What's up with my face?
April 25, 2013 3:38 AM   Subscribe

YANAD, but what are these lines on my face?? They start from the inner corner of each eye and run in a long semi-circle under my eye to the middle of my outer cheek area. Bad phone quality pictures here and here (it's a good day so they aren't as puffy so it may be hard to tell). Limited Google results tell me they may be malar festoons/mounds??, however I can only find articles on these in older people and I'm 23. Some days they are barely noticeable and others they are very pronounced (for example, at 16 I was once asked how I got those big scars on my face). I haven't noticed any link between how pronounced they are and what time of day it is, if I am especially tired etc. It can sometimes make me quite self conscious when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a window or mirror and see these pronounced creases cutting through my cheek fat. Any ideas??
posted by sunshine arakhan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
IANAD, but I am a person with hay fever, and in the spring when the tree pollen count is high, I get those because my face gets slightly swollen.

If I take an allergy pill with a decongestant and drink a lot of water, it goes away. Maybe some soothing compresses on the puffy areas.

(sidenote: if I'm coming down with what will turn into a bad cold, flu or sinus infection, these show up on my face even before I feel sick.)
posted by kinetic at 4:01 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have this too. Like kinetic, it's usually noticeable when I have a bad head cold or my allergies are bad.

If you look at baby pictures of me, they are really noticeable especially when I am tired. Sometimes it looks as if a line has been drawn between my eyes and my nose. I have always had pretty fat cheeks, but as I've gotten older and my face has thinned out it's less noticeable.

If it's really bad, I use a warm compress on my face and drink lots of water. It might just be in my head, but that does seem to help. For me, it's worse in the morning and gradually goes away as the day goes on.
posted by lootie777 at 4:13 AM on April 25, 2013

I have these all of the time, and I've had them for at least 7 years. I'm 31. I agree with kinetic and lootie777 that allergies make them look worse, and I suspect that allergies are what brought mine on in the first place. Pollen and animal dander make the skin around my eyes swell up big time. It's like my face eventually stuck that way. It's my major complaint about my appearance.

My face-line-things don't ever entirely go away, even when I'm taking my antihistamines. The best I can hope for is that they're milder some days than others. If you find that yours have anything to do with facial puffiness, you could try to get that under control. If you feel like wheeling out bigger guns, I've found that my Retin-A has reduced their appearance a bit.
posted by Coatlicue at 4:48 AM on April 25, 2013

I've seen people with that, and I always thought it was just one of the standard facial features some people are factory equipped with. I believe it lines up with a muscle or something like that, and is just more prominent on some people than others.
posted by gjc at 5:22 AM on April 25, 2013 [10 favorites]

To be honest, I'm having a hard time seeing exactly what you're talking about. I'm not sure if we've got the same thing or not... But if we do, I'm afraid what you've got probably isn't allergic. If you're like me you just have weak cheek bones, and you may be looking at some deeper cheek furrows as you get older. If so, you could temporarily even it out with a few shots of a dermal filler, or for something more long-term you could get a cheek implant. (I dream of having the disposable income for that kind of silly crap someday...)

Mind you, I'm not seeing any big problem, and I'm not saying you need plastic surgery... But if this really bothers you, you might want to do a consult with a plastic surgeon to get his opinion about what it is and what you can do about it. Those guys specialize in facial fat, and you'll probably get a better diagnosis about what's going on than you'd get from a GP. When my problem started I spent a few years thinking it was allergies and trying everything to treat them, and then one day my right cheek caved in and then I found out I had weak cheek bones and my freaking face fat was collapsing.

Don't mean to scare you. (You're young and lovely, don't worry about it!) But if this is something that really bugs you, I do suggest finding an honest plastic surgeon and getting their opinion about what's going on.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:25 AM on April 25, 2013

Those would be your sinuses. When they get irritated, your face swells a bit in their vicinity, and discolors. I have the same thing happen to me and my siblings when we get sinus infections.

It may be spring allergies, or a sinus infection, or sinusitus - or it may be plain old fatigue. I used to work with a guy who had this so bad he looked like a panda. When he got back from vacation, they had completely cleared up - he apparently only got 5hrs of sleep a night, and worked in a high-stress position. The dark patches returned after a week back on the job.

In any event, see your doc, and try some claritin or allegra while you're waiting for your appointment.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:37 AM on April 25, 2013

I grew up with several kids who had those from early childhood on. I assumed it was just one of those variations in facial structure.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:48 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yup, allergy thing.

Cool or warm compresses, antihistimines or a neti pot may help.

I have dark circles under my eyes. I've had them my whole life, it's a thing. I use a roller and they go away. Makeup, it's a good thing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:57 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, like I've always had blue streaks in that zone, and it appears to be a kind of fatty tissue that's hereditary/genetic. More or less visible at varying times, with varying tiredness, allergies, etc....
posted by acm at 5:58 AM on April 25, 2013

Taking Claritin daily helps me with puffy eyes/dark circles (and other spring allergy symptoms). Also, keeping very well hydrated.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:51 AM on April 25, 2013

I believe the correct term for this is nasojugal fold, crease, or groove, or tear trough. But please don't google them, you'll end up with a bunch of plastic surgery results that are pretty gross. And your face is beautiful.
posted by bq at 7:08 AM on April 25, 2013

In healthcare those are called "allergic shiners." People who suffer from environmental allergies often have them. My driver's license pic was taken in spring of 1989 when I was 16 years old and hay fever season was in full swing...it looked like I had two black eyes. Control your allergies and you'll minimize their appearance, but they never go away completely. Also don't smoke, smoking makes them more prominent.
posted by little mouth at 7:11 AM on April 25, 2013

I have slight circles under my eyes, too. I just cover them up with a bit of foundation- doesn't help with the depth/shape issue, but fixing the color helps a LOT.
posted by amaire at 8:29 AM on April 25, 2013

Not meaning to thread sit, but thank you to everyone so far. What's odd though is that I don't suffer from allergies or sinus problems and never have, so I don't believe these lines are linked to that (or maybe I do and just never noticed??). I never experience any discoloration of the area either. But everyone has helped me greatly so far!
posted by sunshine arakhan at 1:39 PM on April 25, 2013

My sinus and eye allergies didn't kick into high gear until I was almost 25 years old. There's more than one reason that the skin around your eyes can puff up, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything that you've never had allergies before. Not to say you do have allergies for sure, just that you can't count them out just because they would be new to you.
posted by Coatlicue at 1:45 PM on April 25, 2013

Go to your doctor ask for a non steroid nose spray. MY doctor prescribed patonaise. Its basically a spray antihistimene for your nose. They doctor noticed my turbinates would swell due to allergies. these are tyhings at the top of your nose. They swell and cause your sinuses to backup. I got prescribed this and within a half an hourt it cleared up.

He prescribed this because its non steroid.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:21 PM on April 25, 2013

I have similar lines, and so do other women in my family. I have horrible sinus problems but I think it's mostly just a furrow caused by facial fat. If I pull my skin taut near the top of my cheekbones or by my nostrils, it goes away. Figuring out how to correctly apply concealer has helped to "fill" the lines in quite a bit.
posted by sm1tten at 6:25 PM on April 25, 2013

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