July 12th, 2013
Nothing betrays the effects of a healthy lifestyle like bags under the eyes. They leave you looking tired, older, or (arguably worse) like you had a few too many the night before. None of these are things you want to convey to a co-worker, boss, or potential suitor.
There are three main reasons for lower eyelid bags. First, fluid and electrolyte imbalances can cause the fat that all of us have around our eyes to become swollen. This is the reason that lower eyelids are puffy the day after a late night out or when you've been working too hard and ignoring what you're eating and drinking. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to treat. Limiting sodium and increasing the amount of water you drink can be both a preventative and a treatment for this kind of eyelid bag. And, believe it or not, Preparation H (yes, that Preparation H) is a great tool to lessen some of the swelling and minimize the lower eyelid bags (just don't get it in your eyes).
The two other causes are related to the anatomy of the lower eyelid and cheekbones. You can envision your cheekbones as being the foundation on which your lower eyelids are build - if they are "strong" - the "high cheekbone" look, it gives support to your lower eyelids and is a trademark of a classically beautiful face. "Weak" cheekbones, though, do not give much support to the lower lids and cause the soft tissue to show early signs of aging - mainly the "tear trough" deformity that contributes to the tired look and lower eyelid bags. It is quite a common complaint for women in their 20s and 30s to have lower eyelid bags that they can't get rid of. Usually, this is the reason. Fortunately, there is a way to camouflage this by injecting a soft tissue filler (Restylane or Juvederm) into this area with dramatic results. These injections last almost a year in this part of the face. Another way to permanently treat this is with either cheek implants or by injecting your own fat (fat grafting) to this same area. Both of these are surgical procedures that are done as outpatient surgeries. You can click the links on the procedures to learn more about them.
Lastly, the fat of the lower eyelids can bulge and the skin can sag. This is common as we age and is accentuated in faces with low cheekbones, which can make this happen earlier (in the 30s and 40s as opposed to later in life). Surgery - usually in the form of an eyelid lift (or blepharoplasty) is needed to correct this.
As with any other medical issue, knowing WHAT you're treating is the key to selecting the proper treatment. This is equally important when addressing lower eyelid bags - you can apply cream until you're blue in the face, but if the problem is an anatomic one, the solution isn't found in a cream (although the makeup companies would like you to think that it is). Feel free to contact our Knoxville Plastic Surgery office through the site or over the phone if you would like me to see if I can help.