Why Do My Eyes Look Older Than I Feel?

Man during surgery filling facial wrinkles We have learned that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but we haven’t ever been told why. The assumption is that it is because our eyes give away our feelings. What we don’t get taught is that, when humans interact, we also “read” each other’s eyes for signs of safety, trust, and friendliness. This is where we can get it wrong. When we look at eyes between which are deeply-etched frown lines, we assume the person to be angry or unfriendly. We may come to the same conclusion about the person whose upper eyelids are heavy and saggy, or we may just view them as old and tired. What do we do, then, if that person is ourselves? Here, we discuss some of the common reasons the eyes look older than we feel and, most importantly, what we can do about it.

Sagging Brows

The ideal position for the eyebrows is to rest along the upper orbital rim. You can feel this as the bony ridge over the eye. The orbital rim outlines the eye socket, and it may influence the contour of the brows. Sometimes, the brow line is naturally low-set. However, in this situation, the brow position may not drastically affect the overall contour of the face, all things being relative. It is when the natural position of the brows drops due to aging that we see problems. As collagen loss continues and the skin weakens, the pull of the muscles along the brow line can bring the eyebrows into a shape that unconsciously suggests sadness, worry, anger, or unfriendliness. A descending brow line presses down on the thin skin of the upper eyelid, as well. This compression may create an illusion of heaviness or sagging in the eyelid itself. How can you know if it is the eyelid or the eyebrows that are to blame for an angry or sad appearance? Using one or two fingers, gently pull the eyebrows up near the upper orbital rim. If your eyelids appear tighter and firmer when you do this, you may benefit greatly from either Botox injections or a surgical brow lift. The primary differences between the two are downtime and longevity of results. If you choose to get a Botox brow lift, expect to need touch-ups about every 4 months. If you elect to have a surgical brow lift, your results may be indefinitely satisfying.

Squinting and Frowning

We know that frowning causes frown lines. However, when we have sufficient quantities of collagen and elastin in the skin, these creases disappear when the face is at rest. It is only when we age and have very little of these substances that the effects of periodic frowning and squinting become problematic. We cannot go through life afraid to make facial expressions. To do so would blunt our visible personality and emotional communication. And, fortunately, the issue of frown lines can be corrected without much fuss. In our Reno office, frown lines caused by frowning and squinting are most often eliminated using Botox. A few injections of this FDA-approved neuromodulator work against the muscle contractions that pull on the skin, resulting in deep lines and creases. The benefit of Botox injections is that they work quickly and do not require downtime. The downside is that the improvements achieved with this treatment are only temporary. To maintain them, patients must schedule touch-ups every 3 to 6 months.

Eye Hollows

When we think of hollowing around the eyes, we may imagine a sunken appearance. Hollowing is also the primary reason some people struggle with dark circles under their eyes. Dark circles appear because of the way that light reflects off of the skin. The color of the skin may have a little something to do with this. However, it is more so related to contours. When the volume of the tissue under the eyes is lacking, the contour in the area does not adequately reflect light, and dark circles appear. The good news is that the contour under the eyes can be corrected with dermal filler injections. In a brief appointment, a board-certified doctor or nurse injector can insert the right amount of hyaluronic acid dermal filler into the tear trough. This is the line at which the upper cheek and the lower eyelid meet. Hyaluronic acid binds to water and builds out the area softly and in a way that looks natural. The results of dermal filler treatment are immediately noticeable and can last up to two years.

It may take far less than you imagine to rejuvenate your eyes. Contact us today at (775) 826-4477 to schedule a visit to our Reno office, where we can sit together and discuss your concerns and treatment options.

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