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Saggy, crepey eyelids: is blepharoplasty your only choice?

We highlight the best no knife solutions for fresher, more youthful eyelids

Saggy, droopy and hooded eyes make us look tired and sad. According to Google, searches for upper eyelid surgery (upper blepharoplasty surgery) have increased a massive 50 per cent during 2020.

Along with the rest of the face,  our eyes are exposed to daily UV light which damages the collagen and elastin that keeps skin firm and bouncy. Add gravity to the mix and the fact that upper eyelids have very few sebaceous glands to keep skin lubricated, and it’s not surprising eyelids are one of the first places to show the signs of ageing.

Traditionally, the only way to really tackle droopy or hooded lids was through an upper blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) which removes excess skin or fat. But what can you do if you want to avoid the expense and downtime of surgery?


Described as a ‘waffle-iron for your wrinkles’, Tixel uses heat to cause what is essentially a controlled burn. Tiny cones on a hand-held device are heated to a temperature of 400C and pressed across the eyelids to create a targeted burn. It is these burn spots which stimulate collagen and elastin to repair the damage, while tightening and rejuvenating skin. It should only be performed by a qualified doctor and recovery means looking and feeling as if you have a bad sunburn for a few days. Results should appear after a month.


Plexr uses plasma energy to give an instant 'shrink and lift' effect. Plasma energy works by ionising gasses in the air which vaporise a tiny patch of skin which then causes it to lift and tighten as it heals. “Plexr is a great alternative to surgical blepharoplasty”, says Dr Ioannis Liakis from Vie Aesthetics. "By using plasma fusion, we are able to reduce the skin while simultaneously tightening and lifting the area without cutting.” This does mean you’ll be left with a crust of minute pin-prick burn scabs along the upper eyelid, which are unsightly and a little uncomfortable. These scabs will fall off after about six days, leaving skin slightly red for a few weeks. Two treatments are usually recommended.

Radio frequency

Radio frequency energy devices heat up the lower layers of the skin (the dermis) to 42C, at which point the existing collagen contracts, giving an immediate lifting effect. It makes the skin think it is injured so it starts producing growth factors and new collagen to heal the perceived wounds. In time this shows up on the skin's surface as smoother, firmer, tighter skin. Downtime is minimal with a little redness for a day or two – up to six treatments will be needed for the best result. EV Editorial Panel member Dr Uliana Gout combines radio frequency with expertly placed Botox to give a lift to the eye.  

At-home solutions

Traditionally there’s not been much you can do at home to lift your eyelids, apart from using good skincare to keep the skin protected and more elastic. However, there are a handful of home-use devices that are worth a try, particularly to maintain the effects of the above in-clinic treatments.

NuFace Trinity (with ELE head) is a nifty little device that uses targeted microcurrents which stimulate muscles to give a lifted effect to the face, including the brows and eyes.

Sensica Sensilift Mini uses radio frequency and promises to give results after eight weeks when used once a week.

Magnitone Liftoff can be used above and below the brows and uses pulsed microcurrents to penetrate deep into the skin to help lift the brows and eye area.

Ioannis Liakas, Medical Director

Dr Ioannis Liakas is a shining gem in the aesthetics world. Prior to becoming an industry leading practitioner, he worked...

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