Dark circles. Under-eye bags. Raccoon eyes. No matter what you call the darkened area of thin skin right below the eyes — maybe due to genetics or a telltale sign of a lack of solid sleep — that everyone (literally everyone) has been plagued with at least one point in their lives, just know that there’s now a cosmetic treatment to clear them up — for good. (Well, sorta.)
Called the tear trough treatment (or lower eyelid rejuvenation with filler), the procedure targets the tear trough, which is the lower, sometimes blue-ish area under the eye, just before the cheek. According to plastic surgeons, the treatment has been gaining popularity over the last few years — especially among the younger crowd.
“Wrinkles and hollowing around the eyes begins at around age 35, and it’s a common area that both women and men are concerned with,” says Daniel Maman, a plastic surgeon at 740 Park Plastic Surgery in New York City. Adds Min S. Ahn, a facial plastic surgeon based in Boston: “It is especially popular with millennials who complain of looking tired, but because of their age are not ready for surgery — filling the tear trough area makes them look less tired, completely rejuvenating the lower eyelid area.”
The technique, which uses hyaluronic acid-based fillers, can be done with one of two injectable treatments — Vollure or Volbella — and takes less than 30 minutes to administer. “Vollure and Volbella help to fill in the trough groove on both the inside and outside of the eyes,” explains Maman. “But they do not address the ‘puffiness’ and bulging around the eye, because that is fat and requires surgery.”
The skin is first cleaned (in order to prevent infection), and then small ice cubes are held up to the skin for about five to 10 minutes to anesthetize the area, says Ahn. Once numb, a small needle is used to create an entry point for the doctor to inject the filler. But here’s where Ahn’s technique slightly differs from other surgeons’: Instead of injecting the filler directly into the area, he uses a blunt-tip cannula (a tube that can be inserted into the body) because “the blunt tip of the cannula is less likely to bruise patients than when using a sharp-pointed needle,” Ahn says.
Following the injection, patients typically experience little to no downtime (maybe a day or two of mild swelling and slight bruising), with results lasting up to a year, says Ahn. The average cost per tear trough treatment is about $950, depending on your provider. But, he warns, before you book an appointment, do your research. “It is very important to find a provider who is experienced in treating this area, as the skin is thin and, if not done properly, can give the patient a ‘puffy’ look,” Ahn says.