I Got Under-Eye Fillers and Here's What It Was *Really* Like
I loved the results, but this is what you should know before getting them.
Welcome to Try Before You Buy, a monthly series where we talk about the pricey beauty products and in-office treatments that are getting major buzz and give our honest feedback.
Growing up, my parents used to call me Racoony. It may sound like a cute nickname, but for me it was the beginning of a long-term obsession with my dark under-eye circles. As soon as I was old enough to wear makeup, I would pile on layers of concealer to mask my persistently dark-toned under-eye area. When I discovered the magic of eye creams, I tested out dozens in hopes that one would plump my under-eyes or color-correct the dark circles. But unfortunately, nothing worked. Eventually, I turned to under-eye fillers.
I got eye filler for the first time three years ago after wanting it for about five, and I fell in love with the results instantly. For the first time in my life I didn't look perpetually exhausted, instead, I looked happier and healthier. Since then, I've gotten under-eye filler every 10 months or so, as it has admittedly become the one in-office procedure I will likely always indulge in. I love the way filler softens my face and prevents me from looking tired at all times. And although it's perfectly okay to embrace dark circles or sagging, I do recommended filler to my friends and family who are actively seeking a fix. So, if you've ever been curious about getting under-eye filler, here's what you need to know.
What is under-eye filler?
Under-eye filler, also known as dermal filler, is exactly what it sounds like: filler that's inserted into the under-eye area. Most use a hyaluronic acid complex that's gel-like and helps to give the area more volume.
What type of under-eye filler should a person get?
"There are two different types of fillers that are typically used under the eyes," explains Konstantin Vasyukevich, M.D., a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City. "One type is designed to lift the facial tissue and create volume—it's often used in the areas of the face that sag and become hollow with age. It has a firm consistency, lasts for up to two years, and is typically injected deep into the facial tissue. Juvederm Voluma, Restylane Lyft, and Radiesse are examples of this type of filler. But given their firm consistency and low pliability, they should only be injected into the lower (thicker) part of the eyelid to avoid creating visible lumps or nodules."
"The best fillers for the upper part of the eyelid—where the skin tends to be much thinner—are softer, smoother, and specifically engineered to avoid creating a shadow under the skin," continues Dr. Vasyukevich. "Juvederm Volbella, Restylane Silk, and Belotero are the fillers typically used to fill in deep nasojugal grooves and to smooth out under-eye creases. These fillers can be injected much closer to the surface of the skin and don't typically leave any visible surface irregularities. One can expect the effect to last from six months to a year."
"If the upper cheek/lower eyelid hollowing contributes to the 'tired eyes' look, a thicker, volume-creating filler is the best solution. If one has deep grooves and creases under the eyes—a softer, smoother filler would solve the problem. On some occasions, if a patient has hollowness and fine lines, then both types of filler may be used for a maximum rejuvenating effect."
Remember though, fillers aren't one-size-fits-all, so just because a friend used one and loved the results doesn't mean that that'll be the best option for you. "The decision of which filler to use under the eyes depends on the patient's anatomy and is best left for an experienced injector to make," says Dr. Vasyukevich.
What are the benefits of under-eye filler?
What's great about under-eye filler is that you get instant results. Immediately, you'll notice that the area looks smoother, brighter, and plumper. Plus, you'll come across as well-rested and potentially a few years younger than you are.
What should you ask your doctor before getting under-eye filler?
First and foremost, you should be careful about which doctor to go with. Don't go for the doctor on Groupon just because you found a deal, and don't go with your dermatologist if they don't have experience with dermal fillers. You should vet your doctor the way you would any other medical professional—ask all the questions. Ask to see photos of their work, what type of filler they think is best for you, how many units of filler you'll need, how you should prep, what type of results you can expect, etc. It's important to have these conversations so that you both know what you want to achieve.
Additionally, Dr. Konstantin says you should ask your doctor what their "touch up" policy is and if they will charge you for them, as touch-ups can give you optimal results but could also cost you an extra penny.
How often will you need to get touch-ups?
Everybody metabolizes filler differently, so it could last someone as little as nine months. However, according to Dr. Konstantin, under-eye filler typically lasts for up to two years. After that, you'll have to go back to your doctor to get touch-ups.
Does getting under-eye filler hurt?
In my experience, it depends on the doctor. The first time I got under-eye filler, I felt a little bit of pain and had bruises under both my eyes for a week. After that, I changed doctors and found experts that had more experience. Since then, I've visited two other doctors and didn't experience any pain or bruising. One of them used a vibrating skincare tool to mask the feeling of the needle, while the other applied a numbing cream to my under-eye area before injecting. In both cases, I could feel the filler being inserted into my skin but it didn't hurt, it was just a weird sensation. Always feel free to ask your doctor for numbing cream if you're concerned about pain!
How much does under-eye filler cost?
How much filler costs depends largely on geographical location and doctors' fees. However, Dr. Konstantin says you can expect to pay between $600-$1000 for under-eye filler.