Tear trough filler is the treatment everyone is talking about - but what actually is it?

Whether it's because of genetics, stress or lifestyle - under eye bags are a very real thing.

You've Googled how to get rid of them. You've forked out all of the money on those spendy eye creams (SO many darn eye creams). You've tried every single concealer trick, ever. 

And yet... you still look tired.

Ugh. We feel your pain.

Watch: Got time for *one* more concealer hack? Cause it could just change your entire makeup game. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

And if you've ever looked at a celebrity with zero under eye baggage and wondered how the heck they look that fresh after an international publicity tour, well, allow us to introduce you to a lil' treatment called tear trough filler.

This is a popular non-surgical procedure that works to nix dark circles and sagging underneath the eyes. 

And famous people are getting around it. For example, Katy Perry openly told Refinery29, "I’ve done lasers and got [filler] injections under my eyes for the hollowing - which I’d recommend for everyone who wants a solution for their dark circles."


Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we talk about what 'baby Botox' actually is. Post continues below. 

Want more info? Of course you do. We all do. So we asked Dr Jonathan Hopkirk, Global Medical Director of Laser Clinics Australia to give us the lowdown on exactly what tear trough fillers are and what's involved.

Yeah, so - what exactly is a tear tough treatment?

Okay, so a tear trough treatment (or under eye fillers) is basically a procedure that uses hyaluronic acid filler to fill in the hollow area underneath the eye that causes the appearance of dark circles.

Unsure what tear troughs even are? Read on.

"Tear troughs form when volume is lost from the tissues (predominantly the fat pads) around the eye and cheek areas," said Dr Hopkirk. "Our anatomy is often influenced by our heritage, however as we get older, the impact of the age-related changes become more apparent."

What kinda age-related changes?

"Having hollow areas under the eyes with flattened cheeks is one of the most significant changes that we perceive as a sign of ageing," said Dr Hopkirk. "As the youthful fullness of our cheeks slowly fades, a visible hollow line begins to develop from the inner corner of the eye that often extends laterally (extending towards the sides of the face) across the lower cheek."

With further volume loss, Dr Hopkirk said the hollows under your eyes will become more pronounced, meaning those dark circles will appear more prominent, "due to the shadow which is cast by the nasal bone."


So will tear trough fillers get rid of the dark circles? 

Well, not necessarily. "It's important to understand that often pigment is a big contributor to the darkness, which is apparent in the tear trough region (filler does not remove pigment related changes)," explains Dr Hopkirk.

What's involved?

While an under eye filler is usually a relatively quick process, it's important to keep in mind that this is still a REAL medical procedure. Not a fluffy, "what the hell, let's just do it!" lunchtime thing. Mmmkay?

Alright, here's what you're in for:

After cleaning your skin, the professional injector will usually apply a topical numbing cream to the area to make sure the procedure is comfortable. 

Once numb, a small needle is used to create an entry point for the doctor to inject the filler. 

Depending on the injector's preferred technique, some might use a cannula (a thin tube) to inject the filler because it may lower the risk of bruising. 

The injector will then slowly inject small amounts of filler to each area until they reach the desired results. 

You might also notice your injector using their fingers to mould the product after injecting it - this is pretty normal and usually means they are trying to shape it before it sets.


What about after the treatment? Is there any downtime?

You'll most commonly experience a bit of redness, swelling and bruising post-treatment, but this shouldn't last more than a few days (FYI though - some people experience this for up to week). 

Dr Hopkirk said to be sure to follow aftercare instructions, which typically include avoiding intense activity for 24 to 48 hours, applying ice during the first 48 hours and avoiding sleeping face down. 

While you may want to slap on some concealer to cover any bruising, it's also best to avoid applying any makeup or skincare products for around 24 hours to reduce the risk of infection.

Talk to me about results.

"The area under your eye in the orbital region will look fuller and less of a shadow will be evident in this area leaving the patient looking refreshed and less tired," said Dr Hopkirk.

You should see results immediately after treatment, however Dr Hopkirk said full results can take one to two weeks to see, once the area fully settles and the dermal filler is well integrated into the tissue. "Often a patient can benefit from a top up in the following months if there is significant volume loss to begin with."

Just to be clear, how long these results last will be different for everyone. While Dr Hopkirk said the filler will usually last around a year, how quickly it breaks down is dependent on your body’s metabolism. So, while it may last for up to a year for some people, it may dissolve quicker for others.

To give you an idea of results, here is a before and after photo taken a few days after a tear trough filler treatment:


Image: Supplied 

Okay cool. Where do I go?

Wo-wo-woah! Not so fast, friend. We don't want you rocking up to any old place willy-nilly. As with any cosmetic procedure, it's *crucial* that you do your research before jumping in.

While having an injectable treatment may seem like it's just as common as getting your hair done these days, it’s so important to keep in mind that it comes with some serious risks - especially if performed incorrectly. 


If you want to avoid complications and side effects (we're just going to leave these injectable horror stories here), it is imperative to see someone who has experience in this field. 

Make sure you thoroughly research their qualifications and training before booking an appointment, and ask them if you can see some before and after photos so you are familiar with their work. 

Another important tip is to make sure your practitioner looks at your entire face during your consultation - and not just the area you've enquired about. 

"In almost all cases, it's essential to treat both the cheek and the tear troughs together as a combined procedure. A tear trough needs support from the lateral (outer) aspect of the cheek before we can add filler to the under eye itself. This structural support in the cheek replaces lost volume and leads to a better overall result," explains Dr Hopkirk.

So, don't cheap out. Having an inexperienced person injecting filler around your EYES is not a thing you should ever do. 

If you see a salon or a spa offering discount rates or any of that business - this is usually a major red flag. Just don't do it.

Feature image: Supplied

Have you had a tear trough filler treatment before? What results did you experience? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.