New Technique Banishes Dark Under-Eye Circles Without Surgery

There is now a way to get rid of those dark under-eye circles without surgery -- by using cosmetic fillers, the same products that plump up lips and erase "laugh lines" that run from the nose to the mouth.

The advantages? Using a filler is fast, effective and not bloody. The downside? A fairly big needle injection is required and the procedure's effects wear off within months.

Emily Ross, 28, recently sought out the help of St. Louis physician Mike Nayak for her dark under-eye circles.

"Basically, what I want is to look like I came back from a great vacation, well-rested, destressed, re-invigorated," she says.

Nayak first applied a skin numbing cream to Ross' face before inserting injections of hyaluronic acid, a carbohydrate component that's found almost everywhere in the body.

This is unlike the standard "eye lift," during which a surgeon cuts into the eyelid and removes fat to make the under-eye bags smaller. Instead, the goal is to camouflage the bags by filling in the depression under the eye.

"You would think that we would've understood this long ago," said Nayak, who is a head and neck surgery professor at Saint Louis University in St. Louis. "You know, 'hey, fill the valley, the mountain doesn't look so tall.'"

The procedure takes 20 minutes, and costs approximately $500 per syringe, though more than one might be needed. The effects are temporary, lasting anywhere from three to six months.

"Oh, I think it looks good. I can see where it's filled in on both sides," Ross said. Within the hour, she was out of the doctor's chair and back at work.

The side effects known so far are minor: some bruising and swelling that disappears quickly.

Besides hyaluronic acid, there are several other fillers on the market and more pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Many doctors prefer to use hyaluronic acid fillers, however, because they don't cause allergies.

This story was reported by WABC-TV in New York City.