How to Get Rid of Black Circles Under Your Eyes
- 1 Get Rid of the Circles
- 2 Probable Sources of Black Under-eye Circles
- 3 Physical Conditions, Illnesses that Promote Black Circles and Require Medical Evaluation
- 4 Allergies
- 5 Lifestyle and Situational Causes
- 6 Genetic, Hereditary Culprits
- 7 Natural Remedies
- 8 Eat healthier=
- 9 Makeup and Beauty Approaches
- 10 Non-Surgical Fillers
- 11 Laser Procedures
- 12 Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
- 13 Chemical Peels
- 14 Getting Rid of Under-eye Circles: A Personal Challenge for Any Age
- 15 Genetic Factors
- 16 Additional Tips on Removing Dark Circles
- 17 Resources
Get Rid of the Circles
Nothing makes a woman feel older than seeing her reflection in the mirror and noticing, almost before anything else, black-looking circles or shadows under the eyes. For men, too, it is disconcerting. While reasons vary, individuals affected share a common goal: how to eliminate or minimize circle appearance.
And since solving the problem is a universal pursuit for the afflicted, it is necessary to understand the possible sources of black-circles before evaluating traditional and modern, inventive ways not only to hide them but, ultimately, to eliminate their root causes.
What follows is an attempt to clarify the reasons for black circles and provide suggestions and action-taking steps for lessening their cause and appearance. It is, moreover, based upon up-to-date information from the increasingly linked fields of health, medicine and beauty.
After all, in this modern era of vast cosmetic possibilities, why should black circles interfere with anyone's ability to put forth a confident appearance?
Since the age-old adage that people “feel best when they look good” continues to ring true, it is hoped that this article will shed light, rather than shadows, on both aspects.
Probable Sources of Black Under-eye Circles
Interestingly, black under-eye rings or circles affect all age groups, from children as young as infants to adolescents and adults; they are technically defined as patches of dark-looking skin appearing between the top of the cheek and the lower eyelid.
As no age group is spared, the scope of the problem cannot be ignored, seemingly as relevant to those who have endured it for years as to those newly, perhaps temporarily, afflicted.
Indeed, chronic illnesses, as well as genetics, can render such dark rings or shadows long-lasting or even permanent. However, sometimes discoloration or a shadowy look appears under the eyes due to temporary illness or lifestyle changes like seasonal allergies or lack of sleep.
Overall, it seems that under-eye circles appear as darkened skin due to what is happening beneath or upon the skin’s cellular surface or, invariably, as equally unattractive manifestations of dark shadows cast by patterns of light resulting from facial structure or irregularities like puffiness under the eyes.
Physical Conditions, Illnesses that Promote Black Circles and Require Medical Evaluation
If dark circles suddenly appear and endure beyond what seems usual and without obvious explanation, such as too-little sleep the night before or excessive crying, it is necessary to delve into possible physical causes requiring medical intervention. A health professional regards under-eye circles as visible signs or symptoms that may be linked with a specific illness. Hence, subsequent treatment might not only alleviate the illness, but also the black-circle symptoms related to it.
Thus, while many black-circle causes, regardless of origin, can be identified and explained, other probable causes are not so simple to pinpoint and might require more extensive medical consultation and testing. These situations are often accompanied by other symptoms or occur soon after sudden head or facial injury unrecognized by the recipient. In those cases, black circles are a warning sign, the diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause necessary to prevent further problems, among them life threatening allergic reactions or neurological damage. In any event, black-circle causes categorized below are not to be ignored, their onset less easily explained and their presence not likely to be as temporary.
These are a fairly common cause of black circles, and if possible the allergen, or causative agent, should be removed. Otherwise, over-the-counter and prescription remedies are often effective to help eliminate the circles along with other notorious allergy symptoms. A multi-vitamin can also fight allergies and black circles, as often deficiencies in Vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid, can be allergy triggers. If dark circles and eye puffiness are persistent and unresponsive to usual allergy medications, it may signal an undetected food allergy, such as gluten intolerance caused by wheat flour, or an aversion to chemicals in the workplace or at home. A physician can determine what the underlying allergy might be.
• Anemia • Dehydration • Malnutrition • Invasive infection of the eye, soft tissues, structures around eye (Periorbital/orbital cellulitis) • Unrealized trauma to the head, such a basal skull fracture • Unrealized fractured nose, face or bony structure around the eyes
While not all of the above are always life-threatening, they may be when accompanied by other symptoms such as high fever, hallucination, bruising, redness or warmth of the eyelids, change in consciousness levels, tightness in the throat, wheezing or shortness of breath, severe headache, swelling of face, tongue, mouth or lips. When these kinds of symptoms accompany dark circles, immediate medical intervention is required.
Lifestyle and Situational Causes
There are many easily explained circumstances that can precipitate black under-eye circles or shadows, and when they are alleviated, so are the shadows. While some of those listed below are easily within control, there are some that might be, for many, neither temporary nor controllable.
• Alcohol, caffeine, or salt consumption that is personally excessive
• Certain medications such as birth control pills
• Crying that is excessive
• Fatigue caused by insomnia or poor quality sleep
• Sun Exposure, causing an increase in melanin production
• Poor nutrition
• Lack of exercise; exercise is attributed with improving circulation to the face as well as the rest of the body.
• Traumatic but known situations already under a doctor's supervision, such as head, skull, facial fractures or surgery to the eyes or face, including nasal and plastic surgery procedures
• Pigmentation irregularities from medication, hormones, pregnancy
• Aging and resultant thinning of the skin under the eyes due to collagen and fatty tissue depletion; bluish veins below the skin’s surface contribute to a darkened look.
Genetic, Hereditary Culprits
Indeed, thin skin on lower eyelids accentuates underlying blue-colored veins in some people as a natural consequence of aging, but it may also result from skin type and quality, appearing much earlier but certainly intensifying with age. One contributing factor is heredity, as it is believed the condition of thin under-eye skin frequently runs in families.
When dark circles appear under the eyes of young people and without seeming reason, such as long-term effects of sleep deprivation or other chronic health causes, they are often considered a sign of facial and eyelid aging. This can have onset in the early 20's, causing a detrimental career impact particularly for those in the modeling or acting professions; it is just as alarming for many others, too. And though deemed an ostensible symbol of early skin-aging, it is just as possibly related to genetics and heredity, most probably having affected others in the family the same way.
Aside from the possibility of genetically influenced thinness of under-eye skin, as already described, circles are sometimes a direct result of how the lower eyelid skin is tethered or attached to the bone of the eye socket. This attachment creates a natural depression or hollow, a dark-circle effect caused by light not falling evenly and creating a visible shadow. Dependent, then, upon the way light strikes the facial and eye area, certain lighting conditions can make shadows appear even worse.
Similarly, the skeletal configuration of facial features, obviously influenced by genetics or heredity, and specifically the location of nose, cheekbones, and eyelids in relation to one another, can cause shadows to be cast that contribute to the black-circle look. Discoloration or pigmentation that is excessive may also be hereditary.
Now that possible and probable causes have been discussed, ruling out serious health concerns and an immediate medical appointment, what are some other remedies for getting rid of the black circles or, at the very least, reducing them to being less noticeable?
The simplest attempts to banish circles involve trying some natural, common-sense approaches, of which there are many. Moreover, as one approach will not fit all, it is up to the individual to carry our some trial-and-error techniques to see what works best. Often, too, success might entail the combination of a few different remedies used all at once.
Obvious chronic, health-related, or genetic causes of black circles will not usually respond to simple cures; however trying these remedies may help alleviate other variables like under-eye puffiness that often accompany, cause, or worsen the appearance of circles. Further, when dealing with obviously clear-cut explanations, perhaps a late night binge, simpler remedies may yield surprisingly good results.
Increase sleep time
Though it may sound trite, a first-things-first natural strategy involves getting enough quality rest. Indeed, sleeping is not dubbed "beauty rest" for nothing, as though not readily understood, lack of adequate sleep causes skin to look paler and, by contrast, allows the appearance of darkness beneath the eyes. This may be the result of reduced circulation, as circulation enhanced during deep sleep helps heal and rejuvenate the skin. No matter, getting enough shut-eye, usually averaging 8 hours per night for most people, is important to adhere to for several weeks to see if the dark-circle effect is diminished.
Promote better sleep quality
Taking control of lifestyle factors conducive to under-eye circles also supports and contributes to more restful, better-quality sleep which, in turn, benefits under-eye skin even further. Natural approaches include eliminating or, at least, cutting back on alcohol and drug-related substances whenever possible, especially before going to bed. A diet assisted by vitamins also promotes better sleep and, accordingly, better adrenal gland functioning. Optimally functioning adrenals resulting from good sleep are necessary for effective Vitamin B6 absorption.
When lack of sleep causes compromised adrenal functioning, subsequent poor vitamin absorption sabotages restful sleep; hence a circular or repetitive pattern of poor sleep followed by poor adrenal function is initiated. Increased calcium and magnesium also support adrenal function and are good additions to bedtime routines. Importantly, since dark circles are often symptomatic of sluggish adrenal or kidney function, it follows that if these glands are assisted to function more effectively with proper vitamin-supported sleep quality, their condition will improve, and along with it, the circles.
Alter sleep position
Another natural sleep remedy involves keeping the head somewhat elevated and evenly positioned, instead of slanted downward on the pillow. If the head is angled down, body fluids can drain to the face causing puffiness and unattractiveness, especially under the eyes.
Lack of sleep contributes to stress hormones like cortisol being increased, a known cause of health problems and swelling under the eyes causing dark circles when shadows are cast in resulting depressions. Conversely, reducing stress or the contributory components also contributes to better sleep. Thus, relaxation should be increased not only for its own sake, but as a direct attempt to reduce stress so that more restful sleep follows. Stress adversely affects eye skin also, as the skin reflects the emotional unrest that typifies stressful reactions.
=====Eliminate smoking==== If one has a cigarette smoking habit, often a component of a stressful life and a contributor to other health-threatening factors, it should be noted that smoking makes blood vessels appear more prominent and blue under the eyes, too. Stopping smoking should have multiple positive side-benefits, then.
Diet, diet, diet is of utmost importance! Foods and the vitamins and minerals they contain affect the skin greatly. Supplements help too, but real food is ideal. Dr. Nicholas Perricone, guru of skin care through good health, claims that the Ester C vitamin known as ascorbyl palmitate, a skin thickening and collagen boosting supplement, as well as alpha lipoic acid, ALA, provide the ingredients to help banish under-eye circles.
ALA specifically helps with blood flow and lymph drainage, both contributory dark-circle factors. Green tea, turmeric, quercetin, regular vitamin C, bromelain, also diminish allergy symptoms and inflammation that contribute to black circles. Some particularly healthy food choices that Dr. Perricone advocates to reduce circles are: salmon, tuna, sardines, all cold-water fish, as well as fruits, vegetable, nuts and olive oil. If fish is unpalatable, fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements may be used. Also, reducing salt is wise, as too much causes puffiness which, besides creating gullies or depressions for under-eye shadows, impairs circulation and causes blood vessels under the skin to appear blue or darkish.
Now that sleep, vitamins, and diet have been covered, there are still a few specific natural or holistic approaches that may work for some. These include:
When placed over the eyes, these have long been considered useful for reducing puffiness and refreshing skin's appearance. A thick slice placed over the eye, including the darkened or circle area, should be undertaken daily for 10-15 minutes, eyes closed, for a refreshing eye treat.
Use them cooled or wrapped with an ice cube in a soft cloth and apply daily to closed eyes for 10-15 minutes; this releases tannin which reduces swelling, discoloration. Using decaffeinated tea bags works best; they can be cooled overnight in the refrigerator, ready for use in the morning, the preferred time of day for effectiveness.
Blend a potato until it is in a liquid or pureed state, then place on closed eyes for a half hour or so; rinse with warm water.
Cold metal spoonEither frozen or refrigerated, place a cold spoon over dark circles until spoon is warm again, usually about 10-15 minutes. This helps under-eye puffiness and accompanying shadows.
Makeup and Beauty Approaches
Along with the above natural solutions, there is a plethora of cosmetic products awaiting a chance to combat circles. They range from relatively inexpensive to very highly expensive products, and until tried, there is no telling what will work best for an individual. Without a doubt, they are best used in conjunction with habits involving better sleep, diet, and the elimination of other skin sabotaging elements previously discussed.
Makeup is sometimes the only sensible remedy available, often used by those with facial features that cause shadowy circles when there is not much else that can be done momentarily to eradicate the situation. For, adequate sleep, an exceptional diet, and wonderfully healthy living habits will not change the way light and shadow is cast on the face due to the juxtaposition of nose, cheekbones, eyes. Thus, using makeup to the rescue is a valid solution, especially when time permits nothing else.
Also, makeup is a true angel of rescue when temporary "fixes" are necessary following a late night out and lack of sleep therein, or nasal congestion from a cold that simultaneously causes dilation of the veins that drain fluids from eyes to nose, making the vessels beneath the skin appear darker.
Naturally, makeup can be used for any dark-circle reduction, so long as it is not used to mask symptoms of an underlying physical problem and create a false sense of health being restored. However, when used concurrently with treating for physical ailments or situations that have caused the dark circles, even something self-imposed like facial surgery, makeup is a valuable accompaniment to whatever else is being done to alleviate the causative factors. One note of warning: products for under-eye circles, as with any makeup or cosmetic product, should not produce allergic reactions; these are usually evident with the appearance of rashes or sore, watery eye areas. Trying a preliminary skin-patch test is a cautionary approach for using any of the remedies listed below.
These are primarily camouflage tools and run the gamut price-wise. They are easily and economically found at drug stores, and just as frequently purchased at high-end cosmetic counters in fine department stores. Some have underlying tones of pink, peach, tan, even green and yellow, and work according to individual skin pigmentation and tint.
They also come in various depths of color or tonality. Once applied though, they only look good when well-matched to the natural skin tone, for if they are too dark, for instance, they will only accentuate the dark circles they are supposed to hide. After concealers are applied, a light dusting or translucent face powder will help set them so as not to be affected by perspiration or temperature. While some come in tubes, others are more fluid in consistency and are brush-applied; hence it's wise to experiment with what type gives the desired effect for each skin type.
Eye and Lightening Creams
Though concealers cover or hide dark circles, other topically applied remedies, eye and lightening creams, are more suited to solving the underlying problem. As dark circles may result from a lack of Vitamin K, eye creams containing both Vitamin K and retinol, a form of Vitamin A, are noteworthy. These two ingredients reduce both puffiness and discoloration for many people, and long-term daily usage seems to yield the best impact. Similar to eye creams, but sometimes acting through different ingredient agents, lightening creams may prove effective for some users.
Indeed some report that their dark circles are so successfully lightened that they seem to have disappeared. Most of these methods take several weeks to achieve results, however. Further, some lightening creams need to be applied and reapplied two or three times per day on clear skin, a process not always convenient for everyone. Additionally, many of the creams are so strongly formulated that they contain sunscreens to protect, while lightening, the skin. After usage, though, some claim to have lighter and brighter skin.
As with any attempt to eradicate dark circles, many factors need to be weighed. No two people are exactly alike, thus what works for one may not suit another. Nonetheless, it is encouraging for some to obtain good results using a lightening or eye cream that, while fairly costly, is still relatively inexpensive compared to surgery or laser treatments. After results appear, typically a maintenance program will need to be faithfully followed, but what might constitute an inconvenience for some will be well worth the effort for others.
Facial Masks or Masques
These can be purchased through almost any cosmetic company, available from department to drug store. The important element of facial masks that also target the eye area is their reduction of puffiness or discoloration there. Often gel-like or pasty in consistency, these substances are gently spread over the face and usually kept on for at least a half hour.
They frequently employ herbal or other ingredients, such as minerals, to provide relief for the delicate under-eye area, and there are also home-made masque recipes that have been successfully used. The use of tea bags, cucumbers, and potatoes, discussed earlier under natural remedies, is closely related and home-produced masks deliver similar results for many.
Gentle Under-eye Relaxation Treatment
Some other cosmetic approaches do not involve products, but focus on how the skin under the eyes is treated. After all, it is very sensitive, the most delicate of all body skin. Hence, gentle treatment is essential when washing or at any time direct contact is made.
Likewise, providing some relaxation to the under-eye area is advantageous. By wetting and freezing a cotton swab for a short time and gently wiping it under the eye’s darkened area, relaxation is promoted that may lessen the presence of circles. It is important to keep the eyes closed and remain still while gently moving the swab in the under-eye area. Moreover, eyes should never be rubbed, as doing so pulls down on the skin and irritates it, thereby breaking the tiny capillaries beneath the surface and contributing to resultant discoloration and puffiness.
Sunglasses and Sunscreen
Being careful to wear sunglasses and sunscreen when outdoors, a secret of many in the beauty and cosmetic industry, will protect the skin from overexposure that produces increased melanin and subsequent darkening under the eyes.
Aside from medical treatments, natural approaches, or cosmetic and beauty remedies like makeup, there are other current, increasingly used alternatives to address the problem of dark under-eye circles. Unheard of only a few short years ago are innovative medical procedures that can provide answers for some. They have been especially well-received by those who have dark circles attributable to genetic or hereditary causes that cannot be eliminated through lifestyle changes or even the most expensive makeup or creams.
Besides surgery and laser treatments, addressed later, are alternative methods to eradicate dark under-eye circles unresponsive to other remedies and unrelated to treatable health conditions that, once improved, result in their disappearance. Indeed, the injection of cosmetic facial fillers is among the latest innovations in medical, cosmetic facial procedures that do not require going “under the knife” or the use of lasers, both of which elicit concern for many. While hailed as a great advantage for under-eye circles, these fillers are the very ones used to plump up lips and erase the lines that appear on either side of the mouth. How do they work?
Facial “fillers,” such as hyaluronic acid, a carbohydrate substance that is found naturally in the body and not likely to cause allergies, are injected by needle where the dark circles reside. First, though, the skin is adequately numbed with topical cream to reduce the needle’s sting. While the injection method is fast and not bloody, it is also effective, sought by many young people tired of looking older than their age due to dark circles detracting from their appearance.
The only downside compared with surgery, beyond some very temporary swelling and bruising, is that the process is not all that long-lasting. The effects wear off after a few months, with three to six months duration constituting the usual range. The time frame for lasting results is mainly dependent on the individual though, with some people experiencing longer effects than others.
Most people who undergo this type of treatment are amazed at how refreshed it makes them look, well-rested too. One factor contributing to its success is how well shadows are prevented from being cast in under-eye areas, formerly recessed due to deep eye sockets or depressions, after they are filled in smoothly and evenly. Thus, for people with genetic or hereditary tendencies towards dark circles, this method is one that will work when many natural or cosmetic approaches simply fail.
This procedure is relatively quick, accomplished in about 20 minutes. The average cost is $500 a syringe, though more than one might be needed. Moreover, geographic region is somewhat of a price determinant. Anyone contemplating this type of procedure should not only compare prices, but also be careful to use only qualified medical practitioners who are properly licensed and trained, skillful with the needle in the delicate under-eye area.
“Eye Lift” or Blepharoplasty
For some who desire more permanent effects than they will receive from injected facial fillers, there is a standard, non-laser form of surgery often referred to as an “eye lift.” The name, though not really indicative of the procedure, has evolved from the effects achieved after a surgeon carefully cuts into the lower eyelid and removes fat pockets responsible for under-eye bags that cause shadowed depressions above them, the dark circle effect. With the fat gone, the effect is akin to lifting the eye, and the puffiness issue is resolved too.
As dark circles are the second most common dermatological complaint, the most common non-hormonal skin problem, and also responsible for making people appear 8-12 years older than their age, it is not surprising that many eagerly undergo this cosmetic surgical procedure. Technically known as a lower eyelid blepharoplasty, it is performed mainly by plastic and cosmetic surgeons, as the doctor must be highly adept in working with the delicate eye-area skin. Likewise, as each person's situation varies, it is important that a surgeon can offer other than a cookie-cutter approach. Just as the less invasive filler methods offer various materials and approaches according to situation, there is more than one approach for using lower eyelid rejuvenation to reduce black circles under the eyes.
In fact, there are two major types of lower blepharoplasty. A knowledgeable surgeon can determine which is best-suited for each patient. The first, transconjunctival lower lid surgery, involves the doctor's making an incision behind the eyelid. Younger patients benefit most from this approach, as do those with very little extra skin on the lower eyelid. From the incision, the fat that has prolapsed can be removed or repositioned. Moreover, if a small amount of extra skin exists, a bit can be removed at this time to promote a smoother appearance or, conversely, addressed at a later time with laser or chemical peel procedures.
The alternate method of lower lid blepharoplasty is known as transcutaneous. It involves an incision being made about 1 or 2 millimeters below the lower lid eyelashes. Older patients are good candidates, as they often have more redundant skin there. A surgeon will often combine this procedure with a mid-face lift if needed, providing a better juncture for the meeting of cheeks and lower lids.
Thus, age is a primary determinant of exact surgical procedure. Moreover, when electing one of these more invasive procedures, a patient can expect it to be more involved; it will undoubtedly require more preparation and recovery than the filler injection method, for instance.
As lower eyelid surgery can entail one to two hours, it also enlists local anesthesia for patient comfort. Usually it is accompanied by sedation, as well, for a more relaxed approach. Many surgeons opt for this type of anesthesia, known as MAC, or monitored anesthesia care, as it requires neither a breathing tube in the throat nor a breathing machine. Best of all, anesthesia recovery time is faster, with less nausea. It entails placing an intravenous needle into a vein of the arm or hand, relaxing medication flowing to induce sleep. After the patient is asleep, numbing medication is placed on the skin where the procedure is to take place. While the patient breathes normally, he or she is unaware of what is happening until awakening during recovery.
After lower eyelid surgery, a patient can expect swelling and bruising for at least a week, during which it is advisable to refrain from going to work. And while there is minimal eye pain or discomfort, ice packs for the first couple of days help to decrease swelling. The surgeon should provide explicit directions covering what to do before and after the surgical procedure.
Relative costs of blepharoplasty surgeries are bound to be more than non-invasive procedures, however the results are also impressively long lasting. Moreover, unlike standard face lift procedures which do not last beyond a few years, blepharoplasty, though conveniently if not accurately described as an eye lift, does not target gravitational pull. It is, instead, intended to combat the influence of heredity on the eyelids, thus long-lasting results can be expected. Also, it is rare that the operation ever needs to be repeated, even if some of the luster is lost over time. With most people assured of enjoying the outcome for many years, the cost is often not a detraction. Though the cost of lower eyelid procedures is subject to regional location, it is safe to consider $3,000 as being average.
Unlike surgeries where there is actual skin cutting, non-invasive laser procedures are options considered effective by many for banishing dark circles. And while laser technology has come a long way in a relatively short period of time, its goal is different from the eye lift or blepharoplasty that attacks fatty deposits and thereby causes smoother, less shadow-prone skin. Lasers accomplish their stellar results, in part, by smoothing and strengthening under-eye skin and muscles. Thus, the appearance of under-eye circles is also vastly improved.
As with surgical procedures, a cosmetic or plastic surgeon is the best choice for the intricacies of laser usage, and an initial consultation can determine if it is the best option for one to pursue. Like fillers and surgery, laser procedures are a solution when makeup, cosmetic, and natural approaches have not worked and are also well-suited to those whose issues of genetics or heredity offer limited alternatives.
Laser procedures can encompass thousands of dollars, but unlike blepharoplasty, they may require repeating within a relatively short time, often three to five years. Lifestyle, diet, health and other individual factors contribute to the length of time before the process must be undertaken again. Nonetheless, it is still a good option for those hesitant to undergo surgery requiring anesthesia, yet desiring something more permanent than injected fillers and their extremely limited time effectiveness.
EffectivenessThe suitability and effectiveness of laser treatments for dark circles is dependent upon many factors, not the least of which is a person's skin type and quality. Thus, there are different types of lasers to accomplish treatments, and a physician can determine which is appropriate. Regardless of specific type, however, all lasers work in relatively the same fashion. Invisible infrared or ultraviolet light is used to smooth out layers of skin instead of a knife. These invisible light beams create wavelengths that release energy as they move over the skin.
When the energy is absorbed through different layers of skin, it promotes a smoothing effect which eliminates shadowing and it also corrects irregular skin pigmentation that causes dark circles. In fact, some lasers go directly to the blood vessels and prevent them from causing the dark circles they induce. If more than one procedure is needed, they are usually spaced 10-14 days apart. Each procedure lasts 30-60 minutes, the quantity dependent upon the extent of dark- circle discoloration. Costs may vary from $1,500 to $6,000 per treatment.
Before embarking on laser treatments, some steps are recommended to prevent blood clots or inflammation. These include avoidance of alcohol, aspirin, and NSAIDS like Motrin or Aleve for an entire week before beginning treatment. There may be other medications a surgeon will advise against using during this time, and often antiviral medications are prescribed to prevent underlying skin infections.
One of the up-to-date lasers used for skin rejuvenation and resurfacing that seems to work well for dark circles is the pulsing laser known as Ultrapulse CO2. While it was initially used to remove effects of sun damage, also pre-cancerous growths, it was found to work well in reducing or eliminating dark circles under the eyes. When passed over the skin gently, the laser seems to paint away unwanted cells layer by layer. Not only does it lighten darker skin tones, but it can induce collagen formation, promoting a thickening or covering effect to reduce dark circles.
Most people who undergo this type of laser treatment enjoy results yielding refreshed, lighter skin tones. While there are always risks of scarring or infection, even increased skin color, risks are minimal when the laser is undertaken by experienced hands. Hence, the importance of a consultation is apparent for pointing up any specific risks an individual might have.
Laser treatments are usually performed after a local numbing anesthetic is applied to the delicate under-eye area. The recovery time after treatment is generally a week. Moreover, with some lasers, such as the Ultrapulse, there is a possibility that only one procedure will be needed. Nonetheless, excessive sunlight should be avoided for two weeks prior to this kind of laser procedure, any prescribed medications taken to prevent infection, and moisturizers applied afterward.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
Another therapy known as the photo facial treatment method, IPL or intense pulsed light, is also used for removing dark circles. It is not a laser therapy, however, and involves flashes of light that specifically target the skin’s pigment colors or blood vessels. The light is adjusted to be absorbed by various colors, such as red or brown, IPL working by reducing dark under-eye skin that is specifically caused by blood vessels or pigment discoloration.
Yet one more process, chemical peels, might be a consideration for some searching for a solution to their under-eye circles. Specifically, glycolic acid peels have been used for skin conditions with dark circles resulting from sun-exposure or forms of brownish discoloration known as melasma, the mask of pregnancy being one example. Salicylic acid, as well as glycolic acid, may be helpful for treating circles thus induced. There is also the Jessner peel, a mixture of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid developed by Dr. Max Jessner. These acids help reduce the amount of pigmentation and improve collagen production. However, they should be used with other sensible procedures. Getting enough rest and using adequate sun protection, especially sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide, assist effectiveness.
As the under-eye skin is extremely sensitive, using highly concentrated glycolic or chemical peels of any nature to treat dark under-eye circles is not advisable without guidance. Skin tone is also a significant factor, as with dark skin tones, glycolic peels can cause hyperpigmentation, perhaps a worse problem than the original dark circles.
Fortunately, there are glycolic lotions and creams specifically designed for dark eye rings. These might be a better alternative, much less invasive and risky. These are among the types of eye creams discussed earlier that many large cosmetic companies have developed and sell in their lines of makeup and facial treatment products.
Getting Rid of Under-eye Circles: A Personal Challenge for Any Age
For those weary of being asked if they are feeling tired, told they look exhausted, or reprimanded for not getting enough sleep, the appearance of dark circles is not a joking matter. Such circles can literally make emotions plummet, to say nothing of the fact that circles also translate into looking older. While they tend to worsen with age for those affected by them even when young, perhaps for younger people they are also worse to bear. Full of energy and ambition, it is difficult for them to hear that they "look tired."
On the other hand, for older folks with all of the worries of aging skin, such as wrinkles and fine lines, who needs dark circles to exacerbate the problem? It seems then, that, dark under-eye circles are a nightmarish occurrence for anyone, regardless of age. Moreover, indicative of the times, it is unsurprising that blogs have even sprung up to address the dark-circle problem, with participants more than willing to share their anguishes and successes in getting rid of them. After all, how could those never afflicted be as sympathetic or helpful?
Fortunately, we also live in a time when this concern is taken seriously enough to foster an array of problem-tackling cosmetic products and services, borrowing heavily from medicine and science. In fact, the New York Times reported as early as 2008 that top cosmetic giant Clinique had made treating dark circles a priority. Interestingly, Clinique's executive director of research and development, responsible for devising products to fight circles, has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology. This underscores how importantly companies are regarding the #1 beauty concern of countless consumers.
Moreover, current anti-aging skin products regularly include formulas for dark circles, attesting to the fact that black-circle concerns don’t diminish with age. These products attract many who’ve been plagued by circles for years, by-products of heredity and genetics now intensifying with age.
And although factors such as fatigue, alcohol, and illness are often culprits, the most chronic dark circles can only be attributed to excess pigmentation or discoloration of the skin. And while dark circles can affect any skin color and type, many African-Americans, as well as those of Southeast Asian or Southern Italian descent are especially susceptible. Thus, for chronic dark circles, regardless of specific cause, more serious approaches than makeup or temporary “fixes,” are often pursued.
Further, just as sun exposure can easily cause dark circles, so too can dilated blood vessels sitting close to thin under-eye skin. The latter are worsened by airborne allergens that cause blood to pool in the vessels and thus magnify their dark appearance. To alleviate cases like these, it is fairly easy to take steps to avoid overexposure to the sun through sunglasses and sunscreen, while antihistamines may clear up allergies and subsequently, the accompanying circles. Meanwhile, there is always makeup, and it’s sometimes enough to hide temporary effects.
Additional Tips on Removing Dark Circles
Nonetheless, for those who are aging and experiencing thinning skin, or have darkened under-eye areas due to dilated blood vessels from birth control or other medication, excess pigmentation or shadow-producing puffiness resulting from genetics, even under-eye shadows due to bone structure, most cosmetic and natural home remedies will fall short. For those solution-seekers, there exist the more serious alternatives; these include the latest in laser or pulsed light approaches or, requiring even less downtime, injected facial fillers. These fillers cover up the darker skin or blood vessels that peek through the skin and smooth out puffiness when it is also a nuisance. Then, too, there is surgery, invasive but inviting for those who want something more lasting and do not mind anesthesia or a slower recuperation.
No matter the course of action chosen, when all is said and done, those who find a solution for black circles under the eyes have no regrets. Any money spent is well worth it. They would further agree that no longer looking tired is one thing, but turning back the clock is quite another. Therefore, it is hoped that you too, now well-equipped with advice for getting rid of your own black circles, will soon be well on the way to not only looking better and undoubtedly younger, but also feeling much better too!