Botox injections are employed to reduce dynamic wrinkles that form as a result of repetitive muscle contractions. As you probably already know, they are often applied to the crow's feet area to treat crow's feet lines. But can you use Botox for under-eye bags and dark under-eye circles? If you want to know the truth, keep reading.
The active ingredient of Botox is botulinum toxin A, and it can be injected under the eyes to minimise dynamic wrinkles caused by laughing, squinting, and frowning. In some people, it may reduce the appearance of dark circles as an added bonus. But this is rarely the case. In fact, if you have dark circles, it is not likely that you are offered Botox as the first line of treatment.
Now, in terms of puffy eyelids, there are no peer-reviewed studies to prove that Botox is effective. If you have extra fat pads under the eyes, Botox will not be able to get rid of them because it works by relaxing the facial muscles in the surrounding skin rather than melting fat cells. Therefore, it cannot reduce puffiness.
It's worth noting the injectable is not FDA-cleared for cosmetic uses in the lower eyelids. That being said, every country has different rules and requirements regarding aesthetic treatments. Some technicians recommend Botox cosmetics for eye bags, although that is not an approved practice.
Other off-label uses of Botox cover scarring, eyebrow lift, acne, and lip flip.
You can have Botox injected in the forehead area, in the corners of the mouth, at the back of the head, and in the corners of the eyes to treat:
It is vital to remember that the effects of botulinum toxin fade away over time. Thus, you need to go in for a touch-up once every 6-8 months in order to maintain results.
The ideal candidate for under-eye Botox, or botulinum toxin type A, is someone who has horizontal wrinkles in the eye area (dynamic wrinkles) and no extra skin or bulging fats. If you have puffy eyes, you will not get any positive results from the procedure.
Older patients with thin eye muscles are not suitable for Botox. You will not qualify for the treatment if you have some serious health conditions, such as neuromuscular problems.
The procedure requires the same kind of preparation as you would do for other injectables. A week before your appointment, you should stop taking supplements and medication that slow down blood clottings such as aspirin, Motrin, Advil, turmeric, fish oil, green tea, garlic supplements, and ibuprofen.
It's also recommended that you avoid alcohol about 24 hours prior to the Botox injections.
The appointment will start with your board-certified doctor inspecting your eye muscle to ensure you fit the criteria for the treatment. Your skin should be able to snap back to its normal position relatively quickly when pinched. If it doesn't, you may be unsuitable for Botox injections.
But if you are cleared for the procedure, a nurse will prep the skin with a numbing agent and the healthcare professional will go forward and do several injections in the pre-marked areas. Experienced board-certified plastic surgeons prefer starting with a very low dose and then letting the lower eyelid rest for a couple of weeks to overdoing it.
You do not have to do anything special after you get a Botox injection. Many patients go back to work on the same day.
It is important to not apply pressure to the lower lid for several days post-treatment. Do not massage the skin. To help minimise bruising, apply cold compresses to the injection site. It's okay to wear makeup after the procedure is over.
Last but not least, you ought to avoid sun exposure. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats at all times.
There are various potential side effects of Botox in the under-eye area. For starters, swelling and bruising are to be expected with any injectable treatment, and Botox is no exception. They should go away after a few days.
Another complication is forming wrinkles in other parts of the face. As preposterous as this sounds, it's actually possible. As you know, when you smile, the skin in the under-eye area folds due to the pressure that the cheeks exert on it.
But when you use Botox to relax the muscles underneath, the contraction will not be possible anymore, and new folds may appear in unpredictable places.
Among the risks you run with applying the injectable to the under-eye area is using too much product. This can lead to continuous swelling that will linger on for as long as the effects of the treatment persist.
Moreover, when the under-eye muscle is relaxed, the fats in that area will lose part of their natural support. Without good eyelid support, they can bulge out, causing eye bags to appear around the injection site. This is the opposite of what you want. And lastly, there is a risk of dry eyes and blurry vision.
These mistakes can be avoided if you see a board-certified specialist who can ensure that Botox is indeed the right treatment for you, whether you want to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or remove eye puffiness and circles under the eyes. If you are a better fit for another procedure, you should not get Botox.
As mentioned before, Botox cosmetic works by reducing tension in the facial muscles. On the other hand, fillers can fill in hollow spaces and battle volume loss, but the underlying muscle is left intact. This helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but it doesn't stop you from forming more wrinkles over time.
So, the two treatments can be complementary, but they cannot be used interchangeably.
The truth is, when it comes to treating eye bags and dark circles, dermal fillers create better, more sustainable results. They can restore volume loss in eye hollows in the lower eyelid. Most patients who once received injections with hyaluronic acid or collagen significantly improved the transition between the lower eyelid and the cheeks.
You may be interested in reading more about how to get rid of and remove eye bags with home remedies here.
The bottom line is that Botox injections are not used for under-eye bags, but they can help with under-eye wrinkles. As with any treatment, you should consider the potential side effects it brings and weigh down the pros and cons carefully before you take the plunge.
If you are interested in getting your hands-on treatment for puffiness and dark circles, your best bet would be to discuss your goals with our plastic surgeon. We recommend that you look into the various options we provide, such as fractional Co2 laser, fillers, and our scarless eyebag removal that can give you a completely natural look without the risk of scars.