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Anti-Aging Guide: Eyes

October 2, 2012

You want your eyes to be windows to your soul, not curtained with crow’s feet, bags, and sagging lids. If the area around your eyes has started to show signs of age, consider some of the following options to improve your appearance.

Botox and Skin Resurfacing

Crow’s feet — those lines radiating from the outside corners of your eyes — can be smoothed away with Botox® or skin resurfacing, either with a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or a laser procedure, noted the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Botox

Botox is injected into the muscles that contract during facial expressions (i.e. frowning or squinting), thereby blocking muscular nerve signals. This weakens the muscles so they can’t contract and diminishes facial wrinkles, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

You’ll see results within a few days, with the full effect evident in about a week. A Botox injection lasts about three to four months before it starts to fade. Repeated injections are needed to maintain a wrinkle-free look.

Skin Resurfacing

A chemical peel involves the application of a caustic solution to the skin. Chemical peels range from the mild peels such as alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and trichloracetic acid (TCA) which have less of a bleaching effect to the strong peels (phenol) which have more of a bleaching effect. The degree of change is also related to the length of time the peel remains on the skin and the type of application used.

Laser skin resurfacing uses a laser beam to achieve results. It can be performed either by creating an overall uniform injury to your skin or by drilling tiny holes into the deeper layers of your skin (fractional resurfacing), causing the collagen in your skin to contract and tighten between the tiny holes. The latter can be particularly effective in the lower eyelid area to combat the sagging or looseness caused by aging

With microdermabrasion, tiny crystals are applied to the skin to gently polish away lines and stimulate the production of skin cells and collagen. The goal of any skin resurfacing procedure is to perform a controlled injury to your skin, after which new, healthier-looking skin will emerge, explains the ASAPS.

Eyelid Surgery

Aesthetic eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) can help with a number of eyelid issues. It can address excess skin obscuring the natural fold of the upper eyelids, loose skin that hangs down from upper eyelid impairing vision, puffy upper eyelids, excess skin, lower lid droopiness, fine and crepey wrinkles, and dark under-eye circles and bags. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis.

Upper eyelid surgery involves an incision that follows the natural contour of the lid, through which excess skin and fatty tissue are removed. The incision for lower eyelid surgery is just below the lower lashes, allowing your plastic surgeon to remove excess skin, muscle, and fat, as well as correct special problems such as muscle laxity. Another option for lower lid surgery is to place the incision inside the lower eyelid, although this is not an option if excess skin needs to be removed. In some cases, your plastic surgeon may use a laser to tighten the lower eyelid skin.

It may take several weeks before the final results are apparent and several months before the incisions fade enough to become barely visible. Following your eyelid surgery, you will look more rested, refreshed and alert, with any bags and puffiness caused by excess fat now gone.

While the results of eyelid surgery are long-lasting, they can be affected by hereditary and lifestyle factors. Also, the normal aging process can cause some subsequent skin laxity and fine wrinkling over time that can be corrected with a forehead lift or a secondary eyelid procedure.

Plastic surgery, especially when concerning the delicate skin of the face, requires the artistry of a highly skilled surgeon. You can find a board certified plastic surgeon and view before and after pictures of specific procedures on our site.

While health insurance generally doesn’t pay for the cost of cosmetic procedures, there may be instances when the treatment will be covered, such as if the resurfacing is being performed to treat precancerous skin conditions or improves certain types of scars. Be sure to see our financing page for payment options, and discuss your treatment method with your surgeon and insurance provider to determine coverage.  

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