Under-eye bags, the bane of my life, but I’ll get back to mine another day. You see, I got a ROKer question about one type of these bags ages ago (in August), my apologies for the delay. I’ve long wanted to write a post about these tricky nasty things that so many women and men are bothered by, but I was frozen in my approach to it as there are so many of them to write about! They come in all shapes and colors (literally) and it took some dedication and a little bit of focus before I realized “well, split them up then goddamnit!” And so I shall.
This first one is a response to Khoshy and Sireen who both asked what to do for under eye bags caused by saggy skin rather than pigment.
Sireen’s question: “can you recommend any good hydrating ‘lifting’ eye cream? I don’t have a problem with under-eye hyperpigmentation, but my eyes tend to look tired and I get circles underneath. I have tried creams by clinique and elizabeth arden, and I found that while they do hydrate and make the skin softer, they do not seem to do much for the sagging… Would love to hear your opinion on this”
Khoshy’s question (translated from Swedish): “ my biggest problem is my thin and sagging under-eye skin, which is so hard to treat, hope you can help me with this!”
Dearest Sireen and Khoshy, you present concerns that a lot and I mean A LOT of people will recognice as troublesome, myself included.
- Causes of undereye skin thinning and sagginess:
-First of all, under-eye skin is thinner to begin with than the rest of your face, and so has a tendency to show signs of aging sooner, one sign being thinning of the skin due to loss of skin vital proteins such as collagen and elsatin, which then eventually leads to crepitation and sagging. These are lost due to exposure to sunlight and pollutants, be it from the outside environment (pollution as a cause of aging), from the diet we indulge in (diet and the skin and this one ), or from our life style choices such as smoking.
-The second thing to note, is that the under-eye area does not contain oil glands like the rest of your facial skin does, and so has a tendency to dry out more quickly, another cause of increased wrinkle formation.
-The skin around the eyes also gets a much greater workout; every time you move your eyes, whether you squint, smile or widen them in surprise, you're working out the tiny muscles around your eyes. Over time, the stretching leaves the skin friable and forms wrinkles, sometimes called crow's feet.
-As we grow older, the bones start to shrink away from the skin on the face. Bone loss is a natural part of the aging process. The loss of bone leads to the sagging of skin on the face, as does fat loss, another effect of aging, very visible on the under-eye area.
- Best ways to prevent skin sagginess:
1. SPF: As always, proper sun-care, and UV protection (especially UVA) is essential in prevention of premature skin aging, maybe more so around the eyes since its delicate nature makes it more exposed to the effects of UV radiation. 2. Retinol: Retinol has been shown to increase collagen formation, the major skin-firming protein by up regulating the activity of the cells that make it –fibrocytes. Opting for an under-eye cream that contains retinol will surely make a great difference both in prevention and in reversal of the sagginess once it has occurred. 3. Wear sunglasses to avoid squinting, and the formation of crow’s feet. 4. Diet: Eat well. Plain and simple, there are foods that will make you look younger, for longer, some of which I have mentioned in my post about how diet effects our skin. The take home message is to include loads of fresh vegetables, some fruits and a lot of berries everyday to optimize protection of the fibers of your skin, and aid synthesis. Vitamin C is especially beneficial for collagen synthesis, or should I say mandatory, sulfur is another component needed for proper production, found in celery. 5. Avoid rubbing and tugging the under-eye area by gently using pressing motions of your ring finger when applying creams and makeup, and remove with light strokes using a moistened cotton pad. 6. Peptides: Certain minerals are also essential for collagen production. One such mineral is copper. Paired with peptides collagen formation has been shown to increase with application of these little building blocks for our skin.
- What to do when the bags have appeared?
- Topical treatments
1. Dr Dennis Gross Hydra-Pure Firming Eye Cream 15ml/0.5oz My favorite of the bunch. Contains a staggering number of skin firming ingredients including retinol, vitamin C, peptides, as well as moisturizing skin plumping hyaluronic acid, soothing almond oil and a number of antioxidants including vitamin E and ubiquinone. (and these are just a few of the components!) 2. Dermalogica age smart age reversal eye complex : Another great multitasker, also fab for those of you seeking dark-circle relief in addition to antiaging benefits. This one also contains retinol, and tissue-regenerating peptides plus Vitamin C to fortify skin and help strengthen against fine lines and related signs of aging. Exclusive UGL complex helps retexturize while Oat Proteins and Fraxinus Extract firm. The UGL complex or Urea Glycolysates, is a natural exfoliating complex. This complex can activate both epidermal and dermal cells resulting in improved cell renewal as well as an increased production of Hyaluronic Acid and collagen. Prolonged use of UGL Complex results in increased superficial and integral skin firmness, increased density of the epidermis and dermis and result in a clinical improvement of the skin surface.
3. Osmotics Eye Surgery Under Eye Rejuvenator 15ml/0.5oz: contains a huge amount of peptides as well as hyaluronic acid. Said to firm the skin and consequently, reduce dark circles as well as puffiness.
- Minimally invasive treatments:
1. Induce collagen production with Thermage: Though a controversial and sometimes painful procedure, thermage uses radio waves to stimulate deep layers of skin and stimulate the production of collagen. After the roughly 45-minute procedure, patients will gradually notice that the surface layers of the treated area are replaced by healthier, younger looking skin.
2. CO2 or Fraxel laser procedures: The CO2 laser is best suited to tighten skin especially under the eye. Ablative CO2 combined with erbium is the gold standard and typically has 10-14 days of healing time. Fractional CO2 or Fraxel Re:pair can also tighten but not as well as fully ablative CO2. The Fraxel Re:store or fractional erbium is good for fine lines and texture and color improvements but will only "tighten" skin a small bit and only through the mechanism of collagen remodeling rather than heat induced collagen tightening (CO2) or wound contraction (CO2 and Fraxel Re:pair).
3. Fillers: Injecting hyaluronic-acid like fillers such as the Juvederm, Radiesse, or Restylane can help appareances by filling out lost volume and decrease the appearance of sagging skin. The filler needs to be injected deep under the muscle rather than into the superficial layers of the skin. An inexpert job can lead to puffiness. So choose a skilled, board-certified dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or ophthalmic surgeon who is experienced in under-eye injections. Results vary from 6-8 months.
- Surgery: If all else fails, you might want to try the most immediate and invasive resort. Also known as blepharoplasty, eyelid surgery improves the appearance of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both. It gives a rejuvenated appearance to the surrounding area of your eyes by removing excess skin and tightening the area manually.
So there you have it! There's a number of options to try out, and although it seems a retched thing to manage, all is not lost, and you may still be able to treat your under-eye-bags, one way or the other.