Potential cure for unsightly eye bags

face-trial-picsResearchers from Flinders University have set their sights on lymphatic drainage as a potential cure for unsightly eye bags.

Professor Neil Piller from the University-funded Lymphoedema Research Unit is about to begin a study to explore the role of lymphatic drainage as a treatment for eye bags and puffiness, a perennial cosmetic problem that tends to worsen with age.

Genes, fluid retention, diet and sleep disturbances are all known causes of eye bags, yet there is no scientifically proven therapy to treat the condition.

Professor Piller said the Lymphoedema Research Unit, based at Flinders Medical Centre, is now conducting a study to determine whether manual lymphatic drainage can diminish the appearance of eye bags, dark circles and puffiness by removing excess fluid and colour-changing pigments.

Manual lymph drainage is a gentle, non-invasive technique that is widely used by beauticians, spa therapists and aroma therapists to enhance fluid movement in the skin, although its therapeutic role in under-eye problems has been relatively under-researched.

“Eye bags are a cosmetic issue rather than a life-threatening condition, but they can be quite problematic for people who have them because they’re often very prominent on the face,” Professor Piller said.

“So we’ll be measuring the effect of manual lymphatic drainage on the severity, colour and appearance of the under-eye area and hopefully the research will lead to a therapy to treat this condition.”

Professor Piller said a total of 80 women, aged between 25 and 60, were needed for the study, including some without eye bags or dark circles to provide a comparison.

Participants with eye bags will be allocated to one of three groups, he said, and will receive one of the following treatments: a specialised facial massage five days a week for four weeks, a self-treatment device to use at home, or a package of commercial skincare products for the month-long trial.

“At regular intervals throughout the treatment we will use non-invasive equipment and 3D images to measure the area under the eyes to detect any changes in fluid accumulation or blood flow, as well as any colour or temperature changes to the skin,” Professor Piller said.

For more information, or to take part in the study, contact Professor Piller, Jan Douglass or Marielle Esplin at the Lymphoedema Research Unit on 8204 4903 or email lymphoedema@flinders.edu.au

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2 thoughts on “Potential cure for unsightly eye bags

  1. I am 77 in October. I have metastasised prostate cancer leading to compromised lymph nodes and lymphoedema in my right leg and supra-pubic area. Lymphoedema in the leg has been very well controlled with a full length compression stocking, laser treatment and lymphatic massage. However, the supra-pubic area remains a challenge and I worry about where the lymphoedema may spread.
    I keep fit by cycling 50km, including hills, three times each week and, circumstances allowing, I will be riding 127km in the Bupa Community Challenge in the January 2013 Tour Down Under.
    Are there any trials or research in which I might participate?

  2. When will the results be posted?

    Also, how are they doing the lymphatic drainage?

    I am wondering if I could participate in the study from the USA using Manual lymphatic drainage.

    I currently have some fluid retention and have been using a supplement to reduce swelling.

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