Are your eyes telling your age quicker than the rest of your face? If so, you’re not imagining it. “The skin in the eye area is about 10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face or body,” says Beverly Hills, CA oculoplastic surgeon Raymond Douglas, MD. “Our eyes are the first area to show signs of aging—sometimes a decade or more before other areas.”
Why it Happens:
According to Dr. Douglas, we lose some of the natural fat in our ocular region as we age. “This, combined with the breakdown of collagen and elastin, causes fine lines and wrinkles along with diminished elasticity in the area.”
New York oculoplastic surgeon Irene Gladstein, MD says dark circles, volume loss around the tear trough area, “or fat herniation in the area of lower eyelids, also known as ‘bags,’” can also contribute to an aged appearance.
From makeup tips and potent skincare ingredients to in-office tweaks and permanent fixes, experts outline every option when it comes to turning back the clock on the eyes.
These application tricks straight from top make up artists will help give the eyes a youthful look.
Use Creamy Formulas
Shimmery power shadows may look pretty in the pan, but celebrity makeup artist Ermahn Ospina says to steer clear of frosty, shiny shadows and powder formulas on the eyes. “Cream and liquid products are your friend,” agrees celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg. “Powder products often accentuate signs of aging, as mature skin tends to be more dry.” Instead, opt for cream shadows and take your time blending them in.
Go Easy on Concealer
When it comes to wrinkled skin, Greenberg says less is more, including concealer. Start with a small amount on the inner and outer corners of the eyes and blend. Along with proper application, selecting the right formula is paramount. Ospina says using one that is “both concealing and hydrating” will leave you with younger, more even-looking skin beneath and around the eyes.
Focus on Skin Prep
“Skin care plays an important role in prepping clients with mature skin,” says Greenberg. “For wrinkles, I start by hydrating the skin with a good moisturizer and primer.”
Quality skin care is a tool not to be overlooked.
When shopping for an eye cream, Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby says to look for one containing antioxidants, flavonoids, peptides, or caffeine. For an instant fix, “optical diffusers help diminish the appearance of dark circles and undereye puffiness, too.”
To plump out the look of wrinkles and lessen hyperpigmentation, creating new collagen is the goal. “One of the most beneficial skin-care ingredients to stimulate collagen is vitamin C,” says Dr. Allenby.
Anti-aging retinol can also be found in around-the-eye products. Before jumping in, Dr. Allenby says to keep these guidelines in mind: “Retinol should always be used at night, especially around the eye area. And, because retinol will make you sun-sensitive, always protect your skin with SPF during the day.”
For transformative results, experts say going under the knife isn’t your only option.
A Combination Approach
“Most mild-to-moderate concerns regarding the lower eyelids are often best managed with nonsurgical approaches,” Dr. Gladstein says. “More advanced cases may benefit from surgery as a first line of treatment, but may still require regenerative techniques for the best outcomes.”
By stimulating collagen production, microneedling treatments such as Vivace RF and Morpheus8 can make a significant improvement in the wrinkles and firmness around the eyes. “Vivace RF can be effective for the eyelids by improving fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation issues, as well as skin tone.”
Volume changes around the eyes should be managed by assessing the volume in the midface, says Dr. Gladstein. “Often, other parts of the face require correction prior to improving volume around the eyes.” According to Dr. Douglas, another area that can benefit from dermal fillers (used off-label) are the temples, “which can become depressed and showcase the bone around the ocular region, often a sign of age-related fat loss.” Due to the vasculature of the temples, it is vital to see a properly trained expert injector for this treatment.
If dynamic wrinkling around the eyes, aka crow’s-feet, is a concern, neurotoxins such as Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau and Daxxify offer an easy fix. By temporarily blocking the nerve signals responsible for these constrictions, wrinkling is bypassed. Neurotoxins can also sometimes be used on the forehead and glabella (between the brows) to help give a mild lift to the eye area.
Lasers + Tech
Collagen-boosters such as TIXEL and CO2 lasers are also used for skin-tightening and anti-aging around the eyes. By transferring thermal energy into the skin, Dr. Douglas says TIXEL doesn’t just tighten; “it also increases lubrication and reduces tear evaporation for an overall more youthful appearance with improved eye comfort.”
For low-lying lids or ptosis (a detachment of the eyelid muscle that can happen with age), Upneeq is a prescription daily eye drop that quickly opens up the eye. Utilizing 0.1 percent oxymetazoline hydrochloride, when placed in the eye, it causes the Muller’s muscle to contract and lift about 3 millimeters. “The result is a brighter, wider, bolder, more awake look,” says Dr. Douglas. “It’s like a great night of sleep and a cup of coffee combined.”
Powder products often accentuate signs of aging.
For a relatively quick, low downtime solution to aging eyes, consider a surgical approach.
An upper blepharoplasty, or eyelift, addresses the upper eyelid by removing excess fat, skin and muscle to eliminate the sagging skin, excess fat or puffiness on the upper eyelids.
A lower blepharoplasty removes the excess skin or “bags” under the eyes. This can be done via an incision just below the lower lash line or on the inside of the lower lid.
In addition to addressing “bags” and loose skin, a canthopexy procedure may be necessary to tighten the lower eyelid to prevent it from pulling away from the eyeball after surgery.
Ptosis correction surgery—Dr. Douglas calls the procedure “relatively simple”— tightens the Muller’s muscle of the lid for a wider, more awake look.
- Talk to your surgeon about your current medications and adjust accordingly
- Stop smoking and/or alcohol consumption
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs or any herbal supplements, which may increase bleeding and bruising
What to expect: Mild swelling, bruising, some irritation at the incision site, and dry eyes for a week is normal. Expect the healing process to last about 14 days and the small incision to fade into the eyelid’s crease.
What to do: Continue applying lubricating ointment, cold compresses and gauze
- Wear sunglasses daily to protect the area
- Prioritize quality sleep
- Avoid physical exercise
- Continue to steer clear of smoking and alcohol