Ever dread waking up in the morning having to look in the mirror and see those dark undereye circles and puffy eyebags staring right back at you? Many of us have to deal with those gloomy rings which more often than not, make us look tired, older or even unhealthy. Visibly tired eyes have long been a universal beauty woe affecting a worldwide population – but how do these pesky purple-like shades even appear in the first place? Read on to find out more.
What Causes Dark Circles?
There are many reasons and different factors that cause these shadows to be visible under the eye, ranging from family genetics, the existence of allergies or even one’s lifestyle choices. Generally, dark undereye circles form when the blood pigments are not effectively cleared from either poor circulation or any disruptions to the lymphatic tissue.
To determine the causes of this cosmetic issue, observe the shades of these circles since they actually provide subtle clues — bluish purple or reddish hues under the eyes are vascular in origin and indicates unhealthy habits or lifestyle (smoking, alcohol or a lack of sleep), while brown circles point to pigmentation issues and are mainly thought to be hereditary. Here are some of the possible causes of dark undereye circles:
Numerous studies have identified pigmentation to be the likeliest of culprits for the desolate rings under the eyes. Pigmentation is often thought to be hereditary. While dark circles can present itself on individuals of any skin type or colour, it has been found to be more prevalent among Asians. This is partly due to a lower level of melatonin (the pigment that gives skin its colour) in light-skinned individuals as compared to their darker-skinned counterparts.
2. Sun Exposure
Beach bums should take note: overexposure to the sun exacerbates those panda eyes. With the skin under our eyes being only 0.5mm thin, the amount of damage from our overexposure to the sun can be harsh. Apart from the dark circles, sun damage can also result in skin discolouration and cause age spots, brown spots, liver spots and freckles to appear.
3. Dilated Vessels
Another possible trigger for dark circles is dilated veins — when veins under the eyes start to dilate, they become bigger and darker. This may transpire due to exhaustion, seasonal allergies and dietary factors. To make matters worse, airborne allergens can worsen the appearance of your panda eyes as it prompts blood to amalgamate in the vessels underneath the skin.
Your lifestyle plays an important part as well. When you are deprived of a good night’s sleep, the area around your eye experiences a dip in hydration, causing the underlying blood vessels to appear more noticeable. Additionally, a diet lacking in iron can also give rise to the bursting of delicate capillaries under the eyes, which will ultimately lead to dark circles.
When one ages, the first prominent signs of ageing can be observed in the skin surrounding our eyes. Wrinkles, eyebags and dark eye circles; you get the hint. This is as such because of how the skin around our organs of sight is extremely delicate and naturally thin. As one grows older, their skin starts thinning, while also suffering from a loss of fat and collagen that is required to retain your skin’s elasticity. When that happens, the dark blood vessels would start showing themselves, causing that area to darken into the unattractive age-related transformation that we are familiar with.
Difference Between Dark Circles and Bags
It is entirely common to hear the terms “bags” or “puffy eyes” being thrown around in conversations that hover around dark circles. But you have to know that they are two very distinct aesthetic concerns.
To be a little more precise, eye bags are known as structural puffiness that stems from the swelling of the lower eyelids that contribute to this “puffy” appearance. This swelling comes as a result of the build-up of water or lymph fluid as a result of poor drainage or the disarticulating of fat that moves it away from its original socket. Eye bags are seen as a sign of ageing, but they can appear as early as your late 20s or 30s from other reasons like the genes of your family. While you might point fingers at your family for the development of eye bags, there are other external factors that are responsible as well; sleep deprivation (promotes sluggish blood circulation), excessive consumption of alcohol or salt (encourages water retention) and ageing skin (fat distribution is affected and allows fluid to trickle into the tissues).
Dark circles, on the other hand, are largely contributed by excess brown pigment and not caused by the swelling, leaking or weakening of capillaries that normally result in an abnormal protrusion. However, the dark rings and eye bags typically appear together, which results in the frequent interchanging between the two terms.
6 Treatments for Dark Circles
While most of these issues that we have touched upon can be promptly resolved with eye brightening products that are widely available in cosmetic outlets, some might encounter a pair of stubborn rings that refuse to go away. Depending on the condition, cause of your depressing rings, your dermatologist or specialist may propose alternatives following their diagnosis. Here are six common recommendations to deal with this niggling issue.
1. Skin Lightening Cream
These creams are far and many and they all contain active ingredients, such as hydroquinone, glycolic acid, kojic acid and azelaic acid, which may aid in alleviating under eye hyperpigmentation. The active ingredients in these creams usually come in lower formula percentages to prevent extensive damage onto the thin skin and can be purchased over the counter at local pharmacies.
Blepharoplasty is a medical procedure that targets droopy eyelids. This is done by surgically removing fat, muscle or skin that contributes to the sag around the eye area. A lower lid blepharoplasty can reduce the shadow cast by your eyelid, which in turn, alleviate the appearance of your dark circles. This medical procedure is not as straightforward as you would imagine; because of all the risks involved, it has to be carried out by a qualified dermatologic, oculoplastic or plastic surgeon.
3. Chemical Peel
A popular resurfacing treatment, the chemical peel is a procedure that clears the skin of damaged cells to expose the much healthier layer underneath. For the elimination of dark undereye circles, your dermatologist may propose a light chemical peel that is gentle enough for your thin skin. During a chemical peel session, solutions, such as hydroquinone, retinoic acid or glycolic acid, will be directly applied onto the affected area, allowing the skin to exfoliate and gradually peel off. A Jessner peel — consisting of resorcinol, lactic acid and salicylic acid — may also be suggested. When these acids come into contact with the surface of the skin, they will peel the layer and pave the way for the growth of newer and younger-looking skin.
Fillers can greatly help with the loss of volume underneath the eyes and the subsequent panda eyes. The common dermal fillers on the market are typically hyaluronic acid-based and will be injected directly to the tissue located just beneath the eye. In considering the risks involved, the administrator of your dermal filler has to be a qualified plastic surgeon, ophthalmologist, dermatologist or a specially trained healthcare provider. A filler procedure usually takes up less than an hour with minimal downtime, allowing you to return to work or your daily activities almost immediately.
5. Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is a medical treatment that may be adopted in cosmetic procedures and utilises focused light tuned to precise wavelengths to emit heat onto the targeted areas. In doing so, it effectively destroys any damaged cells and will help lighten the dark pigment underneath the eyes with high levels of precision. Laser therapy may also encourage the formation of new collagen and that will help keep the dark eye circles away.
6. Ultrasound Therapy
Because of how your panda eyes are the result of an excess of pigmentation at the skin beneath your eyes, this therapy utilises ultrasound to specifically target the pigmentation at those spots without affecting the circumferential tissues. When the targeted pigment picks up the energy from the ultrasound, it gets heated up and subsequently broken down into smaller particles that would dissipate. At some aesthetic centres like Geo Aesthetics, the specialists would put on a special lightening mask over the target area to rejuvenate and renew the skin.
5 Simple Tips to Banish Those Dark Circles
Whether it is the result of sleepless nights, long-haul flights or simply a stressful week, we certainly do not want to be seen with those panda eyes. So, what does it take to banish or prevent these rings from appearing?
1. Beauty Sleep
As cliché as it may sound, when your beauty routine is concerned, sleep is well regarded as the fountain of youth simply because your body takes this opportunity to retune and repair itself each night, leading to your bright appearance in the morning. Fatigue has been found to be a common reason behind your dark circles since a lack of sleep exaggerates your appearance. It is imperative that you get your sufficient hours of sleep every night not only for the sake of procuring brighter-looking eyes but also for your overall (physical and mental) health. Take the necessary steps and measures to ensure you get a better night’s sleep. Switch off your mobile phones and tablets to ensure there are no distractions or disruptions during your sleep. Alternatively, you can set your devices to night mode and minimise blue light, which prevents any disruption to our natural sleep cycle.
2. Hydrate Well
The skin surrounding our eyes is relatively thinner than the other parts of our body. As a result, it tends to shrivel up and making any shadows around the eyes obvious when we are dehydrated. To make matters worse, any pesky circles that you may already have will be even more exaggerated due to a lack of fluids. Additionally, dehydrated skin also leads to water retention, which brings forth swelling and ultimately leads to dark rings and eye bags. In some cases, propping your head up with an extra pillow at night helps too – the slight increase in height can help relieve swelling on those bags.
3. UV Protection
Committing to daily sunscreen use may be a hassle, but it has proven to be essential in reducing the appearance of shadows underneath the eyes. By taking cover under the umbrella of sun protection, you can keep those dreary rings at bay. Apply sunblock specifically for the face and it is encouraged to even put on an oversized floppy hat or your dazzling sunglasses before heading outdoors. Practice reapplying sunscreen regularly throughout the day to ensure your skin stays protected all the time when you are outdoors. You can also consider the application of a concealer that contains broad-spectrum sun protection factor (SPF) should you want protection and coverage to kick in simultaneously.
4. Skincare Regime
If the gloomy rings around your eyes seem to be lingering for quite some time, it may be a subtle call for you to reconsider your skincare routine. For instance, you may want to switch to a milder, gentler and more hydrating one instead. More often than not, cleansers containing harsher ingredients tend to cause irritation to the delicate skin in the lower eye area. In addition, should you feel that your allergies are aggravating your undereye circles, visit your doctor or dermatologist so that he or she will be able to prescribe you with mild topical steroids or antihistamines, following patch allergy testing.
5. Address Your Diet
While quick remedies for dark eye circles through your diet might not exist, keeping to a nutritious diet filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats have been found to be beneficial for your skin – the consumption of anti-inflammatory food items would help your eye area in particular. If you can, try to make little lifestyle changes by the week like the reduction of red wine and your caffeine runs would definitely help in improving the appearance of dark eye circles.
Putting Tired to Rest
Although having shadows under your eyes is not known to be a major health concern, you might be persistent on them leaving for purely cosmetic reasons. The appearance of dark eye circles on your visage tends to hint at tiredness and rising stress levels, and create a general aura of exhaustion. In the event that this issue does get worse over time or if you discover any discolouration or swelling at that area, it is a good time to knock on the doors of a trusted skincare professional. Your eyes say plenty about you and it is definitely worth putting the extra effort in to take care of those peepers.
If you are hoping to leave your past life as a panda behind, there are many aesthetic centres like Geo Aesthetics that have knowledgeable specialists for you to understand the different treatment options available for your unique skin problem.