Eyes Wide Open

eye sunscreenA recent article in a prestigious aesthetic medical journal asked this question: “What is the best nonsurgical treatment for issues around the eyes?”  This article’s answer somewhat confirmed my experience over the past decade.  The survey of prominent aesthetic practitioners agreed that the best results for rejuvenation around the eyes same from using a combination of multiple treatments, rather than just one treatment type alone.

In general, all the doctors surveyed agreed that cosmetic eye treatments are synergistic, meaning that the treatments work together to produce results better than what you would expect from each treatments individually. In other words, by combining eye treatments, cosmetic results are far better than the individual treatments alone.

botox-injection-eyesBotox continues to be the number one treatment option for wrinkles around the eyes, also known as “crow’s feet”.  Reducing wrinkles caused by muscle movement certainly improves the appearance of the eyes, with most people feeling that they look more relaxed and less tired.

However, Botox cannot take care of all eye appearance problems.  For deeper wrinkles, loose skin resulting in “bags under the eyes” and hollowing under the eyes, more devices and treatments are needed to rejuvenate this area.

Lines and wrinkles not smoothed by Botox generally are caused by loss of collagen under the skin, resulting in the skin becoming thinner.  A number of different procedures that result in skin tightening around the eyes can be quite effective, including use of the Fraxel laser and Pelleve radio frequency.  The heat produced below the skin surface by the energy of the laser beams or of the radio frequency waves causes the existing collagen to tighten as well as stimulating existing cells to produce more and new collagen.

micro_needling_eyesAnother new technique we have added also has helped with loose skin and deep wrinkles around the eyes in the form of micro needling.  As you have read in past newsletters and blog posts, micro needling rejuvenates the thin periorbital skin by using the repeated sterile micro needles to stimulate new skin growth, resulting in tighter, newly-healed skin.

Harder to treat is the hollowing around the eye that occurs as we grow older.   This hollow effect is caused by loss of volume from the natural padding we all have over the cheekbone area of the face.  When this padding is lost, more shadowing occurs around the eyes, resulting in a darker appearance.

The use of a new generation of dermal fillers in the form of Voluma acts to restore the appearance of padding in the cheek area.  Some have called this a “liquid facelift” in that the restoration of volume in the cheek lifts the mid face and lessens the look of hollowness and of the tear trough, which is a darkening frequently seen radiating from the inner corner of the eye laterally onto the cheek.

While the results of these noninvasive nonsurgical treatments do not last as long as surgery, the risks of treatments that I perform here at Maine Laser Skin Care are minimal and the total costs are much less than surgery.  Patients also report a high degree of satisfaction, noting that the treatments improve their appearance in a more subtle and natural fashion.

It is not surprising that (invasive) surgical cosmetic eye procedures have decreased 12% since 2000, while minimally invasive procedures for the eye have increased 144% over the same period.  You will look better, but you will generally not look like you “had work done”.

sunscreen-on-eyesAlso, preventative practices work well to minimize the aging effects around the eyes.  As with many other areas of the body, a good home regimen is highly recommended to lessen the effects of aging and the sun, and to maintain the good results of any procedures performed.

As always, sunscreen should be a daily part of your skin care program.  SPF level should be at least 30.  Be aware that many makeups that say they include sunscreen protection are only up to SPF level of 15, which is not sufficient for the facial and periorbital skin.

In addition to sunscreen, a moisturizer also helps to keep skin around the eyes to remain moist and supple.  Although not for everyone, especially those with senstivie skin, retinoids, such as over-the-counter retinol and prescription Retin-A, can help tighten the skin under the eyes and in the “crow’s feet” areas.

Also when dealing with eyes and their appearance, don’t forget about the eyelashes (unless you’re a guy, for which it probably won’t matter).  The eyelash product Latisse can plump, thicken and darken eyelashes, resulting in a more dramatic appearance that makes the eyes look bigger and more prominent.  Eyelash extensions such as Novalash, which is performed here in our office by Kristi James, can result in the appearance of thicker eyelashes more quickly.

As William Shakespeare once said, “the eyes are the windows to your soul”.  If you don’t like some aspect of the appearance of your eyes, there are many individual treatments that can be used solely and in combination to achieve your desired goals.  Call (207) 873-2158 for a free consultation where I can look you in the eye and give my opinion on what I can do to improve your eyes.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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