An Expert's Guide to Eye Wrinkles

With the rise of face masks, more people are looking to address the signs of ageing in the upper face. Discover what treatments can help you improve the beauty around your eyes

Aesthetic treatments for the eye area

The past year has seen more focus than ever before placed on the eye area and, according to the experts, this will only continue. While pretty much every person older than Generation Z will have fine lines, it seems that the general feeling towards these wrinkles, especially those around the eyes, is one of strong disdain.

The stress of the pandemic coupled with us seeing a permanent reflection of ourselves on Zoom calls has absolutely been a catalyst for more people presenting to aesthetic clinics with concerns of eye ageing,” says oculoplastic and ophthalmic surgeon Miss Elizabeth Hawkes. She notes, “With the continuation of mask wear for the foreseeable future, the eyes are even more of a focus.”

So, what can be done to help? Miss Hawkes explains the common treatments she recommends to improve the appearance of the fine lines around your eyes. 

Dr Elizabeth Hawkes
Miss Elizabeth Hawkes

The long game – topicals

Unless your eye serum contains an active ingredient such as vitamin C or retinol, the reality is it’s time to toss it away, Miss Hawkes says.

Vitamin C

“Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant and one of the few skincare ingredients that has numerous studies proving that it helps in the battle against skin ageing around the delicate eye area. It neutralises free radicals (unstable atoms that can cause cell damage) and helps your body repair damaged cells. It encourages collagen production, helps protect skin against harm from the environment and can improve pigmentation caused by sun damage and scarring.”

According to Miss Hawkes, we are fortunate that vitamin C comes in lots of different sorts of skincare. However, ascorbic acid breaks down with regular exposure to air and light, so it needs to be stored properly and kept in airtight packaging and included in products that are used once daily only. 

“There are lots of great vitamin C products available. I would recommend that my patients use C E Ferulic from SkinCeuticals,” says Miss Hawkes, adding, “It’s a powerful antioxidant that delivers high environmental protection, helps prevent free radical damage and improves the appearance of fine lines, and pigmentation.”


According to Miss Hawkes, retinol is also a must when it comes to treating those pesky wrinkles around the eyes. She explains, “Retinol is a type of retinoid, derived from vitamin A. It really is a hero ingredient that exfoliates skin and helps it to produce collagen and to fight free radicals.” 

Retinol, or retinoids, work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die quickly, making way for new healthy fresh skin underneath. So how does that treat wrinkles? “It helps to prevent collagen breaking down and thickens the deeper layer of skin to help prevent wrinkles,” Miss Hawkes explains.

“It can take 6-12 weeks before it starts to take full effect, so it is important to persist and start slow using it one to two nights a week at first.” Miss Hawkes says that PCA Skin and SkinCeuticals both have excellent retinol products, which she regularly recommends to her patients. 

Hyaluronic acid

This is the instant hydrator, according to Miss Hawkes. “Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge in your skin, pulling in water to plump fine lines and smooth your face. It’s lightweight, ultra-hydrating, works immediately, with absolutely zero irritation.” 

Miss Hawkes suggests H. A. Intensifier from SkinCeuticals, a multifunctional serum proven to amplify and maintain the skin’s hyaluronic acid levels to help restore the natural appearance of plumpness, smoothness, and firmness. She adds, “I also like the Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid for those on a tight budget.” 

Enter the needles: botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin (also known as Botox or toxin) is a treatment that is injected into the muscle to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. “Wrinkles are caused by repetitive muscle contractions, botulinum toxin temporarily paralyses the muscles that make you squint and will cause fine lines to relax and soften in appearance,” says Miss Hawkes, explaining, “Toxin injections are effective, and results can be seen just a few days after the treatment.” 

However, make sure that you see an experienced and adequately trained medical professional or you could end up with a face frozen in a very strange way. She notes, “If done safely and correctly, individuals can get beautiful and natural results that will last around three to four months.”

More needles: Profhilo

Profhilo is a highly effective injectable treatment based on hyaluronic acid, which Miss Hawkes says is very good for rejuvenating overall skin quality in the face and eye region. “Profhilo is injected into predetermined points to give a ‘hydrolift’ effect that boosts hydration and tightens the skin. Hyaluronic acid – the active agent in Profhilo – can hold 1,000 times its weight in water creating a significant deep moisturising activity,” she says. 

The treatment consists of two sessions spaced one month apart. Some improvement can be seen from one week after the first injection, but the results take full effect around one month after the second injection and will last for about six months. 

Miss Hawkes notes, “Profhilo remodels the skin by stimulating elastin and collagen production which we start to lose in our 30s, sadly. By using Profhilo we can help to achieve firmer, plumper skin with a smoother texture, alongside a good at-home skin regime.”

Under the knife: blepharoplasty

According to Miss Hawkes, there has been a steady increase in the number of people opting for blepharoplasty surgery and she is expecting a surge of patients in 2021.

Blepharoplasty is a type of surgery that repairs droopy eyelids and may involve removing excess skin, muscle and fat. Miss Hawkes explains, “As you age, your eyelid skin and orbicularis oculi muscle lose elasticity and weaken, which causes the appearance of hooded and tired eyes. The orbital septum, an important and unique structure to the eyelids, also weakens, making the orbital fat bulge forward above and below your eyelids, causing the appearance of puffiness and eyebags. Besides making you look older, severely sagging skin around your eyes can reduce your peripheral vision.” 

Blepharoplasty can reduce or eliminate these vision problems and make your eyes and face appear younger and more alert, as well as improve the overall aesthetic appearance, according to Miss Hawkes. 

She says, “The benefit of blepharoplasty is that we can achieve a beautiful and very natural look. You will look a lot brighter, less tired and refreshed. This is a very safe and effective surgical procedure and the incisions are hidden in natural lines.”

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