When Your Undereye Bags Aren't Actually Undereye Bags

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FW_FJ9A4342_RyanKoopmansPhotographed by Ryan Koopmans.
There are few bigger beauty bummers than undereye circles and bags. (Don't you just love being asked if you're "feeling tired" throughout the day?) But, according to cosmetic surgeon Dr. Adam J. Scheiner, sometimes bags only account for half of the undereye battle. The other pesky problem? Festoons, otherwise known in the medical community as "malar mounds." Sexy.

So, first things first: What the heck are festoons? One of the qualities that separates bags from festoons is their location, according to Dr. Scheiner. “‘Bags are caused by fat protruding through the skin in the lower eyelid area, while festoons, which also protrude, are primarily on the upper part of the cheek,” Dr. Scheiner says. “The two together can look like one large protrusion, but they’re actually separate issues.”

Festoons are notoriously difficult to treat. While undereye circles and bags can often be fixed with makeup and de-puffing eye creams, festoons usually need to be dealt with surgically. However, according to Dr. Scheiner, surgery needs to be executed the proper way. "When [festoons] are not repaired at the same time as the bags, festoons can actually look worse compared against the newly rejuvenated lower lid." Additionally, they need to be taken seriously for another very important reason: They can be a marker for pre-cancerous skin conditions, according to Dr. Scheiner.

The best way to avoid developing festoons later in life, according to Dr. Scheiner, is to skip things that cause skin damage, like sun exposure, smoking, and stress. That, combined with the pull of underlying facial muscles due to age, can result in their development. Note: Fair-skinned ladies are more prone to the condition than darker-skinned women.

Thankfully, if you do develop festoons, treatment options are improving (Dr. Scheiner often uses a combination of laser eyelid surgery and laser skin resurfacing to treat both undereye bags and festoons at the same time). But, if you take care of your skin now, you can avoid developing these pesky problems altogether.



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