You’re here because your main concern is dark circles.
You want to make your eyes look fresh as daisies.
And possibly perk up the lack of glow-y-ness around your peepers.
Before you can get those dark circles to pack their bags, you must first consider the source.
How to Remove dark circles
Why Do We Get Eye Circles?
Remember how your undereye skin is fragile in this area? Veins under the eyes are much smaller and finer than anywhere else on the face – you can liken them forming a web of lace under the thin skin.
Whilst lace under your eyes does sound quite cool; it’s the combination of lots of these little veins and thin skin, giving the area under your eyes that blueish tint – you can actually see the tiny little blood vessels through it.
Your skin naturally thins with age; this is partly due to a decrease in natural collagen and elastin production – and a big reason why the area under your eyes might look much darker over time.
There are two significant changes to the skin’s structure that are responsible for dark circles:
Firstly, the infraorbital fat pad, which sits under the eye, becomes thinner as we age. The fat pad has an underlying yellow colour, but the area appears to become darker as it diminishes. This dark shading known as dark circles is in fact, the muscle under the eye, it becomes more visible as the infraorbital fat pad decreases.
Secondly, if the microscopic blood vessel structures are damaged, your body attempts to repair the damage by proliferating many tiny new veins, this further darkens the area.
Your dark circles may also be genetic, and the best habits can’t change your genes. If you have inherited fair or thin skin which shows under-eye circles more easily than others, genetic or situational changes will affect how you treat them, so it’s an important place to start.
As we already know, exposure to UV breaks down collagen, so your best weapon against under-eye circles is a good skincare regime with specific ingredients, wearing sunscreen and sunglasses whilst out in the sun = less squinting = fewer crows feet.
What causes dark circles?
Often referred to in the industry as ‘periorbital dark circles’, there are many reasons why you may be suffering from them – understanding why will help you treat them more effectively.
Blocked sinuses and nasal congestion can contribute to increased blood flow in this area. The vessels become congested also, which is seen visibly as darkening.
Deep-set eyes can create shadows in the recesses, which makes the area underneath the eyes appear darker.
Genetics can play a role in discolouration. If you are fair and have thin, pale skin, then superficial blood vessels will appear closer to the surface, resulting in a reddish, purple hue showing through.
Tiredness, sleep deprivation, and stress can cause dark circles under eyes due to poor circulation.
A poor diet – especially one high in sugar and salt, can cause poor elimination of wastes, leading to a buildup of toxins in the kidneys, making the eye area look puffy and dark.
Alcohol and caffeine lead to mild dehydration in the body, making the dark circles under eyes more obvious.
Year-round allergies like those to dust or mould, or seasonal allergies trigger histamines release, which causes an inflammatory response. Our blood vessels become inflamed and swell – including those under your eyes.
Ageing can cause volume loss, resulting in hollowed-out shadows – as we age, we begin to lose volume in our cheeks; this pulls the lower eye down and creates shadowy hollows. The support structure below the eye also weakens, making the whole area appear darker. Follow the link for an interesting read of how the anatomy of the face changes as we age.
Leakage of blood cells gets stuck in the tissues around the eyes. The haemoglobin from these red blood cells can cause dark circles under eyes. – when our blood pools in the capillaries, it’s simply more obvious through lighter skin. Unfortunately, as more and more blood accumulates there, your delicate capillaries begin to stretch and strain under the weight, leading to more leaking and blood pooling – and ultimately even darker under-eye circles.
Reading the shadows
- typically, a blue shadow is a result of enlarged blood vessels.
- brown shadows are a sign of an overproduction of melanin.
- red shadows are from enlarged blood vessels, which can mean the body is holding onto an accumulation of fluid.
The colour of the shadows can also depend on your skin’s tone; for instance, if you have paler or cooler-toned skin, your shadows appear a blue-purple hue. If you are warm-toned, with darker skin, your veins can look green or brown-tinged.
A trick to tell whether or not dark circles are caused by poor blood circulation or hyper-pigmentation is to pull up the skin on your lower lid and press on the circle underneath your eye; this action of pushing on the tissue causes capillaries to dilate and the blood to move away from the area, making it appear lighter, if the skin remains dark in colour, then you know the problem is from hyper-pigmentation.
If you want to get rid of these dark circles naturally, you may want to consider these ingredients, especially if your dark circles are due to pigmentation issues.
Treating your dark circles
Go a shade lighter with your concealer.
If you want to cover dark circles, make sure you conceal like a pro. Simply piling pale concealer on top of purple under-eye rings will create a weird, grey tone.
To find the right colour selection, you need to use the opposite colours on the colour wheel:
- For a bluish hue, use an orange-toned concealer.
- For a purplish hue, use a yellow-toned concealer.
- For a reddish hue, use a green-toned concealer.
Looking for a more permanent solution than tinted goop? Then that will require a trip to your dermatologist.
Fillers can smooth out shadows caused by sunken contours.
An ultra-fine filler can be injected into the ‘tear trough’ below the eyes, making circles appear brighter.
Hyaluronic acid is placed underneath the skin with a blunt tube called a cannula – the hyaluronic acid replaces the fat and collagen that we naturally lose in this area over time. Blood vessels blanketed by filler are further from the skin’s surface, thus making the undereye area appear less dark and hollow.
This filler generally lasts from one to three years, whilst risks are minimal, it is important to note that this technique does require skill; if the filler is injected too close to the skin’s surface, it can look irregular and unsightly. Fillers can also help if fat loss is behind the cause of your bags under the eyes.
Lasers can lighten dark circles.
If the dark circles are related to visible blood vessels that manifest as a red-purplish hue, they can be treated with a vascular laser. If you try the laser treatments, try them before using fillers, because the laser may break them down.
Fat injections to get rid of dark circles
Fat can be grafted from other body areas and injected in the tear troughs to treat dark circles. This is a procedure typically recommended for the correction of dark circles, often caused by thinning skin underneath the eye, or fat and tissue loss in the upper cheeks or under-eye area.
Keen to learn more about the different types of surgery for dark circles under eyes? Then this article is a great place to start, that lists the different procedures available.
As you can see, dark circles are not an easy problem with an easy solution – especially when you want to correct contouring defects below the eye. genetics, the density of your skin in this area all have their part to play.,
If darkness is due to a shadow from slightly protruding fat, some procedures can remove or reposition the fat to improve the contour and reduce the shadow. If the darkness is from underlying vasculature showing through, treatment with a vascular laser may be useful.
Fortunately, several treatments are now discussed above that can help to treat dark circles, and there are also some impressive ingredients, which you can read all about here.