Eyes are the focal point for the face. They are also one of the first areas to show signs of aging. The skin around our eyes is extremely thin and delicate. As a result, our eyes are one of the first areas of our body to show signs of aging. These signs include dark circles, “crow’s feet”, and swelling. Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is the “gold standard” for rejuvenating eyes.
Eyelid lifts can make a tremendous difference in our appearance. The results are also long-lasting. However, there are other options for those people who are unable to undergo surgery.
Signs of Aging Around The Eyes
As previously mentioned, “crow’s feet” are one of the major signs of aging around the eyes. “Crow’s feet” are tiny lines that surround the eyes. Over time, they gradually become more noticeable. These lines are both dynamic (movement) and static (resting) wrinkles and lines.
Dynamic muscle activity, such as squinting, can cause wrinkles to develop. These orbicularis oculi muscles also help to aid in reflecting our motions of happiness or pain.
Environmental factors, such as sun and wind, can take their toll on the skin around the eyes. As a result, eyelid tissue loses collagen and elastin, which reduces skin elasticity. This ultimately results in irregularities, excess skin, wrinkles, and folds.
For women, menopause can also affect your skin. During menopause, many women suddenly are deficient in their main estrogenic hormone: B–estradiol. This deficiency can result in a breakdown in supportive fat that lies underneath the skin surface. This can subsequently result in a sagging and wrinkled appearance.
The Key to More Youthful Eyes
The good news is that there are treatments to prevent aging around the eyes. Eye creams can help prevent periorbital wrinkles and “crow’s feet”. These creams hydrate the eyelid, which results in decreased wrinkles and fine lines. Unfortunately, it only lasts 8-12 hours. Sunscreen with an SPF 30 or above can help reduce the negative effect of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light breaks down collagen and elastin, facilitating development of “crow’s feet”.
While surgery is considered the standard for aging eyes, there are other options that bridge the gap between surgery and eye creams:
Neuromodulators can relax the muscles around the eyes (orbicularis oculi muscles). They are a popular remedy for “crow’s feet”. Their affect is not permanent, but lasts 3-4 months on average.
Dermal fillers can be injected around the eyes. They help tighten the skin, smooth the contour, and reduce “crow’s feet”. The effects are not permanent, but in selected patients, they can provide excellent results.
For individuals who do not desire to use dermal fillers, fat grafting may be an alternative. In these cases, the patient’s own fat is removed, processed and then injected with special cannulas to provide contouring around the eyes. They can be especially effective in helping to not only add volume, but also reduce under–eye hollows. The advantage is that it is your own tissue (autologous).
Lasers and Chemical Peels
Lasers and chemical peels can be an effective way to rejuvenate the eyes. Both procedures remove the top layer of the skin and penetrate into the deeper layers. This stimulates the production of new collagen. An ointment such as Vaseline is applied to the treated area several times a day for the first week. Most people are able to return to normal activities and apply makeup within 7 days. The procedure is usually performed as an office procedure. In selected patients, the procedure can provide excellent and long-lasting results.