Dark circles – one of the most common complaints that a patient presents within an aesthetic practice; and there is genuine reason to be concerned, because no-one wants to end up looking like a giant panda! Dark circles under the eyes tend to give you an older, rather haggard or tired appearance. There are many factors that lead to the dark circles, some of which are shown below.
Genetics play an important role in the appearance of dark circles. Hereditary anatomical factors are often a direct cause of under eye circles. These circles particularly affect people who have thin under-eye skins because the flow of blood in the veins beneath the surface tends to show through the skin, giving it a bluish-black tint.
Over time, skin loses collagen and thins, so veins show through more prominently. Sunbathing speeds up this process by breaking down collagen and mottling skin colour.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is the most common cause and also the easiest to prevent (although oversleeping can also cause dark eye circles). According to research, the skin below the eyes may lose some moisture and elasticity when one is exhausted, which will change the way light is reflected off the skin.
In some instances, pregnancy and birth control pills may also cause dark circles to develop. This is because of hormonal changes and increased pigmentation under the eyes, respectively.
They trigger the release of histamines in the body, which in turn inflame blood vessels and cause swelling.
Additional causes for dark circles under your eyes include:
•Iron deficiency can prevent the blood from carrying sufficient oxygen to eye tissues.
•Lifestyle. Excessive smoking can contribute to under-eye circles. Also, people who drink too much coffee may have difficulty getting enough sleep.
•Skin pigmentation abnormalities.
•Excessive exposure to the sun. Sun exposure encourages your body to produce more melanin.
How to Treat Them
Treatment depends upon the cause which is often difficult to pin down. However, if your circles are the result of vascular issues, double up on pillows at night to stop blood from building up under your eyes. In the morning, apply a cold compress for about five minutes to constrict the blood vessels. Use an eye cream with caffeine, which helps constrict vessels. Other smart alternatives include Arnica-based creams, which are considered to have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the appearance of darkness. Eye creams with green tea or grape seed oil help strengthen capillary walls. You can tweak your diet, too. Flavonol-rich dark chocolate (an ounce a day) and foods full of omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, walnuts) may improve blood flow to the skin.
For allergy-induced circles, consider taking an over-the-counter antihistamine before allergies begin to abate shadows.
And, finally, if thin skin is the issue, use a collagen-building cream. One of my top go-to ingredients is retinol as it helps increase collagen production. Vitamin C also encourages production and can help brighten skin tone. And wear sunscreen daily, or you’ll cancel out the benefits from any of these treatments.
Surgical or Medical Correction of Dark Circles Under Eyes
Laser surgery: Laser surgery for skin resurfacing has been with us since the Ultra pulse CO2 laser was invented in the 1990s. Although this device had been designed to treat sun damage and to remove skin growths before they became cancerous, it was soon discovered to be useful for removing dark circles under eyes as well.
Laser treatment destroys some of the melanin that can darken skin and can also be used to tighten loose skin, or to remove excess skin that causes the appearance of ‘baggy eyes’. Studies have also shown that laser treatment can encourage the formation of new collagen in the skin.
Injections: This is another way to treat dark circles under the eyes. ‘Filler injections’ may conceal the melanin and blood vessels that discolor the skin around your eyes.