspects of the surgery and will provide detailed instructions for your aftercare.