Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Your Questions Answered! How to Get Rid of Baggy Eyes

As of late, I have been getting tons of great questions from my readers.  So I decided to address them publicly so that everyone can benefit from the answer.  I can also give a more detailed and thoughtful answer this way. 

"Hi Michelle< I was wondering if you know any techniques or cosmetics for the bags under the eyes? I now have an extra bag under each eye. and I know getting older doesn't help but I would like to minimize them.."

First, let's understand the difference between Puffy eyes and Baggy eyes. 

Puffy eyes are mostly a build up of fluids caused by allergic reactions, lack of sleep, stress, too much sodium intake, build up of toxins, crying, body fluid fluctuations, too much alcohol intake, hereditary disposition, contact lens irritation, and irritations to eye creams or lotions.  Puffy eyes are relatively easy to treat.  Basically try to avoid any of the above.  But if you still end up getting puffy eyes then a cold compress for about 10-15 minutes can do the trick. 

Baggy eyes are the loss of elasticity in the skin around the eyes caused by aging, too much pulling on the skin over the years, hereditary disposition, toxicity, pillows of fat that have bellowed out due to the ligaments getting weaker, swelling and deflating during sinus infections, and lifestyle.  This is usually a permanent issue but can be minimized by skin treatments and surgery.

Both types are similar and can be treated a lot the same to minimize the appearance.  You can tighten the skin temporarily with a cold compress to bring down the swelling or with topical treatments such as Obaji's Elastiderm.  There's also a trick used by makeup artists by putting Preparation H on the puffy areas.  But use caution to not get this product in the eyes!  Make sure to use the cream form and not the gel form.  Lifestyle changes can go a long way too.

A more aggressive and longer lasting way to treat puffy or baggy eyes is to use a filler such as Juviderm.  This typically lasts up to 18 months and requires no surgery.  It is injected just below the puffy eye to balance out the look and to remove indentations.  Botox is often used in conjunction to smooth out the lines.  The overall look is a younger looking eye.  The cost for Juviderm is about $500 for a vial and the amount depends on how much you need.  Some people can go to 2-3 vials pretty easily.  Botox is about $10 a unit and again the amount depends on your needs.  Most people can look at at least 30 units or more.  This type of treatment requires artistic talent and should only be done by a qualified and trained doctor.

For a more permanent look, lasting around 20 years is an eye lift (Blepharoplasty).  This does require surgery and downtime.  This involves inserting a tiny electric probe into the "puff" and melting the fat.  This is the only thing needed for younger people, but some older folks may also need the skin to be tucked.  This surgery can be expensive at around $6000 but, again the overall look is a younger looking eye without the hassle of going in every 18 months to be poked.  Please please, please make certain that your doctor is a qualified surgeon and is a board certified plastic surgeon.

Ok, so if surgery and being filled and poked is not an option for you.  You can create an illusion of tightened eyes with makeup.  The secret weapon is concealer.  That's right.  Concealer.  Using a creamy concealer about 1-2 shades lighter then your natural color.  Pat in the corner of your eye working to the outer corner.  Use a fluffy brush to buff it out in a downward "v".  Meaning sitting on the top of your cheek bone.  The lighter color will reflect light therefore creating an illusion of smoother eyes.  Make sure to start with a small amount.  If you need more apply a tiny bit more.  But don't over do it.  You don't want it to be obvious.  Set your concealer with dust of translucent powder.  A little bit of illuminator such as MAC's Strobe Cream or Mary Kay's Liquid Illuminator on the top of the cheek bones, down the bridge of the nose and in the center of the forehead will create a youthful appearance.

Makeup and lifestyle is certainly the safest and easiest way to minimize the appearance of puffy and baggy eyes.  But it isn't a permanent fix or a perfect solution.  The choice is yours and it should be weighed out carefully.  Make sure you are fully informed on all of your options by doing your research and having a consultation with a board certified surgeon or medical doctor.