Signs of Aging Around the Eyes: Eye Bags and Dark Circles with Aging

Our under-eye area experiences the effects of aging similar to the rest of our face and body, characterized by the weakening and loss of structures and tissues, a process known as atrophy. As we mature, we lose collagen in our skin and the supportive structures beneath it, including bone, muscle, and fat. This often leads to fat shifts, where we lose fat under our facial skin while seeing a redistribution of fat to other body areas, such as the abdomen. A major factor contributing to the appearance of eye bags is precisely this loss of support beneath the skin, which leads to changes in skin shape.

What causes eye bags and dark circles? 

Under-eye bags and dark circles are often observed where there is a deepening crease under the eyes, known as the tear trough, which is frequently exacerbated by a loss of support in the mid-face or malar area. To effectively treat the under eye area, a comprehensive approach addressing two key zones—the tear trough (zone 1) and the mid-face (malar area, zone 2)—is essential.

The primary factor contributing to under-eye bags is not the skin changes themselves but the condition of the support system below the skin. The creases we observe are mainly due to the loss of support beneath the skin.

What causes this volume loss around your eyes?

As we age, we lose muscle, resulting in diminished support. Facial fat also diminishes, and another common factor in eye bags is the loss of bone around and below the eyes. The orbital rim, a bony outline that encircles the eyes, and the bones below the eyes both diminish with age, causing the skin to sag. The combined effects of the loss of this support are the primary cause of eye bags.

Common Signs of Aging Around the Eye 

Changes in our circulatory system and how our bodies handle fluid shifts through our lymphatic drainage system may also occur with aging. These circulation and fluid drainage alterations make the under-eye area more likely to become puffy with age.

Fluctuations in hormone levels can play a pivotal role in the health of our skin as we age, notably affecting the area beneath our eyes. These hormonal shifts can alter skin’s texture and elasticity, and modify fat and fluid distribution, often intensifying the presence of under-eye bags. Grasping the connection between hormonal variations and their effects on this sensitive skin region is crucial for devising appropriate skincare and lifestyle strategies to alleviate these concerns.

Hormones are key regulators in our body, impacting numerous functions including skin’s condition. Estrogen, for instance, is vital for skin’s moisture, thickness, and elasticity, promoting collagen and hyaluronic acid production. A dip in estrogen levels, which might occur during menopause or due to hormonal imbalances, can render the skin under the eyes thinner, drier, and more susceptible to forming bags.

Moreover, hormones influence fluid retention, with shifts especially noted during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or menopause potentially heightening puffiness under the eyes. Additionally, these changes can upset the body’s salt balance, further aggravating fluid retention and puffiness.

Fat distribution changes induced by hormonal adjustments can also affect the under-eye area, either increasing fat deposits, contributing to bagginess, or decreasing them, leading to a more hollowed look that accentuates puffiness.

Thyroid hormones, which oversee metabolism, are another factor. Variations in thyroid function as we age can affect the skin and tissues around the eyes, with both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism potentially worsening the appearance of under-eye bags.

READ MORE: What is the Role of Collagen in Treating our Under-Eye Bags?

Tacking Bags Under Eyes

To tackle under-eye bags tied to hormonal shifts, a comprehensive strategy encompassing skincare routines enriched with hyaluronic acid, retinol, and peptides can be beneficial. These components aid in skin hydration and elasticity. Dietary adjustments to include foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins, coupled with ample hydration, are advisable for supporting skin health. Engaging in regular exercise, securing enough rest, and stress management are pivotal lifestyle changes that can mitigate hormonal effects on under-eye bags.

In cases of pronounced hormonal imbalances, seeking medical advice for potential hormone therapy or other interventions is wise. Furthermore, for those seeking immediate results, advanced cosmetic treatments like the Eyerise procedure might offer a solution by providing structural support and volume to the under-eye area, especially useful when hormonal changes lead to significant structural alterations in the skin.

Overall, understanding the impact of hormonal fluctuations as we age on under-eye bags enables targeted interventions, combining skincare, nutritional, lifestyle, and possibly medical or cosmetic treatments, to manage this issue effectively and maintain the skin’s youthful appearance.

Genetics plays a role in under-eye bags, as some individuals naturally have different shapes to the under-eye area, which may exacerbate the appearance of under-eye bags as they age compared to others.

Lifestyle factors also contribute to eye bags, including smoking, lack of sleep, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and significant weight shifts or weight loss, such as the “Ozempic face,” related not only to fat loss but also muscle loss.

Some treatments for the skin around the under-eye area may focus on skin or stimulation treatments such as microneedling, laser resurfacing, PRP (injecting your blood products), or chemical peels. However, these stimulation treatments or skin therapies generally have little effect on restoring the lost support system.

Surgery vs Non-Surgical Fillers to Combat Signs of Aging

Surgery treatment options offers two main choices: blepharoplasty and fat transfer. Blepharoplasty (plastic surgery), which involves cutting, removing, or repositioning tissues beneath the skin to even out the area, must be weighed against the potential for the area to appear differently and age differently post-surgery. Fat transfer, involving fat harvesting from one body part, such as the buttocks, and transferring it to the under-eye area, might result in a puffier appearance and does not anatomically substitute for bone loss.

Cosmetic dermal filler (Eyerise) works by comprehensively restoring the support system in both under-eye zones, repositioning the skin back to its original, more rested position. While the longevity of fillers is less than surgery, they are best for those not seeking permanent changes to the under-eye area. Moreover, under-eye fillers can be adjusted over the years to align with aging-related changes such as fine lines and wrinkles. 

WATCH: Under Eye FIller Treatment Options

In conclusion, it’s crucial to make informed decisions regarding the management of under-eye bags, taking into account personal goals, the natural aging process, and the spectrum of available treatments. Always opt for a physician fully dedicated to specializing in eye-related surgeries or fillers on a full-time basis, ensuring the best possible outcomes.

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VERVE offers a free consult for every procedure to ensure you are have all the information when choosing the right cosmetic procedure from an expert you can trust for full facial rejuvenation and eye bag elimination, Verve Medical Cosmetics offers the most focused non-surgical solutions.

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