As the saying goes, the eyes are the windows to the soul. The eyes are often the first thing a one sees on another person. They can contribute a lot to a first impression, and having baggy, tired-looking eyes certain does not score many points in this department.
Eye bags have plagued many in the modern society. They can make the eyes look swollen and tired, which is generally not an aesthetically pleasing look. Eye bags are commonly associated with old age, as its main cause is highly related to skin aging processes. However, the increased stress of the modern society has accelerated these aging processes, and many young adults now suffer from eye bags too.
Eye bags are a common problem, but do you know what causes them and how to get rid of them? In order to completely solve this problem, you need to understand how eye bags form, and how do common eye bag treatments work.
Causes of eye bags and pathology
The main cause of eye bags is aging. As we age, fat is naturally deposited in many areas in our body, including the area under the eyes. As the deposits becomes larger, the skin can bulge from the accumulation, forming eye bags.
Also, when the skin ages, collagen production in the skin slows down, causing the skin to lose elasticity and sag. This is especially obvious around the eyes as the skin there is much thinner than the surroundings. The loss of collagen also makes the skin lose volume. This, combined with the sagging effects causes the face to appear hollow, especially under the eyes. This makes any existing fat deposits and musculature around the eyes much more prominent, contributing to the “tired” look.
However, it is important to note that there are other reasons why bulges can appear under the eyes, which can include fluid retention and lack of sleep. These are not considered true eye bags as they will usually go away with changes in lifestyle habits.
How do I get rid of eye bags?
As each patient’s condition is different, it is important to consult an experienced aesthetics doctor or plastic surgeon for this. They will recommend the most ideal treatment course for each patient accordingly.
Nevertheless, here are some of the most common procedures offered to manage and remove eye bags for your reference:
1. Lower eyelid surgery – Lower Blepharoplasty
The most direct and perhaps the most effective way to get rid of stubborn eye bags is to remove them via a lower eyelid surgery, medically known as a lower blepharoplasty.
There are 3 main variations of this procedure, each with its own advantages and limitations:
- Transconjunctival blepharoplasty (Scarless eye bag removal)
In this approach, the surgical incision is made on the conjunctiva, which is the lining on the inner surface of the eyelids (hence the name). From this incision, excess fat and other tissue are removed and re-positioned where necessary before the incision is closed with absorbable sutures.
The main advantage of transconjunctival blepharoplasty is the lack of visible scars as the incision is not made on the skin surface. It is hence often referred to as the “Scarless eye bag removal” procedure and is the preferred approach whenever possible. However, this approach is ineffective in removing sagging skin, which is another contributing factor to eye bags.
- Pinch blepharoplasty
Like the name suggests, the doctor will pinch the loose skin using a special instrument. This pinched section of the skin is then excised with sharp surgical scissors. The resulting small incision is then closed with sutures. This tightens the skin in the lower eyelids, removing wrinkles and sagging, reducing the puffiness below the eyes. Scars, if any, will be well-concealed in the folds of the lower eyelids and the eyelashes
Pinch blepharoplasty can be thought of as the opposite of transconjunctival blepharoplasty. It is effective at removing eye bags when the main cause is sagging and loose skin, but is otherwise unable to remove fat deposits beneath the eyes.
- Cutting blepharoplasty
Cutting blepharoplasty is possibly the most effective surgical approach to completely removing eye bags. It is able to both remove fat deposits and excise sagging skin at the same time, addressing both contributing factors to eye bags. In this case, an incision is made on the surface of the skin along the lower eyelash line. Fat and other tissue are removed and repositioned from this incision as necessary before the incision is closed with sutures. Like pinch blepharoplasty, any scars that form will be well hidden in by the lower eyelid folds and eyelashes.
This table summarises the differences of the 3 surgical approaches:
(Scarless eye bag removal)
|Pinch blepharoplasty||Cutting blepharoplasty|
|Effectiveness||Removal fat deposits||Tightening sagging skin||Both removing fat deposits and tightening sagging skin|
|Site of incision||Inner surface of lower eyelid||Very small incision along lower eyelash line, usually at the lateral corner of the eye||Small incision along lower eyelash line|
|Scarring||No visible scars||Scars are well concealed by lower eyelid and eyelashes|
|Main limitation||Unable to remove excess skin||Unable to remove fat deposits||Most invasive out of the 3 approaches.|
Lower blepharoplasty provides the most long-term and immediate solution to persistent eye bags. If you take good care of yourself with a healthy diet and sleep cycle, the results can last you for life!
2. Secret RF and AGNES
If you are unwilling to go under the knife, you may want to consider Secret RF and AGNES treatment for your eye bags. Both of these utilises Micro-needles to deliver Radiofrequency (RF) energy to subcutaneous tissue. The RF energy breaks down subcutaneous fat under the eyes, which will then be transported away by our body. AGNES delivers fixed-depth RF energy concentrated at the tip of the micro-needles, whereas Secret delivers more controlled RF energy across all layers of the subcutaneous fat. Together, the 2 provide a well-rounded treatment that effectively breaks down the fat pads under the eyes causing the eye bags. Coupled with a suitable laser treatment to tighten the skin, Secret RF and AGNES can even deliver results comparable to lower blepharoplasty.
Results from Secret RF and AGNES are typically seen after 1 to 2 months, although some has reported seeing results as soon as 2 weeks after the first session
3. Tear trough filler/fat grafting
If the main culprit behind your eye bags is not excess fat, but rather the loss of volume and sagging skin, tear trough fillers or fat grafting can work wonders. They work by replacing the lost volume, and can have surprising effects, even when no fat is removed. This is also the only way to hide a “pseudo-eye bag” caused by a prominent Orbicularis Oculi Muscle.
Filler procedures are fast to perform with little downtime, but often lasts only for 6 to 12 months, and hence are most suitable for those looking for a quick fix to their sunken, hollow fat. On the other hand, fat grafting provides a more long-term, possibly permanent solution to this problem.
Tear trough fillers and fat grafting produces immediate results.
4. Combined treatments
Often, eye bags are caused by both an accumulation of fat beneath the eyelids and the loss of volume in the upper cheeks. As each treatment has some limitations, it is often ideal to undergo a combination of treatments for the most pleasing results. Combining lower blepharoplasty/Secret RF and AGNES to remove fats, while replacing lost volume with fillers and fat grafting will often give the most desirable results.
Eye bags are very common problems, but that does not make it any less complex. It is important to understand how and why they form, and how common eye bag treatment works. By understanding these, you can then make informed decisions on how to get rid of eye bags, and also stop them from coming back to haunt you.