As a woman I’m acutely aware of the baffling array of fat-melting, muscle tightening and plumping ‘cosmetic interventions’ available. Adverts to combat the signs of ageing pervade daily life, but how can you even begin to make head nor tail of all the information out there?
Will it hurt? Does it actually work? How long does it last?
How will I know I won’t end up looking like some of the botched jobs wandering out of the Hollywood Hills?
At 29 years of age I probably don’t have the face or body I should have. I sit in an office for most of the day and my skin reflects days of tanning far too excessive for my pale skin. My brow is furrowed, the dreaded ‘crows-feet’ around my eyes are slowly emerging and the bags underneath them reflect the long hours at work and looking after a small child.
Health and beauty have always been a huge interest to me and reflect my current job working at a cosmetic surgery hospital. The origins of the The McIndoe Centre stem from the world-famous Archibald McIndoe, the pioneer of reconstructive plastic surgery techniques to help horrifically burned fighter pilots regain a “normal” appearance.
In short, I’m making it my mission to educate women about cosmetic surgery and break down the myths that surround it. If treatments are used properly and men and women are properly educated, cosmetic surgery can result in excellent surgical outcomes and more importantly restore confidence that may have be lost.
Most of the women who come to us now are concerned that they look tired and that the outside doesn’t reflect how they feel on the inside.
The first article in my series is going to focus on those little bags that develop under our eyes as we grow older and only seem to get bigger as time goes on.
Since starting work at the McIndoe Centre I’ve worked with some of the world’s leading surgeons, and being head of customer relations, I get to speak to women every day who are considering surgery.
Eye bags are a huge concern for women and eye bag surgery is one of our most popular cosmetic procedures. Rather than resort to surgery, I’ve always wondered if it’s possible to get rid of eye bags naturally. The advice on the Internet is to slather them in a mixture of cream, cold tea bags and cucumbers and if that doesn’t work Botox them away. While this may seem to hold them back, or smooth them down for a day, before you know it they’re back hanging around your eyes like those two old suitcases in the loft you never get around to chucking out.
The other day I was lucky enough to have lunch with Mr Baljit Dheansa, who is one of the world’s leading cosmetic surgeons and an eye bag removal expert. He has spent 22 years performing surgery and has extensive knowledge stemming from work in prestigious plastic surgery units, including Queen Mary’s, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the St Andrew’s Centre.
He’s published clinical and scientific journals in areas of translational science, burns, and cosmetic surgery, so basically an eye bag expert.
While we try not to talk too much about work over lunch I asked Mr Baljit whether all the eye creams I was using actually work. He said: “It’s difficult to say whether any of these products are effective, but it’s often impossible to prevent eye bags.”
It’s often impossible to prevent eye bags? So, all that money I’ve spent on eye creams may have no effect at all? Last year, women in the UK spent almost £1 billion on skincare products. Even though he didn’t outright say that moisturiser and eye creams are ineffective, the suggestion was that eye bags are caused by numerous factors and a little bit of cream isn’t going to stop or prevent them.
He went on to say “Puffiness and swelling around the eyes can often be reduced by ensuring that you protect your skin from the sun, avoid smoking and get a good night’s sleep”
He also mentioned that bags under your eyes are hereditary. So, if your parents or grandparents suffer with them, then it’s likely you will too. This is certainly true for me as both my parents have the same problem and my granddad’s eyebags would look more at home on a basset hound!
So, if I can’t avoid them, what are my options?
Mr Baljit admitted that, “Eye bags and dark circles under the eyes are very difficult to treat without surgery.”
Surgery is a scary word and conjures up images of scalpels, blood and stiches. He must have noticed I went a little white as scenes from Silence of the Lambs ran through my mind. He was quick to reassure me that it was a rather fast, pain free and non-invasive procedure.
Actually, blepharoplasty is one of the most common surgeries carried out in the county. With most patients in and out in a matter of hours.
Mr Baljit said that “The most common way to perform the procedure is to remove or reposition the fatty tissue under the eyes. Then, a small amount of skin is excised and the lower eyelid tightened or lifted.”
So, what could I take away from my lunch with Mr Baljit? That I can’t prevent eye bags from forming. I can slow them down to a point, by staying out of the sun and avoiding nicotine, but no amount of cream is going to help. Unfortunately, my eye bags are probably hereditary and come right along with all the other baggage I’ve inherited from my family!