In the past, individuals dealing with hooded eyelids had limited choices apart from plastic surgery to get an uplift. However, technological advancement has introduced several non-invasive methods for hooded eyes, such as Botox, prescription eye drops, and plasma fibroblast treatments.
Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, notes that hooded eyelids predominantly occur in older individuals, but younger people are increasingly seeking treatments. "Most of my patients are older women aged 40 to 70, but many men and younger adults are also seeking treatment for hooded eyelids," says Zubritsky.
We discovered multiple methods to elevate hooded eyes with the assistance of Zubritsky, Azadeh Shirazi, MD, and Dr. Michael Horn.
The Root Causes of Hooded Eyes
Several factors, including aging and genetics, can cause hooded eyelids. From an age perspective, hooded eyelids result from the sagging skin above the eye that hangs over it. This excess skin manifests between the brow and the upper lash line. Dr. Michael Horn clarifies that as we get older, we lose bone, facial volume, collagen, elastin, and fat.
"Diverse factors like genetics, aging, and underlying fat contribute to hooded eyelids. As we age, our muscles start losing their elasticity and sag," says Horn. "This is usually first evident around the eye where the skin is the thinnest."
Although these are some of the most typical reasons for hooded eyelids, many individuals are naturally born with a hooded eyelid due to their facial structure and skin folding over their lid's crease.
Horn explains, "When eyes are hooded, the drooping skin may cover all or a part of the eyelid, leading to a crease and making the eyelid/eyes appear smaller. It usually doesn't lead to medical issues, but some find it can impair their vision, apart from aesthetic concerns."
Treatments for Hooded Eyes
Zubritsky mentions that Botox is a relatively risk-free procedure with minimal downtime, utilized to elevate hooded eyelids and sagging brows, often referred to as a "Botox brow lift."
Botox, when used for hooded eyes, relaxes the muscles surrounding the eyes and those between the eyebrows, elevating the eyebrow. This treatment is most effective for mild hooded eyelids or relatively young patients. According to Shirazi, when Botox is judiciously administered, it can noticeably lift and widen the eyes, resulting in a brighter, more awake look.
Cost: The price of Botox hinges on the number of units your provider uses. However, in 2019, the national average cost was approximately $379.
2. Temple and Brow Filler
Shirazi suggests that hooded eyelids are frequently a result of the loss of structure around the eyes. Introducing a dermal filler to the area can lift the eyebrows and reduce droopiness.
In this case, fillers are typically added to the temples and between the brows to smoothen the area and temporarily lift the eyelids.
Cost: The cost of dermal fillers relies on the brand used (Juvederm Ultra, Ultra Plus, Voluma, Restylane Lyft, Restylane, Belotero, Sculptra, etc.), ranging from $625 to $850 in 2019.
3. Laser Resurfacing
Horn asserts that laser resurfacing can deliver "substantial results" as it tightens the skin while promoting collagen production. This aids the area in healing smoothly with a more even appearance while removing loose skin around the eyes for a non-surgical eye lift.
He states, "It works by heating the eyelid skin layers to boost collagen production, which decreases with age. It is generally performed using a fractional Co2 laser on an outpatient basis."
Cost: Ablative laser resurfacing will be expensive—in 2019 the procedure cost roughly $2,200.
4. Thread Lift
An eyebrow thread lift is a minimally intrusive procedure where dissolvable threads are strategically placed in the suitable skin layer with a needle (no incision needed), then lifted upwards, acting like an anchor. The excess threads are then cut off. This instantly lifts the eyebrow area, supporting the upper eyelid, and prompts the area to generate new collagen over time. It's a quick procedure performed under local anesthesia. There may be minor bruising, soreness, or swelling for a few days post-treatment.
Cost: The price range for an eyebrow thread lift fluctuates from $1,500 to $6,000. The longevity of the results can span from one to three years, contingent upon the speed at which your body metabolizes the threads.
5. Plasma Fibroblast Skin Tightening
Plasma fibroblast skin tightening procedures function by generating hundreds of tiny perforations or controlled micro-injuries on the upper eyelid using a high-frequency electric current. These minute openings immediately constrict, leading to skin retraction and, subsequently, a tightening and lifting effect. A slight swelling may arise, given the sensitive and fine quality of the eyelid skin. While it may appear daunting, this process is deemed low-risk.
The healing process for these micro-perforations typically spans two to three weeks, with the outcome visible within six to eight weeks, contingent on your skin's natural healing ability. The effect of this treatment can be maintained for up to three years.
Cost: The cost of plasma fibroblast skin tightening treatment varies but is usually hundreds of dollars.
6. Microcurrent Devices
Microcurrent devices are user-friendly and can be utilized at home, making them a more economical alternative than in-office treatments. Tools such as NuFace Trinity, when used with the ELE attachment designed specifically for the eye and lip areas, function by stimulating the muscles, yielding a short lift in the skin.
Horn recommends seeking advice from a professional before embarking on even a modest cosmetic procedure. "If you're uncertain about the root cause of your droopy eyelids, it's advisable to schedule an eye examination with an ophthalmologist to eliminate the possibility of non-cosmetic and medical conditions," he suggests.
Cost: Microcurrent devices, on average, range from $200 to $400 and should last for thousands of uses.
Eyelid surgery, also known as upper lid blepharoplasty, is commonly recommended for those with moderate to severe sagging of the eyelids. Among all treatments available for hooded or sagging eyes, it is considered the most invasive, costly, and requires the most recovery time. However, the effects usually persist for about a decade, significantly longer than most other treatment alternatives.
Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that necessitates anesthesia, but it can be performed outpatient. "The surgery normally takes less than an hour, depending on whether the patient has both upper and lower eyelids treated," Horn elucidates.
"During an upper lid blepharoplasty, a plastic surgeon generally creates a cut along the natural fold of the eyelid. Following the incisions and removal of surplus skin and fat, the eyelid area is tightened, giving the eyes a fresher, more symmetrical, less bloated, wide-awake, and more rejuvenated look," Horn elaborates.
Horn adds that most patients can resume work or their normal activities within two to three days, and complete recovery, in terms of physical appearance, takes roughly a week to 10 days.
Despite being a premium-priced option, Horn asserts it is the benchmark for treating droopy or hooded eyelids. "It necessitates only a single surgery and the advantages endure for many years."
Cost: Starting costs for blepharoplasty are around $4,000, as per recent data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
8. Eye Drops
Horn elaborates UPNEEQ is a new FDA-approved eye-lifting drop available by prescription that provides "a temporary fix for droopy eyelids and requires a single dose daily."
"It will not deliver the permanent or dramatic results one gets from surgery; however, it can give about 1mm of lift in the upper eyelid following the first use, which can be enough for some people to notice an improvement," Horn adds.
Cost: UPNEEQ costs between $200 to $300 for a 30-day supply.
9. Radiofrequency Treatment
Radiofrequency treatment offers a non-invasive method to stimulate collagen production "by permeating the dermis in a high-density dot pattern," explains Horn.
"Swift recovery occurs as the stem cells in the unaffected areas prompt the production of new collagen in the treated regions. This process typically lasts for about 15 minutes, and the ideal candidates are those with mild to moderate skin laxity on the eyelids but are not yet ready for surgical interventions."
Multiple sessions may be essential to achieve the desired outcome, and radiofrequency can be applied to the upper or lower eyelids.
Cost: The expense of a radiofrequency treatment varies between $500 and $5,000, depending on the equipment utilized.
The decision to pursue a particular treatment, if any, is personal and influenced by factors such as your anticipated outcomes, availability for recovery time, and financial considerations. It is suggested to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to explore options that align with your aspirations.
How can I address my hooded eyes naturally?
There aren't any truly "natural" methods to treat hooded eyes. However, non-invasive treatments, such as radiofrequency treatment, can help stimulate collagen in the skin surrounding the eyes.
What led to the development of hooded eyelids?
Various factors—from genetics to age—cause the development of hooded eyelids. When muscles start to lose elasticity and sag, we notice the appearance of hooded eyes due to the thin skin in the area.
What's the most effective method to fix hooded eyes?
The gold standard is the most invasive and expensive but will provide the most remarkable results. A blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift, can be performed to correct the upper lid, lower lid, or both and involves surgically restructuring the eyelid.
Aging is a beautiful journey that tells our unique story, but the drooping eyelids that often come with it can cause discomfort, hinder vision, or be a cosmetic concern. Thankfully, a range of treatments is available today—from at-home devices to surgical interventions—that cater to every budget, lifestyle, and severity of sagging eyelids.
While the above non-invasive methods can be helpful, they may not provide the dramatic and long-lasting results that surgical options offer. It is essential to remember that choosing to undergo any cosmetic procedure is a personal decision that should be made with care. Always consult a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to discuss the best option for your needs and goals.
Keep in mind your eyes are often the first feature people notice about you; they serve as mirrors to your spirit. Thus, wishing for them to reflect the vitality and youthfulness you feel inside is perfectly normal. Be it a home-based regimen or a professionally administered procedure, many options are at your disposal to help achieve this goal.
Regardless of your path, it's crucial to remember that your comfort in your skin holds paramount importance, and your contentment should not hinge solely on your physical appearance. As always, health and well-being should be your top priority.
If you have further queries or concerns about hooded or drooping eyelids, we're here to assist you in feeling and looking your best!