The secret to looking sensational rather than spread-too-thin is to focus on your eyes. Sure, a surgical lift would definitely take off years. But that's not for everyone, and it doesn't need to be. Now you can give your eyes a noticeable boost without enduring all that angst-and paying all that money.
While none of the "no-knife" options can produce the full effects of surgery, procedures like injections (Botox and its cousins) and laser resurfacing are becoming almost commonplace. (The number of Botox injections given annually jumped 388 percent from 2000 to 2005, reports the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.)
If needles make you squeamish, there are easier ways to turn back the clock. Some women are content to let themselves age gracefully, while others (last year, 8.4 million people) have chosen one of the new alternatives to the knife. Read on to learn about your options-then decide what you feel comfortable with.
How Your Eyes Age...And How to Deal
Your face is surprisingly tough-except for the thinner skin around your eyes, which is very fragile. So that's where the effects of sun, time, and stress show up first. Here, the most common flaws and how to counteract them:
Problem: Wrinkles and furrows
Solution: From tiny crow's-feet to deep lines, all can be virtually erased by muscle-relaxing injections (like Botox) and resurfacing (think lasers and chemical peels).
Problem: Drooping or hooded eyelids
Solution: The skin on your lids thins and sags over time, eventually resulting in heavy or droopy lids that can make you look tired and older. The doctor's strategy: to inject Botox into your squinting muscles-the ones in your crow's-feet area. Relaxing these muscles will lift heavy eyelids and help open up your eyes so they look more youthful and awake.
Problem: Hollows under the eye; these represent fat loss (in a place you really don't want to lose it)
Solution: filler injections (like Restylane), which can plump up the recesses and brighten the area.
Problem: Dark undereye circles, often caused by thin skin, genes, a cluster of veins, or a buildup of blood
Solution: filler injections, which thicken the skin so the bluish color is less obvious and you look less tired.
Problem: Puffy undereyes due to fat pockets
Solution: The fat can be repositioned or removed-but those procedures are still the job of a surgeon.
Picking a Procedure - And a Price
Want big results, no matter how much it costs or hurts? Or is visible but modest improvement good enough? Check out your choices, and all the costs-physical as well as financial.
For a Dramatic Change
Muscle Relaxer (Botox)
What it is: Purified substance from bacteria that helps relax muscles so sagging lids, brow furrows, and crepey skin look more taut.
Cost: $300 to $600 for the eye area
Lasts for: Three to 6 months (the longer you use it, the better your results)
Pain factor: Mild soreness afterward. Also possible: headache, slight bruising, or just a weird awareness that something is in your forehead.