Danielle Gray is a 37-year-old style and beauty writer in New York City who decided to get tear trough filler to treat her dark undereye circles. The following story was told to Aimee Simeon and edited for length and clarity.
I’ve had undereye circles for pretty much my entire life. I didn’t start to notice the dark hollows until I got older, but my baby photos prove that I’ve had them since birth. I’m 37 now, and while my undereye circles have never crippled my self-esteem, they have been hard to ignore given my line of work.
As a beauty and style blogger, part of my job requires me to constantly be in rooms with people who have great skin — including dermatologists. I’ve gone through bottles of the best eye creams and serums, but they only do so much. In social settings, I’d find myself throwing around the same question to pros: “What could I do to correct these hollow dark circles?” Nine times out of ten, they would recommend filler.
I didn’t truly entertain the possibility of correcting my eyes with injectables until I met dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD. Before meeting Dr. Henry, I hadn’t come across too many Black women with undereye filler. But here I was in front of a gorgeous Black woman who had it done herself, and who also happens to be a medical professional. I was ready to drop everything and get into her office immediately, and because I work in beauty, she offered to do the fillers free for the first time.
Filler taught me about the importance of patience and making informed, empowered decisions.
I thought that I would only need one vial of filler to correct my hollows, but once I was in the chair at Dr. Henry’s office, she recommended one vial of Juvederm Ultra per eye. She started by applying numbing cream under my eyes and on the tops of my cheeks. The injections felt like a quick pinch in some areas, and were more painful where my skin was more concave. I had a mild reaction to the cream, and developed a small rash and slight puffiness where it was applied, which I was told is completely normal. My face was slightly swollen for the first few days after my procedure, but my skin instantly looked lifted.
Almost three weeks after the procedure, I started to get a better feel for how my face looked free of dark circles. They were virtually gone, but I was still slightly puffy around my nose and eye area. I consulted with Dr. Henry, who told me about an enzyme that can be injected to break down some of the filler. I decided to do it, and the puffiness significantly subsided right away. I was on my way to smooth undereyes.
There was residual darkness around the injection site. It sounds scary considering that Black women are prone to discolouration, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I was able to cover any spots with makeup before they naturally faded. Once I was healed completely, I was in love. My dark hollows were gone and I was thrilled with the way I looked with and without makeup. My followers couldn’t put their finger on what was different about my appearance, but I received a lot of “you look refreshed” comments.
Filler taught me about the importance of patience and making informed, empowered decisions. “Black don’t crack” is a notion that many of us live by, but I’ve never really subscribed to. Black may crack if you’re not taking care of it. Over the years, I’ve learned that you can use a little something to preserve your skin — whether it’s sunscreen, a chemical peel, or, in my case, undereye filler. The key, in my opinion, is to make informed decisions about the choices you are making for you. Do your research and, ultimately, do what makes you happy.
If I went broke and couldn’t pay for filler, I’d learn to be content with my dark circles. But I’m coming up on my one-year filler anniversary, and I would 100% do it all over again. I feel like a better version of myself — and who wouldn’t want that?
No Filter is a week-long series of frank, honest stories about cosmetic procedures — without judgment, sugar-coating, or stigma.
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