QUESTION: I have tried almost every eye cream in the market, but none seems to work on lightening my dark eye circles. What can I do?
Larry: Alright, let’s tackle this by looking at the different causes of dark eye circles.
Excessive rubbing of eye area
Compared to the rest of your face, the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most delicate. Rubbing may cause blood vessels in the eyelids to break and leak blood. The blood pools under the skin to create dark circles. Once dark circles appear, it can be difficult to get rid of them with regular eye creams.
You may need to consult an aesthetic doctor on the possibility of medical procedures such as laser treatments, chemical peels and other options. Using concealer that matches your skin colour may be the next best bet. Try wearing an eye mask when you sleep if you are prone to rubbing your eyes.
Family history plays a part in developing dark circles under your eyes. It can be an inherited trait seen early on in childhood, and may worsen as you age, or it may — thankfully — slowly disappear.
Like dark circles that develop from eye rubbing, inherited dark eye circles may be best treated through medical procedures such as laser therapy, chemical peels and skin lightening products. Consult an aesthetic doctor for advice and next steps.
Sinus and Allergies
Allergic reactions and sinuses can trigger dark circles. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases histamines as a response to harmful bacteria. Other than causing uncomfortable symptoms — including itchiness, redness, and puffiness in the eyes — histamines also cause your blood vessels to dilate and become more visible beneath your skin.
Allergies can also increase your urge to rub and scratch itchy skin around your eyes. These actions can worsen your symptoms, causing inflammation, swelling, and broken blood vessels. This can result in dark shadows beneath your eyes. (see above)
If you are prone to allergies, watch what you consume in the morning and evening; antihistamine pills might work too. I had dark, puffy under eye circles for years, until, out of desperation, I cut out instant coffee. After 2 weeks, all my morning allergies disappeared and now my under eye circles aren’t as dark nor puffy anymore. It’s important to trace the source of your allergy and make changes to your lifestyle to see if that improves the condition.
As we age, our skin loses both elasticity and fat. This results in the thinning of skin and the hollowing of the area under the eyes, which in turn increases the visibility of dark circles.
You can slow down this age-related hollowing process with retinol-based products for the area under the eyes, but if you are a sun worshipper, it won’t help because sun exposure can also darken the area around the eyes.
To treat most eye area discolourations, I would suggest using eye care products with eye brightening treatment properties. During the day, perhaps something with skin strengthening capabilities, and that is rich in antioxidants, like Clinique for Men™ Anti-Age Eye Cream . For night, a product with Vitamin B3, like SKII RNA Power Eye cream would be good. If you do not want separate day and night products, use CLINIQUE Smart Eye Serum.
These three products should be able to correct your under eye discolouration by lightening the shadows, but only if the condition is not genetic, and if you do not do something counterproductive like rubbing your eyes constantly. Other aesthetic medical procedures you can consider include laser treatments, fillers, and skin lightening creams. However, always consult a qualified doctor, who’s trained in aesthetics, before embarking on these procedures.