The No-Knife Eye Lift
What a Doctor Can Do
When you want faster, more dramatic results than even the best eye cream or makeup trick can offer, you'll find plenty of longer-lasting (but costlier) options at the dermatologist's or plastic surgeon's office.
Best for Banishing Wrinkles
Botox injections. The doctor makes tiny injections of botulinum toxin into the muscles that cause wrinkles, forcing them to relax. The injections take effect in a week or so, and the area stays smooth for three to six months. Cost: about $500.
Chemical peels. A medium-depth peel (like trichloroacetic acid, a.k.a. TCA) stimulates collagen growth by removing the top layer of skin. The body senses an injury and cranks out new healthy skin as a way of healing itself. You'll look like you have a bad sunburn for five to seven days, but then facial skin will be smoother and less lined for six months to a year. Cost: about $1,000.
Lasers. Many kinds of lasers are used around the eyes, usually as part of an allover facial rejuvenation treatment. Lasers help reduce wrinkles by resurfacing skin and stimulating collagen production. As with a peel, you'll look badly sunburned for a few days to a week before the smoothing shows up; it'll last for a year or more, until new wrinkles form. Cost: about $2,000 for the face, including eyes.
Best for Hiding Dark Circles
Hyaluronic acid injections. This clear gel filler, known by brand names like Restylane and Juvéderm, is injected directly into the hollows beneath the eyes to even them so they no longer appear as dark shadows. Expect swelling, mild bruising, and tenderness for up to a week afterward (the bruising can be covered with concealer). Results will last three to six months — or more. Cost: about $600.
Best for Lifting Sagging Lids
Blepharoplasty. During this surgery, the doctor makes tiny incisions around or inside the eyelids to remove loose skin and excess fat, which create a droopy, sleepy look. It takes about two weeks before the bruising goes down; you may not want to return to work until then. But the tightening effect lasts for years. "This procedure can make you look 10 to 15 years younger," says Mark A. Codner, M.D., clinical assistant professor of plastic surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Cost: about $6,000.