Help my eyes look less old
December 18, 2009 3:27 AM   Subscribe

For a 45 year old woman, I'm very happy with how I'm aging, with one recent exception: my eyes are beginning to look very old. In the past few months, I arise every morning with huge puffs both under and over my eyes and there's been a dramatic increase in wrinkles, to the point where people keep asking me if I'm okay because I look tired. I'm already a low-sodium, exercising, well-hydrated, healthy diet, lots of green tea type of person. I've tried puff-reducing gels (which work a little but then the wrinkles really stand out), the Olay Rx line (no changes), some dermatologist-recommended Vichy product line, still nothing. But I'm wondering, weirdly, if having swine flu about 2 months ago has something to do with this. One of my first symptoms was I became bloated all over (couldn't zip up boots), and maybe the eyes are the last remnant of the flu? Does anyone have recommendations for a de-wrinkler for the eyes that truly works?
posted by dzaz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Try cucumbers or tea-bags?
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:32 AM on December 18, 2009

Do you still have any nasal congestion? I get pretty sizeable allergic shiners under my eyes during allergy season, and a decongestant really helps. So does anything else that reduces the congestion (neti pot, avoiding allergens, etc).

Mine are usually worse when I'm noticeably congested, but they show up sometimes even when I can't tell I'm stuffy, and the usual decongesting methods still help. I'm not sure if they can show up from other things that cause congestion (left over flu symptoms, perhaps), but I wouldn't be too surprised.
posted by nat at 4:13 AM on December 18, 2009

Consumer Reports did eye creams in October 2009. (Subscription required; a bit of discussion here, along with a copy-and-paste of the results.) They found four to be "slightly more effective" (faint praise indeed). Those include the European version of this L'Oreal product (it was unclear to me why they didn't test the US version) and a Nivea eye cream available in the UK, as well as one of the Olay eye creams.

Sounds like your bout with swine flu probably does have to do with your newfound bags and wrinkles, though. Allergies have a lot to do with eye puffiness.

About dermatologists, though: If you don't like your dermatologist, or the products she recommends, shop around. I've been to a million dermatologists, and the quality of care they offer—cosmetic and medical—varies enormously.
posted by purpleclover at 4:48 AM on December 18, 2009

48 year old here. I found over the last year or so that my eyes were always irritated and puffy. At my most recent eye check up the doc suggested I start using artificial tears 2-3 times a day. It has made a huge difference. I think many of us produce fewer tears as we age - that makes one's eyes tired, sore and red - and if you're like me you rub them as a result and that makes them puffy. My eyes look and feel vastly better since I started using the artificial tears - which I use right before bed and first thing in the morning.
posted by leslies at 5:41 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

For a rather more serious sort of swelling around the eyes (I have thyroid eye disease, an autoimmune illness that attacks the eye muscles), I find that sleeping on a wedge pillow helps (important in my case because it reduces the pain). I wonder if it would help your situation. Probably not as much as addressing any nasal congestion would.
posted by Ery at 5:46 AM on December 18, 2009

If I were you I would see your internist or family practice physician about this. Swelling is linked to a variety of conditions including thyroid as previously mentioned, as well as heart failure, blood pressure issues and menopause. Hopefully, it's nothing more than growing older and can be treated cosmetically, but it's worth checking out with your regular doctor.
posted by FergieBelle at 6:11 AM on December 18, 2009

Nthing to go do a doc. Ask about allergies/sinus congestion, and mention your hunch regarding swine flu. And don't let anyone make you feel like you're making these inquiries out of "mere" vanity.
posted by desuetude at 7:11 AM on December 18, 2009

I would try a dose of Zyrtec (if it's okay for you to take that) for a couple of days, and go to a Nordstrom (or maybe some other cosmetics counter, I just know that Nordstrom will for sure give you a sample) and get a sample of Lancome Genefique Eye. It has worked well for me, but it's a little pricey for a YMMV item like that.

It wouldn't hurt to go to the doctor - even if there's not something wrong he/she might have a solution that we don't.
posted by KAS at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2009

Adding to the chorus of "make sure this isn't indicative of a larger health issue." My armchair sociobiologist speculates that the reason we think puffy eyes are so unattractive is that they can be a symptom of some pretty serious issues.

If it's just random idiopathic puffy eye, lying down for a bit using single-serving coffee bags drenched in cold water as eye patches might help--something about the caffeine seems to work. I used to use tea bags for this, which worked reasonably well, but coffee bags work even better.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:55 AM on December 18, 2009

Oh my god, I started getting this in the past six months or so after a bout with what was probably the swine flu -- puffy bags under my eyes where there had never been puffy bags before. (I'm 40, btw, and otherwise have had pretty much no complaints in the skin department in terms of encroaching middle age.) I tried a couple of drugstore products, too, with no success. Then, on a whim, I picked up some Azulene eye cream by Earth Science and -- I am sorry I sound like a paid spokesperson, but I swear it's true -- the puffiness was gone the next day. (My boyfriend immediately started using it himself after I raved about it, and he looks a lot less tired these days, too.)
posted by scody at 12:26 PM on December 18, 2009 [6 favorites]

Thanks for all the help: I have a call in to the GP and I'll make sure I discuss the H1N1 connection, not my old-lady vanity.

I actually tried a decongestant last night and woke up with no puffs. I think the flu may have had something to do with this.

Here's my last dopey question, though: would there be a massive increase in wrinkles because of the puffiness? I never had so many wrinkles before!
posted by dzaz at 2:32 AM on December 19, 2009

I read somewhere the "puffiness" stretches the delicate skin around the eyes thereby causing wrinkles. Take this with a grain of salt because I forget where I read/heard this.
posted by kaybdc at 7:59 PM on December 19, 2009

OP here...followup: went to the GP yesterday (she's been my doctor for over 17 years, so she gets me), and after I told her the initial H1N1 symptoms (esp. not being able to zip up boots and incredible facial puffiness) she said the puffiness is from the flu and the leftover wrinkles are from the puffiness.

They may tighten up over time, but they may not. I'm going to try the Azulene cream; thanks for that suggestion.

If I'd known the flu was going to leave my face looking like this, I would have gotten the vaccination. Lesson learned.

Thanks everyone.
posted by dzaz at 2:25 AM on December 22, 2009

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