Once upon a time, I would forget to put concealer on then get asked if I was poorly for the rest of the day. Dark under-eyes have been my lifelong bugbear and no amount of drinking water, unbroken sleep (a rare thing since I became a mum) or healthy eating seemed to lift those purple semi-circles of doom.
A beauty editor for over 13 years, you’d think I’d have discovered some miracle eye cream by now. You'd be wrong. The person who discovers that cream will be a multimillionaire because when it comes to the skin under our eyes, we’re not in topical treatment territory anymore, Toto. So what causes dark circles and eye bags? Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Ezra explains: “As you age, your skin thins and your face loses fat, elastin and collagen. This decrease in volume can make the blood vessels and purple muscle beneath your eyes more obvious, as well as leave a shadow-casting hollow.”
What are tear trough fillers and what happens during the procedure?
Despite my hang-up, I recoiled in horror when I first heard about tear trough fillers. No matter how frustrated I was with my 24/7 haggard eyes, would I let someone brandishing a syringe full of filler anywhere near them? Hell NO! But as time went on and I braved more and more needle-based beauty treatments, my intrigue started to outweigh my fear. I met Dr. Ezra at his clinic on Harley Street and after a thorough consultation (a must before any aesthetic procedure), he told me I was eligible for the treatment. Gulp. Despite my reservations, I gave my bags one last glare in the mirror, then signed on the dotted line.
He began by using a needle to make a small puncture in the skin on my upper cheekbone, then ran a blunt-tipped cannula up to the hollow of my under-eye to deliver the hyaluronic acid filler. Sounds terrifying, huh? This is actually considered the safest method (as opposed to injecting the filler). Why? Because a blunt-tipped cannula will move around a blood vessel rather than piercing it, which could have disastrous consequences if that blood vessel happened to be an artery (blindness being the very unlikely worst-case scenario).
Are tear trough fillers painful?
To my surprise, there was little to no pain. The initial sting of the needle was followed by a strange sensation as the cannula worked its way up and the filler settled into its new home under my eyes. Dr. Ezra used a “three-point tangent technique” (in layman’s terms: he created three small punctures around each eye), releasing the filler with painstaking precision and stepping back to check his progress at regular intervals. Overall, the treatment took around 20 minutes from start to finish and I walked out with a bit of redness and some barely there puncture marks.
Some bruising appeared the following day, particularly under my right eye, but over the space of about two weeks it became easy to conceal, then cleared completely. And the results? Smoother, visibly lighter under-eyes and an overall fresher, wide-awake appearance. Concealer? Not for me, thanks.
Who is a good candidate for tear trough filler?
Tear trough fillers tend to work best on people who have hollow under-eye ridges, not excess puffiness or bulging. Dark under-eyes caused by hyperpigmentation (which tend to run in families of colour due to extra melanin levels in the skin) can’t be treated with filler, explains Dr. Ezra. Other reasons you might be ruled out include very thin skin, a medical condition that may increase the risk of complications, excess under-eye skin or an active infection in the area.
How much does tear trough filler cost?
It varies from practitioner to practitioner and depends on how many syringes of filler are used. But as a rule of thumb, I would expect to pay upwards of £500 (~ $850) and would consider anything dramatically less a red flag. Dr Ezra charges £750 (~ $1300) for the procedure. Pricey, yes, but I did my research (see below) and decided he was the best man for the job.
Is tear trough filler safe or high risk?
Dr. Ezra admits there’s a risk of serious complications (as mentioned above) but adds that it is very unlikely. “In experienced hands, this is a relatively low risk procedure but a very high impact one.” Thoroughly check your practitioner’s credentials and experience before putting your hollows in their hands – they should be a trained doctor or nurse (you can verify this by typing their name into the registers of the General Medical Council, Nursing & Midwifery Council or General Dental Council). Another great online platform is RealSelf, which enables you to view a person’s recent work, ratings and patient reviews.
How long do tear trough fillers last?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this because the absorption of hyaluronic acid filler varies from person to person. But they typically last anywhere between nine months and several years. I noticed mine start to wear off around the nine-month mark, but only gradually, and my under-eyes are still not fully back to pre-filler nearly one year on.
Does tear trough filler work?
I’ve never been so nervous in the lead-up to a procedure but on the flip side, I’ve never been more pleased with a treatment’s results. We all have that one thing that bugs us the most about our appearance and although barely noticeable to other people, erasing my tired eyes made all the difference to my confidence. Concealer became redundant (I’m lucky not to suffer with breakouts) and stepping out makeup-free felt a lot less daunting than before (no one wants to wear sunglasses in the winter). That said, it’s not a treatment to be entered into lightly and I’d be just as nervous to go through it again. But if you do your research, find the best practitioner and ask the right questions, it’s worth considering for the results you can achieve.