Those dark circles and lines that seem to pull down the eyes, robbing them of their youth and vitality can be a tell-tale sign of age, or a premature one. Regardless they are insidious and very few people actually want to have them present on their face. There is a good reason for that – they are not aesthetic. But there are really easy ways to take care of them, and more than one option to do so.
Many of our TSLMS members do a lot of work in this area. For them this piece will be vindication of all their hard work and focus. For everyone else, it may serve as an incentive to add services that help people treat the baggage hanging out below the eyes.
What Are Under Eye Bags
So called bags under the eyes, typically appear as dark circles and/or puffiness, as pointed out by one of the country’s leading medical providers The Mayo Clinic.
Bags under eyes — mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes — are common as you age. With aging, the tissues around your eyes, including some of the muscles supporting your eyelids, weaken. Normal fat that helps support the eyes can then move into the lower eyelids, causing the lids to appear puffy. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) describes them as “sagging skin.” And Wikipedia refers to them as “Periorbital puffiness, also known as puffy eyes, or swelling around the eyes, is the appearance of swelling in the tissues around the eyes, called the orbits. It is almost exclusively caused by fluid buildup around the eyes, or periorbital edema. Minor puffiness usually detectable below the eyes only is often called eye bags. Such transient puffiness is distinct from the age related and gradual increase in the size of the fat pad lying below the lower eyelids (suborbicularis oculi fat – “SOOF”) which can also be colloquially referred to as ‘eye bags’.”
They are noticeable at a glance, and anyone without them is noticed too. But did you know that there is actually a difference between bags, puff, and dark circles? Self.com published a great piece on this, in which they interviewed a number of dermatologists in order to sort out the confusion.
- Dark Circles are genetic, more apparent in fair skinned person, and exacerbated by lack of sleep.
- Puffiness is largely environmentally driven and exacerbated by allergies, too much alcohol or salt (dehydration).
On the other hand, “though you might hear the word “bags” used interchangeably with “dark circles” or “puffy eyes,” these distinct under-eye pouches are markedly different from either one. This structural puffiness is caused by a combination of fat herniation and skin laxity—they’re genetic and a normal sign of aging.”
A Deeper Dive Into Under Eye Bags
Certainly genetics can play a large role in whether or not an individual ends up with eye bags. However, a lot of the issue is caused by what the AAO describes as the aging process:
As we grow older, the tissues around the eye gradually weaken and sag. This loss of skin tone allows fat to shift forward into the lower eyelids, making them look puffy and swollen. Fluid can also pool in this area and contribute to the puffy appearance.
Shadows may also appear under the eyes. They may be cast by swollen, puffy eyelids due to aging.
Other factors can contribute to under-eye bags, including:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Smoking tobacco
- Retaining fluid (often after waking up, or after eating salty food)
Basically, these bags are caused by a loss of elastin and collagen, which naturally decrease when you age. These deteriorate, after the teen years, at a natural rate of 1.5% a year – which is hastened by environmental factors, like smoking and sun damage. (Source).
Elastin is “A protein that coils and recoils like a spring within the elastic fibers of connective tissue and accounts for the elasticity of structures such as the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, intestines, tendons, and ligaments. Elastin functions in connective tissue together with collagen. Whereas elastin provides elasticity, collagen provides rigidity to connective tissue.” (Source).
Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in the body. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals,making 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen consists of amino acids bound together to form triple-helices of elongated fibrils. It is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and skin. (Source).
The natural, or premature breakdown of these substances inevitably causes gravity to take over, which in turn causes eye bags.
Solutions For The Under Eye Bag Problem
There are any number of serums, surgeries and solutions for the under eye bag problems that plague us as we age. Some of these are completely innovative, like Smart Second Skin (like spanx for eyes). Other options like tea bags, cucumbers, and other surface applications have some real merit behind temporarily reducing the appearance of bags. The fact of the matter is that in order to help the bags, the treating physician or technician must first understand what is causing them. Therapies might include:
- Ultherapy, using an ultrasound device
- Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery
- Acid filler
There are constantly other remedies being tested and brought to market. One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on these is to read this blog and to attend our annual meeting and conference, SCALE Music City. We look forward to seeing you in 2020.