If buying the most promising new beauty product from Nordstrom is gratifying, you’re in for a real treat at your doctor’s office where you can visibly improve your features in a matter of minutes. ‘Quickie’ aesthetic treatments continue to rise in popularity, and none are so immediately satisfying as dermal facial fillers. These in-office treatments do everything from softening wrinkles and filling in deep lines to making lips look full and fresh.
More recently, fillers have also been used to plump the area surrounding the orbital bone to improve the appearance of pesky dark circles. They immediately reduce undereye shadows, dark circles and hollows, all of which contribute to a fatigued-looking appearance and typically aren’t very responsive to expensive serums or cucumber slices.
“With fillers, keep in mind everyone’s amount of improvement is different,” explains Walnut Creek facial plastic surgeon Dr. Haena Kim.
“Often, the volume loss in the undereye area is also a virtue of volume loss in the mid-face. When we lose fullness in the cheeks, the overlying skin sags, and with it comes an accentuation of the tear trough area. I’ve often had to correct the mid-face volume deficit first, then we see better improvement of the lower eye area. An added bonus is this usually requires using less filler than if treating the undereye area alone.”
Dark circles, or the appearance of dark circles, are often caused by a combination of factors that can’t be solved with topicals alone.
“As we age, we frequently lose volume in this area, and this increases the appearance of dark circles,” says Dr. Kim. “But a lot of us are simply born with them. I, for one, have had darker undereye circles since I was 10. Some days they’re better than others, but I’ve never had a complete resolution with anything topical. The dark circles are present due to the thin skin of the eye lying directly on top of the orbicularis muscle.”
Since muscle tends to range from dark red to a bruised color naturally, this is what you see ‘shining’ through thin skin. The skin around the eye is very delicate and prone to bruising, so it is important to treat this area delicately. Tear-trough fillers like Restylane, Belotero or Juvéderm are truly next-level in that they use hyaluronic acid to plump the skin on top of the orbital bone, which creates the illusion of fresh, rested and well-hydrated skin. It takes about 15 minutes to treat both eyes in-office and the results can be seen right away.
Techniques for injecting tear-trough fillers vary.
“I inject down right onto the periosteum,” Dr. Kim explains.
“This is the safest method, since it’s below the vasculature. I typically use either Belotero or Restylane. Everyone has a different type of body chemistry and some may do better with one filler than the other.”
One of the best facial plastic surgeons in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Kim stays on the cutting edge of volumizing undereye enhancement and has perfected the use of facial fillers, as well as Asian eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty and eyelid lifts/tucks. Fillers deliver immediate results without the downtime or cost of more invasive procedures – and, of course, there’s also the ease of scheduling an appointment on your lunch break or between errands.
Be prepared to bring your concealer to your appointment, however. Potential side effects may include bruising, bumps, swelling or the ‘Tyndall effect’, which causes the under-eye skin to have a bluish cast. Whenever a needle is involved, there is a risk of bleeding and bruising in the skin. Most patients say the temporary side effects are worth it, but you have to be sure your doctor is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is precise and follows protocol.
As for potential bruising, there is an answer…
“The best thing to help prevent bruising is to ice and rest after the injection. A small bruise can be easily controlled with ice, but going to the gym or going to celebrate happy hour afterwards can lead to increased bruising. We ask patients to refrain from taking any aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for a week prior to having the filler placed, but there are many patients I have treated who are unable to do so. In these cases, I would have to say careful technique is a must. Taking your time with the filler placement, not being too aggressive with the undereye area is oftentimes the best tactic. I also try to minimize the number of times I have to replace the needle and try to redirect underneath the skin as much as possible.”
Written by: Stephanie Simons