After I tried PlexR on some skin tags, one of the most asked questions I’ve had is would I recommend PlexR for eyelids? I’m finally able to answer this, and to show you the recovery process of a PlexR eyelid treatment. I went back to Vie Aesthetics on Harley Street, a really welcoming and friendly small clinic I’d been to before for their amazing clinical facial.
PlexR is a plasma pen that uses intense heat to change solid to gas, basically evaporating your skin. Your skin then goes in to a recovery process where your skin fibres are shortened and contracted, making the area you have PlexR tighter and smoother. It’s ideal as an alternative to surgical blepharoplasty which involves cutting excess skin from the eyelids, and comes with higher risks.
At Vie you book your consultation and PlexR appointment in one, saving lots of time. I met with Dr Liakas, Vie’s medical director, he was a medical doctor for a long time before going in to cosmetic surgery 17 years ago. He’s also a senior lecturer at Queen Mary Medical School, and a noted pioneer in the fields of soft surgery and stem cell therapy.
At a very relaxed and friendly consultation I discussed my eye concerns with Dr Liakas. I’m in my early forties and my eyes are starting to look a bit ‘tired’. The main reason is the sagging of not the eyelids, but the skin above them. My eyelids used to be perfect arches, they were becoming squarer as the skin started resting on them, and it also made my eyelids appear smaller. I’ll admit, it’s not really a big deal, it’s something I noticed rather than anyone else, but every day when putting on my makeup I’d hate how skin just sat on top of eyeshadow, and I had less and less of a defined crease to put makeup in. Dr Liakas tells me I’m the ideal candidate for PlexR eyelid treatment, it works well on middle-aged people having those first signs of baggy saggy eyelids (my words), and it’s a really quick treatment that can make a huge difference.
He then asks me to lie down on the bed so we can begin, and 15 minutes later I am walking out the door. It’s that quick. The treatment itself is not painful, mostly because Dr Liakas injects me with local anaesthetic, and that’s the uncomfortable part, having a needle inserted around your eye. It’s not so bad, it’s pin pricks, but in the bony area at the sides of my eyes it smarts a bit and makes them water. The Plexr is literally like a pen Dr Liakas holds, and he might as well be drawing all over my eyelids with it because I felt nothing. The smell though, is bad. Burning skin. I remember it well from my previous PlexR treatment on skin tags. Dr Liakas has to open a window. I’m left with crusts on each eyelid (top picture) and Dr Liakas advises me how to take care of them during the all-important recovery process.
Dr Liakas did not hold back in warning me how bad I would look the next day, but I was still shocked at the swelling, I could barely open my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for the swollen nose and how much swelling there would be beneath the eyes as well, gravity taking it’s toll with that anaesthetic. For a good three days it felt like I was peering through a letterbox, and I kept icing the area using facial ice globes I kept in the freezer. I had to be really careful not to get ice on the crusts though, or else they would get soggy.
Dr Liakas had warned me the crusts must fall off on their own, or I could be left with pitted scars. I lived in fear of the crusts for a good few weeks, which makes me laugh now. But at the time I religiously kept them dry, didn’t pick at them or rub them. One night I woke up scratching one of them and panicked I’d done some damage. I knew turning on my pillow in my sleep was removing some of the crust, but Dr Liakas later told me that’s fine, it’s more the forceful pulling out of the crusts that causes damage, like when people pick at scabs before they’re ready to fall off.
The recovery time is supposed to be 2-3 days for swelling to go down, and then 2 weeks for the crusts to fall off naturally. As with all recovery, it’s different for individual patients, but this (above) is me on day five. Unless you work at home and don’t see clients, or your workplace doesn’t mind you wearing dark glasses, you’re going to need to book a whole week off work for this treatment.
After a week the swelling went down and I entered the de-crusting phase. My whole eye area was quite dehydrated, and I had to be patient to wait for each little brown crispy dot to fall off.
Two weeks after my treatment I still had crust on, and some of it was half hanging off which is just gross. My six year old nephew told me while we were FaceTiming that it was disgusting and to call him back when I was better. I wore dark glasses everywhere, even inside a restaurant, embarrassing my friends. On Zoom calls it didn’t look terrible, more like I was wearing badly applied makeup, but up close my eyes were sore and scabby, I felt sorry for anyone having to look at this when they talked to me. Underneath the crust is your new skin that’s working hard to heal. I was told to make sure I wore sunscreen and sunglasses outdoors, and that Sudocrem (baby nappy rash cream) was okay to apply on the red skin for its zinc properties, but that I should leave the area uncovered as much as possible.
In week 3 something weird happened, and my eyes started to look more triangular in appearance. I had another small panic that this was how my eyes would always be now, but a few days later they were back to their almond shape. It’s best to keep calm in the recovery stage and remember your skin is going through a tightening process.
In week 4 the crusts had all finally gone, leaving me with sore, pink skin that was quite shiny in places. One of my eyelids became very thin and I also worried it would remain like this, the skin felt very delicate and fragile, but again this was short lived and just part of the tightening.
This (above) was my first time putting mascara on in week 5, and my eyelids were still a bit swollen so my eyelashes were rubbing on them and transferring makeup. You can wear a special camouflage makeup over the sore area, but I felt it was best to follow Dr Liakas’ advice and let it breathe as much as possible. I didn’t mind this phase as it looked like I had a nice dusky-pink eyeshadow in the crease.
After the crusts had fully gone I doubted if the treatment had made any difference, my eyelids did look wider, but there still seemed to be an overhang of skin. I had my 3-week consultation with Dr Liakas where he checks everything has gone well, and he took photos on his iPad, showing me the difference from my first consultation. A clear improvement was visible, and then he told me it would get even tighter as my lids were still swollen, which was a relief to hear. In the next few weeks I was surprised to see just how much more improvement there was, you really do need to relax and wait.
This is me (above and below) in week 7. I am so thrilled with the results, and knowing it will get even better is exciting. My eyes are still sore where the crusts were, and Dr Liakas told me that should go in week 8. I have a clear arch in my eyelids once more, and I cannot wait for my skin to heal so I can do some makeup looks using the crease again.
Here’s a little side by side before and after.
In summary, I have wider-looking eyelids, I have clear arches with no skin hanging over. The skin around the inner eye looks so much tighter and smoother, even below the eye. I have rewound the clock by a good fifteen years. Of course this now makes my under-eye area look even more tired, and I asked Dr Liakas if I should have PlexR underneath too. He told me botox would be better for me, and this is a sign of a very good cosmetic doctor, recommending what’s best for you and not what will make the clinic more money. You can get PlexR done under your eyes at the same time, which would obviously make recovery slightly harder, but you can see how bad your eyes look anyway. Dr Liakas told me if someone has too much loose skin for PlexR he recommends surgery, but he has used PlexR on patients in their 70s and 80s. He tells me it’s not just for skin ageing, it can also work on correcting hooded eyelids in younger patients too.
Pros – PlexR is way cheaper then surgery, but it’s not a non-surgical treatment, it’s a soft-surgical treatment, meaning there’s a lot of recovery. The treatment itself is really quick, I was in Dr Liakas’ office for half an hour including consultation and treatment. You don’t need anyone to collect you, just remember to bring sunglasses with you, which I did not, and had to walk around with crusts. It’s worth the healing process and crust-worrying because it has made a huge difference I’m so happy with. My eyes not only look better, they feel better when I’m applying healing cream, it feels more like the eye sockets I had in my 20s and 30s. Which sounds silly, but when you start ageing it can be a relief to be able to go back to before it started, even if it’s just in one tiny place.
Cons – PlexR needs significant recovery time, including two months (or slightly more) for the red skin to heal. If you’re thinking of this for a special occasion you need to seriously think ahead, at least three months. It is not likely you will be able to return to work in 2-3 days, unless your work is cool with you looking like Quasimodo in front of clients/customers. It’s not a permanent solution, obviously your skin will continue ageing. Dr Liakas told me that one of his patients had this same treatment 7 years ago and hasn’t had any signs of ageing yet, but for most people it won’t last that long. Some people will need more than one treatment, usually if they are a bit older than 40s, but Dr Liakas will discuss this in the consultation, he said he waits for one treatment to heal, then does the next one a couple of months later. My skin still feels sore and occasionally aches a bit even when I’m not touching it, but I strongly feel the pros way outweigh the cons.
PlexR at Vie Aesthetics can work on a number of skin issues, including acne scars, skin tags and skin ageing. Speak to them for advice or to book a free consultation. PlexR on two eyelids costs £690, my treatment was kindly gifted in return for this honest review.