Puffy eyes can make the face look old and tired. One cause is the sagging of the tear trough – a groove under the eye that deepens with age. The good news is that advancements in aesthetic techniques mean the trough can be easily treated without the need for surgery. The goal of treating the trough is to plump up the area around the eye and keep it hydrated so as to reduce the depression and address the problem of skin wrinkles. Treatments also have the goal of stimulating the skin to rejuvenate itself and restore its elasticity from the inside. These treatments activate the body’s ability to produce collagen over time so as to help the skin around the area to firm up.
Here are some non-surgical ways to improve tear trough ‘deformities’.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) filler injection
HA gel is a popular and safe filler. It is injected under the eye to plump up the lower eyelid muscles; an additional layer of lighter HA gel may be applied above this and directly beneath the skin to reduce fine lines and shadows around the area. There are different HA gel fillers, each with its own characteristics, so several types may be used together to achieve the ideal result.
Eye brightening serums
Your doctor may also recommend eye-brightening serums. These serums improve the moisture levels of the skin, so as to lighten the appearance of shadows and wrinkles.
Fat injection, or fat grafting, is a permanent filler that uses one’s own fat cells to add volume under the eye. Similar to HA fillers, the fat is used to add volume under the eye. Though it is less predictable than a filler, some people prefer to use their own fat — the effect may be subtle but it is worthwhile.
Ultrasonic or radiofrequency collagen stimulation
Non-invasive treatments that counteract the effects of time and gravity include Ultherapy, Thermafine Lift and Sygmalift. In Ultherapy, a special transducer is used to transmit ultrasound waves into the skin at accurate and precise depths. This triggers the body’s regenerative response and stimulates the production of new collagen — the skin plumps up over time. It has shown good results in restoring a more open, youthful look to the eyes and other parts of the face. In Thermafine Lift, radiofrequency energy is applied to skin, causing collagen to shrink, thus tightening the skin. The procedure is ideal for the eye area and can result in a more youthful and rested look. Sygmalift is a treatment that employs High Intensity Tri-micro Focal Ultrasound to stimulate collagen growth, resulting in firmer skin.For a more natural look, these interventions are recommended when the tear trough groove has severely deepened with age or when eye bags become overly large and make the trough obvious. It is also ideal for when the valley under the eye causes the permanent appearance of dark under-eye shadows. It is important to note that, while non-surgical alternatives are easier and have less risks and downtime compared to surgery, they are relatively short-lasting and patients need to visit their plastic surgeons for regular maintenance treatments.