What Are Hooded Eyes—And How Do You “Fix” Them? A Derm Breaks It Down

All your beauty questions—answered. Our resident dermatologist, Dr. Geddes Bruce breaks down the biggest topics in beauty, from hair loss to Botox and everything in between. Send us a DM @camillestyles with your own burning q’s and we may address it in a future column. 

The minute I turned 30, I started to take my skincare to the next level. In all honesty, my 20s were the wild west of caked-on makeup and inconsistent skincare routines—but 30 changed it all. Even though I didn’t feel old,  it was a magic number that got my butt in gear. Aging gracefully became a priority, and it started with simple daily SPF on my face, neck, and hands. It’s now morphed into regular facials, red light masks and ice rolling, as well as having conversations with friends about whether or not I should take the leap into Botox or not. And one thing I’ve recently learned that may come with age is hooded eyes. 

Sanetra Nere Logno eyes closed

What a Derm Wants You to Know About Hooded Eyes

Hooded eyes, or when the skin from your brow bone droops over the top part of your eye, can be an aesthetic concern for many, not to mention it can also impair vision and cause general discomfort. We’re all about nurturing a healthy relationship with aging here, however it’s normal if hooded eyes may be affecting your overall confidence.  Knowing how to treat them, if you choose to, can also be overwhelming to say the least. 

In our next installment of Ask A Derm, we check in with Dr. Geddes-Bruce to get her insight on everything we need to know about hooded eyes: what they are, who they might impact, and treatment options—both invasive and noninvasive. 

Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce

Dr. Geddes is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Westlake Dermatology, specializing in the practice of both cosmetic and medical dermatology. She views cosmetic dermatology as synergistic to a happy, healthy lifestyle and regularly counsels her patients in a balanced, natural approach to both cosmetic and medical dermatology. 

Skincare products.

What are hooded eyes? 

Hooded eyes refers to a particular eye shape where the skin between the upper eyelid crease and lash line is not very visible. The skin from the brow bone drapes close to the lash line creating varying degrees of hooding. One famous example is Taylor Swift. 

What causes someone to have hooded eyes?

It’s a normal, anatomical variant seen in men and women and certain ethnicities. Hooded eyes can also be a function of aging. As we age, our skin loses elasticity, or the ability to recoil after being stretched. Eyelid skin is very delicate and particularly vulnerable to this developing over time. The lower eyelid develops more wrinkles or bags, and the upper eyelid becomes more droopy, which leads to hooding. It also is influenced by our brow position, which also lowers over time. 

Are there ways to treat hooded eyes? 

There are a number of different treatments to decrease hooding to varying degrees, ranging from invasive to noninvasive options. Generally, the more invasive the procedure, like surgery, the more dramatic the results. 

Iskra Lawrence headshot.

What non-surgical hooded eyelid treatments do you recommend?

  • Thread lifts. Thread lifts are a very temporary way to lift sagging skin. It works to varying degrees to help with a dropped brow. For this reason, you might see some improvement in eyelid hooding, but the results will depend on how much the brow position was contributing in the first place. One risk is a puckering or dimpling of the skin where the thread is inserted. 
  • Noninvasive skin tightening treatments. Different energy devices like lasers have been used to treat hooded eyes. Some examples are Ultherapy to lift the brows, or Thermage or a CO2 laser to tighten the lax skin. These modalities work best in those whose hooding is minor and caused more by aging than genetics. The advantages are that they are minimally invasive and have minor to no downtime. The disadvantage is that their degree of success can be variable. 
  • Neuromodulators. Botox and Dysport can be used to lift the brows and give a little improvement to hooded eyes. It needs to be placed correctly in the forehead and around the brows to do so. If done incorrectly, it can have the opposite effect and actually worsen hooding. The benefit of this treatment is that it is quick, relatively painless, and temporary. If you don’t like it, it will wear off in a few months. One of the biggest cons is that it is temporary; if you love it you have to keep doing it.  
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How do you know if an invasive procedure is necessary?

Sometimes the degree of hooding is what needs to be changed to give a more awake appearance and reset the clock back to one’s original look. You don’t need to get rid of the hooding completely. This can be done surgically, but it’s important to find an experienced plastic surgeon who does natural work and understands the desire to preserve your classic eye shape. For everyone not interested in surgery, you can always consult your board-certified dermatologist to see what options are available to you. Hooded eyes can be changed with a surgical blepharoplasty and/or brow lift, depending on the cause of the hooding. 

What surgical treatments for hooded eyes do you recommend?

  • Blepharoplasty. A blepharoplasty is a removal of the skin and sometimes fat of the upper eyelid. It provides a dramatic change to the eye shape, and not necessarily always a good one, because it can completely change your look. In some cases, it can have the opposite effect of aging you by making the area appear more sunken and hollow. 
  • Brow lift. Hooded eyes can also be caused by a dropped brow. A forehead lift, also known as a brow lift, is a surgical procedure that repositions the soft tissues of the upper face and restores the eyebrows back to their original location. It is often done through incisions in the scalp, near the frontal hairline. The biggest risks are a loss of skin sensation and asymmetrical brows.
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Are there any treatments to avoid?

A little filler near the temples and tail of the eyebrow can change the way light hits and reflects off the face, giving the illusion of lift, but won’t do much to alter hooded eyes in any meaningful way. It might be a nice way to address common areas of volume loss with aging, and this restoration helps overall facial balance, but it isn’t a go-to treatment for hooded eyes.