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Seeing is believing! Safe & effective treatments for dark circles and eye wrinkles

ArtMed's Medical Director, Dr. Peirson discusses scientifically researched and safe cosmetic eye treatments and why you should consider PRP instead of dermal fillers.
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Do you feel like your eyes are prematurely aging you? Dark under-eye circles? Hollow and looking tired all the time? Wrinkles and crepiness?

These are among the most common complaints and inquiries received at a medical aesthetics clinic.  Dark circles and hollows are frustrating because they tend to suggest an individual is tired, sad, recovering from illness or a night out on the town.

Why does the eye area prematurely age?

  • skin under the eyes is much thinner than facial skin
  • skin under the eyes lacks oil glands
  • skin under the eyes has very little fat
  • skin lies over a boney hollow (the orbit of the eye) so there is very little support from beneath
  • aging and sun damage accelerate thinning and loss of collagen, elastin and fibrin 

There are a number of ways to address under eye concerns, but no single cream or treatment is a cure all.  Nonetheless, some treatments are more effective, safer and long lasting than others.

Historically, the go-to treatment for under eye circles and hollows has been dermal fillers.  Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers (a type of sugar gel) can be injected under the eye to fill hollows and lift the skin improving the appearance of dark circles.

However, there are issues with dermal fillers.  Fillers can lead to:

  • puffy eyes (Hyaluronic acid draws water to itself)
  • tyndall, a bluish cast to the skin (hyaluronic acid reflects a blue colour if skin is too thin)
  • migration – the dermal filler gel moves to other areas nearby
  • disappears too quickly or not quickly enough 

In recent years, research has shown that PRP injections are a safer and more natural option for treating the delicate eye area.  PRP or platelet rich plasma, is blood plasma that has been specially prepared to maximize the platelet content. Platelets, are clotting factors that bind together at the site of an injury to stop bleeding. Most importantly, platelets initiate the healing process by releasing growth factors and promoting new blood vessel formation. This results in new tissue generation, including collagen, elastin and fibrin (CEF) production. 

NP Vijeta Singh performs PRP undereye treatment
NP Vijeta Singh performs PRP undereye treatment

Collagen is a protein fibre produced by skin cells that increases skin thickness and density.  Elastin provides stretchability to skin and fibrin is the support structure or scaffold around which collagen and fibrin grow.

PRP has been used for decades to treat wounds, surgical sites, burns, sports injuries and more.  In recent years PRP has been used in aesthetics to speed wound healing after laser procedures and as an injectable to promote CEF production to revitalize aging and thinning skin of the eye area, neck and chest, elbows, knees and more.  PRP can even be used to create eye drops for chronic dry eye.

PRP treatments involve blood being drawn from the patient, and then spun and separated to obtain PRP which is then immediately injected into the treatment area.  For the eye area, a series of 3 treatments is typically recommended about 4-6 weeks apart.  Bruising is common as is swelling in the firs 24-48 hours.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

How exactly does it work?

PRP stimulates the thin skin of the under eye to start producing CEF which leads to firmer, thicker more elastic skin and a reduction in wrinkles.  PRP stimulates new blood vessel growth thereby improving blood flow and luminosity to the area and may reduce puffiness for some. Dark circles are improved because thicker skin decreases the visibility of dark blood vessels below.

In other words, out with the old, in with the new! PRP revitalizes the thin skin of the eye area.  Unlike fillers which are purely symptomatic treatment (and not without complications), PRP renews and maintains the delicate skin of the eye area naturally and safely.

In addition to PRP consider the following:

  • pre and post PRP treat with eye creams rich in peptides to boost results (for example the Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment Cream)
  • eye creams containing retinol improve skin cell turnover – younger cells produce more CEF (Vivier Platine CR Eye cCeam or AlumierMD Retinol Eye Gel)
  • skin around the eyes lacks oil glands; emollient and humectant rich eye cream should be used daily  (AlumierMD Alumineye)
PRP Treatment Results Before, Immediately After & Next Day
PRP Treatment Results Before, Immediately After & Next Day

Since 80% of visible aging is caused by the sun, a daily application of mineral sunblock appropriate for the eye is essential.  Stick sunscreens have thicker formulas so they stay put avoiding migration into the eye.  Some makeup concealers contain mineral sunblock thereby providing a two-for-one benefit.  UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses are an under-appreciated tool in preventing aging around the eye.

Finally, it’s important to restate that PRP treatments are entirely natural.  Because it is your own blood derived PRP there’s virtually no risk of adverse side effects or issues down the road.  Results can be maintained with 1 or 2 treatments a year.

To learn more, visit artmed.ca or email info@artmed.ca.