Some of the signs of ageing can give us a look of wisdom, authority and dignity. Dark circles and bags under the eyes aren’t in that category — they simply make us look tired.
While the internet might have you believe that a single, standalone approach will work to treat any and all dark circles under your eyes, many factors contribute to their development.
Understanding the differences between what causes dark circles is the key to selecting the most appropriate treatment option for you.
Below, discover all of the factors that cause dark circles under your eyes so that you’re better prepared to treat them when they arise.
What Are Dark Circles?
Dark circles are patches of skin around your eyes that appear darker. They can make you look older and more tired than you actually are. The colour can vary from purple and brown to black, depending on your skin tone.
Dark under-eye circles happen to many people; whether you’ve always had them or only occasionally have them, it’s useful to know how to minimise their appearance.
There are a variety of different reasons that dark circles appear. Below are the main causes of dark circles under the eyes.
Why Do We Get Dark Eye Circles?
1- Hereditary or Genetics
Contrary to popular belief, fatigue is not one of the main causes of dark circles. Although getting enough sleep is very important for your overall health.
Genetics is the biggest contributing factor.
Individuals of Asian and African skin types are more likely to have periorbital hyperpigmentation. People with a genetic predisposition usually have very thin skin under the lower eyelid, which allows the veins to show through, resulting in a darker appearance.
2- Seasonal Allergies
Nasal congestion is also a common contributor to dark, under-eye circles. Allergies, such as hay fever, cause nasal congestion and, as a result, poor blood circulation to the lower eyelid and surrounding skin. The congestion, even when minor, causes the veins which drain from the eyes into the nose to increase in size and become darker. Frequent rubbing due to itching doesn’t help either, as it can cause broken blood vessels.
Environmental factors such as sleep, nutrition, sun exposure, and smoking contribute to secondary hyperpigmentation. Vitamin deficiencies, including vitamin B12, E, K and D, have been associated with dark circles.
4- Volume Loss
Hollowness or the sunken appearance in the under-eye area is a common cause of dark circles. As we age, the point at which the lower eyelid and cheek join elongates and the appearance of a tear trough becomes more prominent. In addition, there is also a loss of fat and collagen surrounding the eyes. This, combined with the thinning of the skin, can magnify the appearance of dark under-eye circles.
5- Fat Prolapse
As connective tissue weakens, the fat around the eye socket can come forward and appear in the lower eyelids. This is called a fat prolapse. The excess fatty tissue causes puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.
Unlike fluid, which can be pushed away, fat prolapses – literally bumps of excess fat – can only be removed with surgery.
Who Do Dark Circles Under the Eyes Affect?
Dark circles under the eyes affect people of all ages, races and sexes. All skin types can show varying levels of dark circles too. Dark circles under the eyes are more common in certain groups of people, though. These groups include:
- Elderly people.
- People with a family history of dark circles under their eyes.
- People with darker skin tones
At Home Solutions to Treat Dark Circles Under Eyes
Get 8 Hours of Sleep
Nothing keeps under eye bags away like a full 8 hours of sleep. Get a good night’s rest every night and enjoy reduced under eye circles.
A rule that will also benefit other signs of ageing is to reduce exposure to the sun. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection all the way to the lash line. This will prevent prolonged sun damage and reduce the occurrence of dark circles.
Applying an ice cube wrapped in a washcloth to your eyes can reduce puffiness and can help with dark circles. Using a cool, damp washcloth can also have the same effect.
Repeated stress does play a role in causing dark circles under the eyes. Research has found that stress intensifies hyperpigmentation. Reducing stress is easier said than done, but getting more sleep and exercising regularly are good places to start.
Cucumbers contain vitamin K, which can reduce dark circles under the eyes by strengthening blood vessel walls. This makes blood vessels less visible under thinner skin. While it’s likely that it won’t completely get rid of dark circles, cucumbers may help lessen their appearance. This is by far one of the most popular non-medical treatment options that most people use to treat dark circles and puffiness at home.
Apply Cool Tea Bags
While you’re at the grocery store grabbing your cucumbers, pick up some caffeinated black or green tea.
Start by steeping two tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes, and then chill them in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. Apply the tea bags to your closed eyes and rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water afterwards.
Black tea and green tea contain flavonoids and tannins, which have antioxidant effects and are anti-inflammatory. The caffeine will also help increase circulation to your under eye area, shrink dilated blood vessels in the tissue around your eyes and reduce fluid retention and inflammation.
Certain Eye Creams
No wonder eye cream will remove under eye bags, puffiness and dark circles permanently. But if used in conjunction with an aesthetic treatment below, your under eye appearance can significantly improve.
If you are in the market for an eye cream, here are some ingredients to keep an eye out for.
For puffiness and bags under the eyes, look for a cream that can provide proper hydration. Tetrapeptide-5 and heparin sulphate are ingredients that are known to reduce puffiness and contain hydrating agents to moisturise the skin.
For dark circles, hyaluronic acid, coffee seed extract, tea extract, and Vitamin C & K are some of the key ingredients to look out for.
One of my favourite products to recommend for dark circles under the eyes is R(II) eyes by Teoxane.
I can personally vouch for its success as I have been recommending this eye cream in my practice and have witnessed fantastic results.
My clients love this product. Their dark circles disappear within weeks, making their eyes look brighter and their facial appearance revitalised and refreshed.
Aesthetic Treatment Options to Treat Under Eye Circles
Often dark circles are about volume loss in the periorbital area and not from colour change. As we age, the orbital bone becomes more prominent, creating a hollow tear trough.
Tear trough filler is a well-established and popular non-surgical treatment to help those with hallowing of the lower eyelids or to help improve the appearance of lower eyelid dark circles.
A prominent tear trough is characterised by a sunken appearance resulting in a shadow over the lower eyelid that is not easily concealed with makeup.
Tear troughs can be treated with the injection of hyaluronic-acid fillers to re-plump the area and push the skin up and away from the blood vessels.
The type or technique required and the brand of dermal filler will depend on the cause of your dark circles.
A light chemical peel is the perfect facial treatment to reduce pigmentation under the eyes. The procedure can last anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes and does not require any recovery time, making it easy to fit into a busy schedule. Peels often include different chemicals which target various issues, so it is important to discuss your peel with a specialist before engaging in treatments.
Microneedling is a treatment used to tackle fine lines and hyperpigmentation and is perfect for reducing eye bags and rejuvenating the face.
Microneedling works by creating micro-injuries that stimulate your body’s natural healing response, increasing natural collagen production and cell turnover. Collagen keeps skin contoured, plump and youthful, making it a perfect way to reduce puffiness under the eyes.
If you have sensitive or irritable skin, then this treatment will be safe for you and more comfortable than chemical-based ones.
Lasers therapy (Laser Genesis) can help in some cases of dark circles related to poor skin texture and/or skin laxity.
Lasers work by tightening skin through the remodelling of collagen & elastin, in addition to removing sun damage and dark spots.
Remember, lasers and energy devices only tighten the skin around the eyes. Volume replacement can only be achieved with dermal fillers or surgical fat transfer.
Want to find the right under eye treatment for you?
Begin by booking your no-obligation consultation with me today.
During your no-obligation comprehensive consultation, I get to know you and discuss your desired outcomes, your ultimate experience, and your concerns so we get it right the first time. We discuss timelines, expectations, best treatments, and payment plans.
Most importantly, I will explain why they are the best options and go over the results you can expect to allow you to feel comfortable and confident you are making the right decision.