Why are dark circles caused?
Dark circles or “Periorbital Hyperchromia” as it is medically called is due to the thin layer of skin below the eyes showing the blood vessels and the blood they contain more clearly than anywhere else on the body. Prominent dark circles are caused due to the following reasons-
- Inadequate rest and sleep causes fluid collection in the under eyes which forms shadows.
- Aging causes volume loss of fat which increases the prominence of dark circles.
- Genetics has a role to play and many times the problem of dark circles is present in a particular family.
- People with allergies may rub their eyes due to itchiness, leading to the formation of dark circles.
- Sunlight can prompt the production of melanin, darkening the area around the eyes.
- The consumption of alcohol allows the small blood vessels in the skin to dilate, or expand, so dark circles under the eyes may become more prominent.
- Smoking and Iron deficiency anemia can cause prominent dark circles.
- What are a few myths regarding dark circles?
The various Myths associated with dark circles are as follows-
- Getting a good amount of sleep will cure most cases of dark circles- This is not necessarily true. All the sleep in the world will not replace the missing tissues under the skin that have been lost due to aging or genetics. The puffy eyes caused by lack of sleep will surely improve.
- Removing excessive salt in my diet will cure dark circles- Similar to rest, reduced salt will only reduce the puffiness caused by fluid retention. It will not treat the dark circles themselves.
- Lasers are an effective way to remove dark circles under the eyes- Lasers only work superficially and Q switched laser does improve the pigmentation by reducing the melanin but does not address the volume loss.
- There are lots of home remedies to get rid of dark circles- Whilst some home remedies (like pressing cold cucumbers and green tea bags over the eyes) may temporarily lighten dark circles, no home remedy is effective long-term.
- There’s nothing you can do about dark circles- Dark circles can be addressed by a combination of treatments. No one treatment can effectively address the hollowed look. Long term results are obtained by transferring Fat and Stem cells taken from the abdomen to add volume to the area. These cells fill the depressions and also increase the blood supply to the area by increasing the blood supply. This is associated with chemical peels and or Laser treatments to address the superficial pigmentation. Regular use of a Sunscreen is a must to maintain the outcome.
- How can women ensure that dark circles can be controlled?
Prevention of dark circles is possible through the following-
- Start using a moisturizing eye cream very early in life regularly that contains vitamin C, retinoids, hyaluronic acid, an Co Q10 coenzyme. These ingredients visibly reduce puffiness and dark circles.
- It is important to use a sunscreen daily on top of the eye cream and to re-apply every 3-4 hours, to prevent sun damage that is one of the foremost causes of ageing around the eyes.
- Avoid consuming salty foods and alcohol late at night as it can aggravate existing dark circles.
- Ensure a minimum of six-eight hours’ sleep, preferably from 11pm to 7am, as it balances your stress hormones and reduces dark circles.
- Sleep with your head slightly elevated to prevent puffiness when you wake up
- What are a few easy homemade remedies to take care of dark circles
- The best quick fix is to apply a cold pack or a chilled tea bag. Use of frozen peas in a bag also help in reducing the fluid retention as well as fluid outflow.
- Grate potatoes and apply the grated pulp around eyes for 5-10 minutes. Repeat twice a week for noticeable results.
- Mix a few drops of rose geranium, lavender and chamomile essential oils with coconut oil. Rub in gently under the eyes regularly to ward off dark circles.
- Mix a paste of buttermilk and turmeric, apply it around eyes and wash it off after 10 minutes with cold water for quick relief.
- Cold cut cucumbers in thick slices and place them over the eyes for 30 minutes. Cucumber contains a number of antioxidants like vitexin, orientin, and cucurbitacins, which help treat under eye dark circles
- Apply a little amount of almond oil on your dark circles and gently massage it into the skin.
Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
- Apply the fresh Alovera gel under the eyes and massage for a few seconds. Aloevera soothes the skin and hydrates it. Its nourishing properties reduce the pigmentation under the eye and make the sensitive skin in that area healthier.
- What are a few healthy life practices that one needs to incorporate in their lifestyle to stay away from dark circles
- Tell us a little about the medical treatments available in order to cure dark circles.
The medical treatments include surgical and non surgical maneuvers-
The only procedure that provides long term benefit is a combination of Autologous Fat and Stem cell grafting along with Lasers, Chemical Peels and regular use of Glutathione. This addresses the volume loss as well as the pigmentation of the area to provide a brighter look to the area around the eyes.
By: Dr Mohan Thomas, Senior Cosmetic Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgery Institute