Dark under eye circles plague many of us. In college, I thought I had the world’s darkest under eye circles until I saw two classmates whose under eye circles looked even darker than my own. We all were perfectly rested but looked like we had just pulled a couple of all night study sessions.
Dark under eye circles are a constant source of frustration in many women no matter what their age. According to the New York Times in 2006, 53% of Clinique users reported under eye circles and puffiness as their number one beauty concern.
Common causes and treatments for dark under eye circles:
1. Hyperpigmentation: This is common in women who ethnically have dark skin tones and consequently have excess melanin in the skin under their eyes. Increased melanin production under one’s eyes can also be the result of too much sun exposure so it is important to not only wear sunscreen but sun glasses to avoid the affects of UV rays. A good quality concealer (try some different ones at store make up counters before purchasing) will go a long way in covering up those darkened areas.
2. Thin fragile dehydrated skin allowing bluish colored blood vessels to show: There are a myriad of products out there from collagen boosters to thicken the skin to vitamin K enhancers to strengthen fragile blood vessels. None seem to be better overall than others. Any quality moisturizing night time eye cream will help keep the skin under your eyes from becoming dried out. Concealers using yellow-toned coloring to counter the blue may be effective and wearing sunscreen/sunglasses will also help protect the fragile skin.
3. Allergies: Under eye circles and puffiness can be due to pooled blood from allergies. Determining what is causing the allergy and getting treatment will work on the cause. Puffiness can be combated with tea bag compresses (tannin is supposed to help) or ice gel packs may reduce swelling and dilated blood vessels. Saline or medicated nasal sprays may help reduce congestion and reduce puffiness under your eyes.
When all else fails, some women do consider surgical intervention to solve their dark under eye circle problem.
Laser surgery can resurface under eye skin and destroy the melanin pigment cells but some recovery time will be required. Restylane and Juvéderm, two cosmetic fillers that have been used off label to plump and fill under eye skin, need less recovery time. These fillers, however, are expensive ($500-$800 a dose), are not a permanent solution (only lasting about 6 months) and may have side effects such as bruising or allergic reactions.
Getting a professional evaluation is probably a woman’s best hope. A board certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon will determine what type of dark eye circles you have, save you time and money on ineffective creams and are the most knowledgeable about whether a more invasive solution would be feasible for you.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles