We all know that our faces will age over time. Still, we don’t always like what we see as cosmetic changes occur. The eyes are part of the face that we cannot NOT see. In fact, in this past year of mask-wearing, the eyes have become the true focal point of the face. This area is also one in which the skin is ultra-thin. The tissue around the eyes is responsive to sun exposure, stress, environmental factors, and to nearly ever facial movement we ever make. It’s unrealistic to think we’ll avoid the signs of aging. Here, we discuss what happens structurally that makes the eyes look heavy and older. Of course, we’ll do this with some suggestions about how to manage these issues.
Loss of Elasticity
Youthful skin is soft, smooth, and firm because it has a lot of elasticity. This characteristic is what enables us to squint or rub our eyes and for the skin to bounce back after movement. Around age 20, the body stops producing the amount of collagen and elastin that is needed to maintain the skin in its youthful state. Over time, the skin starts to break down and lose its stretchiness and firmness. In the thin skin around the eyes, this causes a heavy, drapey appearance.
Into our 30s and 40s, the repetitive use of muscles around the eyes starts to show. Some muscles may lose strength while others remain consistent. This often appears as a downward tilt or descent of the brow line. When the eyebrows sit lower than their youthful position along the upper orbital rim, the eyes look heavy and might even look angry.
Lines and Wrinkles
Several factors combine to cause fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. Collagen and elastin loss is one of the first changes to occur. Sun exposure further breaks down these foundational chemicals in the skin, and the repetitive movements of muscles around the eyes also contribute. Fine lines and wrinkles may form at the outer corners of the eyes, along the lower eyelid, or in the form of an exaggerated tear trough that creates under eye bags.
Maintaining Youthful Eyes
Surgery used to be the only option for rejuvenating the eye area. This is still a popular choice because procedures like blepharoplasty and brow lift surgery achieve results that last many years. For adults interested in acting early against these signs of aging, there are options like Botox and dermal fillers. In our Cincinnati office, many patients choose to refresh the eye area with Plasma Pen fibroblast therapy.