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Tortured by Tear Troughs No More! - New York, NY

Preface: I am a 22 years old female, non smoker,...

Preface: I am a 22 years old female, non smoker, don't drink or do drugs, am healthy and in great shape.

*BACKSTORY*
My whole life I've had somewhat dark circles, but they never were a problem since they are easily covered with concealer. But as I entered my mid-teens I was losing baby fat and then some (admittedly in an unhealthy way- I had anorexia nervosa which contributed to immense physical scrutiny on my part); the mania that follows depriving your body of nutrients led my mind to become absolutely obsessive about certain body parts, specifically my under eyes which had lost much volume due to the weight drop. Looking back now at baby pictures I can see that I always had slight dark circles under my eye and what some may harshly call "tear trough deformity" but it certainly never bothered me then and nobody ever gave me cause to be self conscious.


Anyway- after the hollows became more apparent I became obsessed with trying to conceal them. Like a sick person. I would show up late for school every day because I was trying to hide my under eye circles with makeup, I'd have my makeup and mirror out in nearly every class for touching up, I would have a panic attack if I went somewhere without my concealer and a mirror nearby. I knew that hollowness reacted to lighting more than anything and makeup simply cannot cover up shadow, but hey, my mind was clearly warped with lots of things and so I chose to believe that I could hide my under eyes if I had just enough makeup on.


Well- that was a long time ago. I am happy to say that since then I have completely, 100% recovered from my eating disorder, have shed the crippling body dysmorphia and lack of confidence and I have since graduated from the top fashion design school in the country this year and am now making my living from the women's t-shirt business I started. The girl I was as a teenager is like a stranger to me, except for that one lingering fixation: my under eye hollows.

Surgery/ injections weren't an option for me since I was submerged in school work and internships for my 4 years of college, and my parents were not willing to pay for me to get any type of surgical procedure because they felt it was something I should pay for myself (but my mother always filled my Christmas stockings with the latest dark circle treatment creams and volume restorers which sadly did jack-sh*t to help my eyes.)

*DECIDING ON FILLERS*
When my business began taking off, I immediately thought about getting my tear troughs filled because after trying everything imaginable, I felt that the least I could do was have a consultation with one of the best doctors in NYC. While I do work from home every day, I am often asked to model, act and partake in really fabulous shoots with photographers. I am a somewhat prominent figure in the blogging community as well as the cosplay community and my pictures/ looks are honestly probably 40% of the reason why I've gotten the recognition I've gotten thus far. But without good lighting or a bright camera flash, all I can see is hollow, tired, old eyes that reflect nothing close to the woman I am inside. It makes me avoid photoshoots of me in my designs or modeling other people's work in makeup, special FX or costume design. And after trying so hard to accept myself and work with what I had to no avail, I decided to stop trying to make myself into a martyr for being "above" surgical modification if it would make my brain shut up and focus on more important things.
So far it's been the best thing I ever bought.

*GETTING THE FILLERS*
After hearing nothing but amazing things on Dr. Shafer on multiple websites, I researched him and learned about his exceedingly sufficient qualifications: double board certified, graduated from the top medical schools in the country with honors, earned many awards for his surgical work, history with restoring the faces and bodies of burn victims, and this is just to name a few. I got the feeling that he was a true artist like me, and what helped me let myself do this procedure is the fact that this is his art form, it is what he is great at and loves doing. If I cannot fix it, why not go to someone who can and will? So after reading as much as I can about the procedure and making a list of questions for the doctor, I made my consultation.
That consultation was today. I anticipated just learning about the procedure and having him decide whether or not he can help me (I was actually worried I was too severe a case for him to help), but it turns out I was given the option to get the surgery the same day, which would mean that I don't pay for the consultation OR the follow up appointment, I pay for the one syringe of Juvederm, which is $1000 and is good for two separate filling sessions.
Dr. Shafer himself is a lovely person, instantly warm and attentive. Answered all of my questions and had a confidence- but not an arrogance- that quelled my anxious mind. The consultation part was not as investigative as I had imagined, but that's because I really had no idea how he would decide if/ when/ how he could improve my tear trough deformity. We talked for about 10 minutes about everything- my basic concerns, my wish to reduce the hollowness of my under eyes but not as to make me look plastic or like somebody else, what the procedure entails, the after-care. Then I decided to go for it. Especially after the consultation, I couldn't see why not do it now.

When I say that it was an easy procedure, I couldn't be more exaggerative. Getting my teeth cleaned is a tougher procedure to deal with, getting my lip pierced was a tougher procedure, getting a manicure is more arduous. It was the emotional and physical equivalent of getting my ears pierced. Now to be fair, I am not at all scared of needles and I am very tough when it comes to pain- I will wear the corset, dance in the stilettos, and endure the pain that comes before outer fabulousness. I mean, if inner fabulousness is harvested after one feels inner turmoil and hardship, why is it any different as far as our outer self satisfaction? But yet I cannot imagine even the most needle-phobic person being bothered by this. The only needle you feel is the teensy one which administers a small amount of numbing solution around the eye area, and even that prick is so slight due to the ice pack having been applied for a couple minutes prior to. Getting blood draw is more needle-happy than this, at least from what you can physically feel. After withdrawing the needle (which I could not even feel) Dr. Shafer showed me the syringe which would be administering the Juvederm Ultra. I was surprised to see that it looked like the blunt eye end of a sewing needle, and seemed a teensy bit thick, but I trusted him and felt relaxed. He explained that the needle looked that way because the product must be laid flat while being injected, and that the cannula was flexible so it could reach every essential application zone through the one tiny hole.
The sensation of the cannula in my face was very odd, but I liked it! It was new and not at all painful or uncomfortable, I'd just imagine that the more squeamish people may be a little weirded out by the sensation. It feels like something cold is wriggling around your sinuses, all the way to the bridge of your nose. And the injecting itself lasted about 5 minutes for both eyes. Like I said, simple.
When Dr. Shafer gave me the mirror to take a gander, I could see the results through my smudged makeup instantly. It was not like all of a sudden I had a 100% filled up under eye, but that is good because I do not want to hide the fact that I have eye sockets and eye sockets don't just go from your bottom lash line to your cheek. I wanted the deepness to be relieved and made less drastic, and that is what I got. I don't look like I've had anything "done", I look like the me that I see in good lighting and camera flash, like the bright, happy, alert human that I really am.
As Dr. Shafer left the room and left me alone to fix my makeup and I had thanked him profusely, I held the mirror up to myself and saw the natural lighting illuminate my makeup application. I used to abhor natural lighting, I felt it exacerbated everything I hated about my eyes, and it would get me so down. But as I touched up I was blown away with how I was not cringing at the reflection of my eyes. It was like a miracle.
When I left the office, there was still no swelling or bruising, just amazing results. Something you should know: I HATE walking outside in daylight without my sunglasses. Yes, the eye hollow obsession knows no bounds. I feel very self conscious usually when walking outside with no sunglasses, but this time I walked down 5th avenue and felt people noticing me and I did not suspect that they were looking at my horrible bags, but my energy and confidence. I decided to walk all the way back to my apartment, 30 blocks away, and I enjoyed myself the entire time. It felt so wonderful to finally be free from the psychological barrier these eye hollows had given me.

*CURRENT STATUS*
It has been 12 hours since my surgery, and I'm surprised that I have not bruised at all and have only just gotten the TINIEST bit of swelling, seeing as I bruise and swell pretty easily whenever I am injured or pierced. I noticed a very very dull, hardly noticeable tenderness/ aching to the injection site, which went away as I took a shower and very gently removed all my makeup, lightly massaged my under eyes and then put ice under my eyes as I watched TV. When I took all of my makeup off I still had dark circles, but far less dark and scary than normal. But like I said way in the beginning of this: I have accepted that I have dark circles because I am Italian and it is how my skin and facial structure are, plus the darker pigment is easily covered with concealer. What I was driven insane with was trying to conceal the shadow, which was impossible. Now there is no epic shadow, so there is no need for slathering on the concealer and touching up over and over- as of now, those dark circles are gone with a quick pat of makeup whereas before I would have to spend at LEAST a half hour on concealing to feel adequately okay.

The doctor said that the intended results won't show up for about a week, so I am keeping in mind that things may change, and I would be happy if the product did settle to the point where it gave me a tiny bit more volume. But if not, I made my follow up appointment for 2 weeks from now, and I only used half of my syringe and I can always get more injected if I still feel it's necessary. I am personally glad that my doctor has a "less is more" mentality with this because I'd MUCH rather need a little bit more than be given way too much and be left looking ridiculously unnatural.

I should also note that my dark circles are considerably worse when I'm overtired, which I am- only got 4 hours of sleep last night due to work and excitement- so I am very excited to see if things look even better with a good nights' rest!

I plan to keep this updated, to help people like me who had similar feelings about their eyes or who are similar to me in my stats and would like to see how someone like me reacts/ responds to fillers. If you've read this far, god bless you, I feel like I just wrote a college term paper. Could be because I'm running on 4 hours though...

Goodnight, all! Here's hoping for a good day tomorrow as well.

1 Comments

What an absolutely wonderful review! Thank you so much for sharing your story so completely with us.

I absolutely love this quote from you:

"I mean, if inner fabulousness is harvested after one feels inner turmoil and hardship, why is it any different as far as our outer self satisfaction?"

Haha - I've never even considered it from that angle! Love it!!

I'll be looking forward to hearing how things settle in over the next few days, and whether or not you opt to get a bit more added. Thanks so much for sharing all you have so far! :)

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It's 2 days since my filler and I am really...

It's 2 days since my filler and I am really realizing why my doctor charges a couple hundred more than most other doctors who do this type of filler- he is an absolute master.

When I read that swelling and bruising was a possible after-effect with tear trough fillers, I had planned on being very swollen and bruised for about a week, given that I bruise/ swell pretty easily on my face, especially around the eye area. Well I am delightfully shocked to say that I still have hardly any bruising or swelling at all, and no soreness, itching, lumps or pain. It is only the slightest bluish/ purplish hue that I see under my eyes, which could very well be a bit of bruising, but it is covered up with one pat of concealer and is honestly still a huge improvement to my old dark circles. I've read that the majority of the aesthetically unpleasing effects of Juvederm in the tear trough are not due to the product/ H.A. itself but rather the sub-par skill of the injector. I believe it when they say the tear trough is an extremely tricky area to inject given how thin and thus unforgiving the skin is, which means to get a successful improvement the injector must be extremely knowledgeable in the anatomy of the eye and face as well as have the skill for knowing where and how to inject the product in just the right way. Dr. Shafer is an artist.
I am so happy with my results, I am happy with choosing to go with the more expensive but more well-reputed doctor, and if I were to recommend tear trough fillers for someone young or old, I would advise them to get it done by a master or not get it done at all. Your eyes are the windows to your soul, you don't want to mess them up because you wanted to save some money in fixing them up!

3 Comments

Holyy ishh...I can totally see your OCD part coming out in your analysis!! Well, it is a good quality to have for business and you definitely do look better.
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You look amazing...I have eyes exactly like yours. How did you find him? I'm trying to find a master injector like him in the Los Angeles area and can't find anything.

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Thanks, Megan! I read many stories and reviews on this site before I made my decision to get a consultation, and whenever I read your responses I found them very eloquently worded and very warm. Thank you for making me feel supported and welcome! P.S.- still doing great. If things remain this way in two weeks I don't think I will want any more done. I think half a syringe is just fine for me and gives me the results I was hoping for :)

Hi all! It's been nearly 2 weeks since the...

Hi all! It's been nearly 2 weeks since the procedure and 2 days before my follow-up appointment.
I mentioned before that I might want to get a little more volume if anything, but I am very glad I didn't because it did actually take nearly 2 weeks (as he predicted) for me to see the actual full results.

Before I mentioned that the fillers did not help with under-eye circles, but what I was actually seeing was light bruising which lightened over time and in the mean time was extremely easy to cover with make up. One eye had a tiny bit of purplish/ then yellowish bruising but it was such a tiny bit that it was almost funny. The bruising didn't show up for almost a week, but then took a few days to disappear (during the time after the bruising I steered clear of aspirin because it is a blood thinner and prolongs bruising). So I actually did notice that my under eye darkness is a whole lot better! It took about 2 weeks like I said, but it's really more of an extra pleasant surprise.

As for the volume restoration- It's definitely filled out since my initial days post-injection, which I am very happy with. HOWEVER- I will say that the product does seem to react to fluid intake and salt intake, like the natural body, and the few days before my period when my body retains water I noticed a *very very slight* puffiness of the eyes. Seriously not noticeable to anyone but me, but actually I did not have a problem with it because in a very odd way it made me feel better... because people without tear trough deformity usually do have slightly puffy undereyes when they first wake up or feel bloated, so it was a weird kind of affirmation. Of course it did go down with movement and just going about my day, so this is not a complaint- just a note!

I initially said that I saw a small (albeit very natural looking) hollow under the eye which I was fine with because- hello- I DO have an eye socket- but with time it definitely did fill in a little more which is great, and it still looks like a normal eye socket, just not one so severely depressed!

So I have a question if anyone actually read this far: I will not be using the other half of my syringe of Juvederm on my tear troughs, and I really can't think of an area I need it or think it would do any help with. I was toying with the idea of filling my top lip a teeny bit, but do NOT want to end up with Lana Del Rey lip. But I don't want to waste what I already paid for! Any suggestions?

10 Comments

I have a great idea, give it to me.... lol.. I am so happy to hear a positive story on Juvederm. I love it and I know that there have been stories that people have gone to the wrong provider and had bad results. If you think you do not need it, do not use it. Just ask the doctor if there is another area on your face that he feels may benefit from it. Best of luck.....
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I don't know what your lips look like but I just had a little in my upper lip which is smaller that my bottom and it looks great..as you said it is the injector, not the filler when things go wrong in most cases, I have a good doc too "-) anyway go 4 it if your lips could use it..but get em numb 1st! or u can just wait 2 months and see if u need more for your under eyes?? your call..btw...love your post!!
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Well, of course I read all the way down...hmm, what to do with that extra 1/2 a syringe?!! I wouldn't think that 1/2 a syringe would be enough to make your lips look overly done...but one never knows. If you aren't sure you want to try it in your lips, and you don't want it in your cheeks or nasolabial folds, I'd say just toss it. I know it is really difficult to think about tossing that much money, but its better to just treat the area that is bothering you and be happy with your results than to use product somewhere you didn't really want it and not like the way it turns out.

Ok, I'm going to be very anxious to hear what you decide to do!! Fill us in!!

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Going for Part 2!

Hello again, lovelies! It's been a little less than a year since my Juvederm procedure for my undereye hollows, and it's definitely time for a touch up. Dr. Shafer told me during my appointment on December 20 of last year that the product technically stays in your body for 12 months, but the effects begin to go away after about 6 months. I'm definitely noticing that the ol' hollows are coming back, but there's still some improvement from the bit of product left in there, so it's nice to know that the effects can certainly remain long after 6 months. The only thing now is that after having to dip into my savings to take care of a pet's health emergency, I'm not at the ideal financial situation to gift myself another $1000 treatment. I am considering looking at other injectors in NYC, which I know won't be much more of a bargain than that if they're any good, but I'm definitely going to peruse the Juvederm section of RealSelf and see who among my NYC neighbors might have a good board certified plastic surgeon that can offer this procedure for less than $1000 but comes with shining reviews like my first doctor. If not, I guess I will have to cut down on other spending and work even harder, the way I feel when my eyes look alert and youthful and happy are worth it by far.

2 Comments

good 4 you..when we look good..we feel good.loved your post and that you are sooooo happy with your results!! "-)
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Amazing story!
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Booked my annual appointment- Trying a new doctor.

Hey beauties-- I've decided to get another round of tear trough fillers, but after lots of consideration and research I've decided to try a new doctor. My feelings about Dr. Shafer haven't changed at all, he was excellent and as you can see I was positively psyched with my results, but out of curiosity and the sake of comparison shopping I decided to try a new doctor, and a new product for my tear troughs: Restalyne (I had Juvederm before). After scouring the reviews for tear trough fillers around the country I became increasingly interested in Restalyne- it seemed like, given that you were being injected by a masterful doctor with tons of experience with the procedure, this product was more appropriate for a young person's under eye hollows because apparently it is less likely to migrate or move, which my Juvederm seemed to do under my right eye after a couple months. Dr. Shafer was very sure of Juvederm in that area and it didn't seem like he would even give Restalyne a second thought during our consultation, and that's cool because I know each doctor has their own preferences etc, but I am curious to find out for myself which HA filler is best for *me*.
I am going to a female doctor this time, a board certified dermatologist I found on this site, Dr. Michele Green. Her prices were just a little bit lower, which I know isn't the greatest way to go about purchasing filler treatments but it was a factor of importance to me, and I didn't feel like it was going to compromise my results. Her answers about fillers were detailed and personable, her reviews were wonderful and her experience is extensive. Plus, for me there is just something about having a female doctor that is a tiny bit more comforting than a male-- there is a natural personal understanding and resonance with what women want in terms of their physical appearance.
I scheduled my appointment over the phone with a charming secretary and was told to come in an hour early to make sure I am sufficiently numbed, as per Dr. Green's insistence. I found that to be extremely caring- not that I necessarily need it since I don't mind pain during medical procedures nor is it some huge scary syringe, but I remember last year Dr. Shafer had me ice my eyes for about two minutes after spending about 5 minutes consulting about what I wanted done. I felt like that was adequate. Hell, an entire hour early to be suffificently iced makes my colorful mind jump to cartoonish scenarios of me being strapped to a twisted chair bolted to a black and white checkered linoleum floor, eyes numb and blue from an hour of ice sitting on my face, when suddenly through a tall and slanted doorway a silhouette shows up as lightning bolts strike-- Dr. Greene, with black latex scrubs on and a crazed look in her eye. She holds a shiny pink syringe marked "MAKE ME PRETTY" and wields it over her shoulder like a shotgun. "You're not gonna feel a thing, dear" she snarls, "...Ever. Again."
I'm sorry, I'm really in the Halloween spirit and I'm officially trying to kill time waiting for my laundry to be done. In all seriousness though, I know she's just being cautious and well prepared- I have a lot of confidence in her and hope that she can both fill me up and still make me look like all I've had was a really good rest. I will let you know how it went as soon as I can, pictures and all!

5 Comments

Any more recent pictures?
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Hi I found your story very informative and reassuring thanks. I have the same problems as you with my eyes and it was suggested that I try juvederm under my eyes but to have it injected under the muscle to avoid getting any lumps was that what your Dr did or did he inject directly under your skin? And do you know how much juvederm he used per half a syringe? When did you start noticing the effects of the juvederm wear off and how did you get on with the restylane injections?
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Hi loved your story it was so helpful and interesting. I have the same problem as yours....deep set eyes, so some shadowing under the eyes but also that bluey/grey dark circle in normal lighting. Voluma a type of juvederm filler was suggested to me as a solution but he suggested injecting it under the muscle to avoid the possibility of lumps as like you said the skin is very thin and unforgiving under the eyes. I just wondered is that what your Dr did or did he inject it under the skins surface? And what measurement of filler was half a syringe just out of interest. Many thanks.
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New York Plastic Surgeon

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