As the aging process takes place, many changes happen to the body. One of the most obvious signs of aging is its effect on the skin. The appearance of the face begins to change. The skin sags, wrinkles and creases become more prominent, years of skin damage manifest in blotchy pigmentation. For most, this evolution is a cosmetic burden. Some of the aging process is determined by genetics and some of it is determined by how well we care for ourselves.

Eyebags, also known in different forms as tear troughs or dark circles, are associated with aging. But they can be present from youth in people with a genetic predisposition to have them. This can produce an accelerated appearance of aging, since these dark circles make people look tired and generally less youthful. So what causes them? Can anything be done to get rid of them?

result of eyebags treatment with radiesse in a los angeles patient

Eyebags treated with Radiesse.*

Eyeshadows or Dark Circles vs. Eyebags

Eyeshadows, or dark circles, tend to occur at an earlier age. The under eye is not bulging, rather there is a perception of dark coloration of the undereye area. The space is usually bordered by an underlying groove known as the tear trough.

Many genetic factors play into the appearance of the skin beneath the eyes. A few of them include facial bone structure, how superficially the blood vessels run beneath the skin in this area, and pigmentation. The skin in this area is naturally thin and delicate, but for some it may be more so, which also makes the darkness more pronounced.

Additional factors may be not getting enough sleep, consuming too much caffeine, consuming alcoholic beverages, not drinking enough water, excess production of melanin caused by UV exposure, and nasal congestion.

Eyebags manifest at a later age, typically from the age of 30-35. There is looseness and wrinkling of the skin of the under eye area and a bulge that lies on top of the tear trough. Once the eyebags begin to sag and/or protrude, there are different causes at play. While it may still be genetics that makes them more prominent in some than in others, they affect most people beyond a certain age. This is due to a combination of things. Aging causes the skin to lose firmness and elasticity as our collagen fibers degenerate.  In addition, facial fat decreases and the ligaments that connect skin to bones stretch and weaken. Lastly, the membrane that contains fat deposits also weakens, which allows the fat to become displaced and possibly bulge where the eyebags were once flat.

How to Get Rid of Eyeshadows/Dark Circles

It is possible to reduce the appearance of tear troughs, whether you’re young or old. If you’re younger and dealing with dark circles, there are a few things you can try to reduce them. First, always make sure you stay hydrated and avoid beverages that cause dehydration. Get plenty of sleep and make sure you release any sinus pressure you experience. Nasal congestion causes the blood vessels beneath the eyes to become inflamed. Taking an antihistamine can help reduce this puffiness. Applying creams that contain retinol, and vitamins E, A, and K can also help. Hydroquinone might be used by your dermatologist in some cases, while laser resurfacing measures may be used alone or in combination with the aforementioned measures in others.

Treatment of Eyebags

Non-invasive methods such as injection of dermal fillers can be used to diminish the tear troughs. Reduction of the tear trough results in the diminished appearance of the eyebags as well as the wrinkling of the skin. Additionally, the stretching of the skin may reduce the appearance of dark circles/shadows. Hyaluronic acids fillers like Juvederm and Restylane are great for reducing the appearance of eyebags. They are a non-invasive cosmetic injection that should be administered by an experienced dermatologist. The results last up to 9 months. Radiesse, a thicker injection serum, is another option for tear troughs when the problem becomes structural.

This tends to be more the case in older people, when the dark circles begin to sag and protrude from the face. A compound like the calcium hydroxylapatite-based Radiesse can lift and tighten the sagging skin, while also diminishing the darkness. This is known as non-surgical blepharoplasty and the results last for up to 18 months. Another option for relieving tear troughs without fillers would be eyebag laser treatment with a CO2 laser like Fraxel Repair. This treatment can tighten the skin remarkably, but is not recommended in patients of darker skin color. Surgical blepharoplasty would be an effective last resort.

Click here to read more about Fraxel laser.