What Really Causes Hooded Eyes (Besides Genetics)?

The eyes are the window to the soul, so naturally, some people get a little bit irked when hooded eyes threaten to change or obstruct the view. Even if you're not familiar with the term, the phenomenon of hooded eyes is extremely common, and likely one that you've encountered more than a few times. In essence, a person has hooded eyes when the skin under the eyebrow touches or almost touches the lash line, per Medical News Today.


Hooded eyes are the genetic norm for people of Far Eastern descent, but can show up in plenty of other ethnic groups, says the Centre for Surgery. People with hooded eyes typically have little to no eyelid visible, instead, there is a crease marking the skin folds. While hooded eyes can certainly be beautiful, people who aren't born that way are often surprised when it starts to happen, especially if they don't fully understand why. Several factors, including natural aging, can result in the development of hooded eyes that have nothing to do with a genetic predisposition.

The main causes of hooded eyes

The older we get, the more elasticity our skin loses. This is called elastosis and simply means that the skin doesn't stretch and recover as well as it did when it was younger. When elastosis occurs, the common skin response is to look wrinkly, leathery, or start to sag, per Healthline. The latter is the reason that eyelids become hooded, as the skin begins to sag lower and lower until it touches the lashes.


Age-related sagging isn't the only cause, however. Hooded eyes can show up when a person undergoes certain types of medical treatments, like radiation or chemotherapy, according to a 2021 article published in StatPearls. This is because such treatments accelerate the aging process, thus causing the skin and muscle to sag prematurely. Sometimes, a trauma inflicted on the side of the head can result in hooded eyes, although that's less likely to occur than simple aging.

There are options to reverse hooded eyes

Some women frustrated with the later-in-life appearance of hooded eyes turn to surgical options, like a brow lift, to set things back to their somewhat original position. However, science has come a long way, and now there are other options for people wary of going under the knife. One popular option is Botox injections, which can lift the eyebrow, however, the 2021 StatPearls article points out that injections that aren't done correctly can actually do more harm than good, even making the brows droop further.


For people looking for a little less commitment, eye drops designed to raise eyelids might be a better option (via the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery). Or, there are some dermatological services like dermal fillers, which are routinely used to plump up the skin and minimize wrinkles. Laser therapy or radiofrequency treatments are other possibilities, according to Medical News Today. Whatever you do, consult a licensed dermatologist or plastic surgeon before proceeding with any hooded eye fix, and always check references and ask for before and after photos. The face is not the place to cut corners, metaphorically speaking.