If the eyes are the window to the soul, the sagging skin and lower eyelid puffiness indicate that yours have been around for a longer period of time than you want the rest of the world to know. There are an abundance of eye creams available that claim to get rid of bags under the eyes. But puffy, baggy eyes that are caused by the physical aging process have no simple fix, say cosmetic experts and medical professionals. Only a skilled plastic surgeon can deliver a permanent cure for bags under the eyes.
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Bags under the eyes most often mean that you're fighting a losing battle with gravity. Mayo Clinic experts explain that when you grow older, the supporting structures around the eyelids become weaker, allowing fat poised above your eyes to migrate underneath. Fluid retention can also cause baggy, puffy eyes. Mayo Clinic experts cite other factors that can exacerbate eye puff, such as weather changes, sleeping on your back, allergies (or dermatitis), getting an inadequate amount of sleep and hereditary factors. Medical antiaging treatments, such as chemical peels and laser resurfacing, can detract from under-the-eye puffiness, but eyelid surgery gives you the best, most permanent results.
Blepharoplasty, sometimes known as an "eye lift," is a common surgical procedure used to get rid of bags under the eyes. Cosmetics and skincare expert Paula Begoun states that this procedure "literally removes excess skin and fat, or tightens lax muscles to improve the appearance around the eyes." Begoun cautions that eyelid surgery won't remove all signs of aging and other cosmetic concerns, such as crow's feet or natural discoloration under the eyes–these are best remedied with chemical peels or laser treatments mentioned by the Mayo Clinic. Eyelid surgery can be used independently, but your doctor may recommend different treatments to get you the results you want, Begoun says.
The Mayo Clinic states that blepharoplasty is usually done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia, in which the eyelids are injected with numbing medication. When making an incision, the surgeon cuts along your lower eyelid, just underneath your lashes, following the natural crease of the eye. Excess fat, skin and muscle is removed, and the incision is sutured or closed with tape or another adhesive. The procedure, in its entirety, usually takes no longer than two hours, says the Mayo Clinic. After a short time spent in recovery, you are sent home with a postsurgical plan of care.
Eyelid surgery comes with the same risks are other invasive procedures, which include infection and negative reaction to anesthesia, says the Mayo Clinic. There's only a slight risk of blindness. Other complications can include temporary eyelid numbness, temporary changes in vision, irritated eyes, scarring and impaired functioning of the eyelid. Additionally, blepharoplasty is an elective cosmetic procedure and probably won't be covered under your health-insurance plan, says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Ask your plastic surgeon if a financing plan is available.
But what about the tempting under-eye "depuffing" creams on the market? Cosmetic companies are notorious for trotting out new products with "miracle" ingredients. It's smarter to save your money for your surgeon's consultation. Both Begoun and BeautyBrains.com cosmetic scientists flatly state that there are no cosmetic or skincare products that can get rid of under-eye bags and puffy eyes. Preparation H, used to treat hemorrhoids, purportedly helps. Cecil Adams of "The Straight Dope" has since debunked this as another old wives' remedy. Adams contacted the manufacturer of the hemorrhoid cream, who stated, "There is no clinical evidence to support that it reduces eye puffiness."