Ready to be done with looking at yourself in the mirror every morning and seeing eyes that look tired? Under eye circles are triggered by a myriad of factors, from genetics to age to sun damage on the face. While you may not be able to change the underlying cause of your dark eye circles, there are many things you can do to lighten those shadows and give your face a more refreshed and revitalized look.
Some of the most common causes of under eye circles are things out of your control: genetics and age. As you age, your skin becomes thinner, and you start to lose collagen (which gives your skin elasticity) and fat. This causes hollows around your eyes, which create shadows and dark circles. People are also frequently genetically predisposed to darker pigmentation around the eyes. But there are things you can change to either prevent or treat your under eye circles. Frequent and controllable triggers are allergies, fatigue, dehydration, diet and sun damage. Read on to learn how calm these triggers and treat under eye circles of all kinds.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t cause dark circles, but it can cause your skin to become paler and make already-present shadows more obvious. Getting good rest will improve your complexion, causing those circles to fade.
Cold can constrict the blood vessels under your eyes, reducing dark circles and puffiness. You can do this in a variety of ways. Hold a chilled teaspoon, an ice cube wrapped in a washcloth, or a bag of frozen peas against your eyes for 10-20 minutes. You can have fun with vegetables too and hold chilled cucumber or potato slices against your eyes.
Sleep with 1-2 pillows under your head. Elevating your head while you sleep will prevent fluid from pooling in your eyelids and causing puffiness and swelling.
Caffeine is a diuretic and when applied to your eyes, constricts the blood vessels that are causing the red coloring and dark shadows. Take two caffeinated tea bags (black or green will work), soak them in hot water for about 5 minutes and then chill them in the fridge until they are cold -- about 15 minutes. Place a chilled tea bag over each eye and let them sit for 10-15 minutes.
Sun damage can cause extra pigmentation under the eyes. Dermatologists suggest using a daily moisturizer that has a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Allergies often contribute to dark circles under your eyes. The histamines that trigger allergic reactions can dilate your blood vessels and cause inflammation around your eyes. As your eyes get irritated, you are also more likely to rub your eyes, further irritating them and damaging the blood vessels in the delicate skin under your eyes. Make sure you have the medication you need to manage your allergies and prevent under eye circles.
Because the skin under your eyes is so delicate, extra rubbing of your eyes can irritate your eyes and break the little blood vessels under them. Use a gentle cleanser, such as a cleansing oil or balm or a cleansing towelette. Use warm, not hot, water and don’t rub back and forth with a lot of pressure.
Excess salt can cause water retention in your body, leading to puffiness and the appearance of under eye circles. Getting dehydrated also causes water retention -- when the body is not getting enough water, it tries to conserve the water it has by holding onto its reserves. So establish healthy habits of drinking enough water, avoiding too much alcohol and staying away from a high sodium diet.
Dermatologists recommend using retinoids, which are a derivative of Vitamin A. They help build dermal collagen, fill in fine lines and wrinkles and stimulate the production of new blood vessels and thus improve skin color. You can easily find retinol (over the counter version) in a cream at a drugstore or get prescription strength retinoids from your doctor. There are also a variety of topical skin-lightening and hydrating products. Look for eye creams that contain ingredients like Vitamin C, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, peptides, dimethicone and cyclomethicone.
Be careful when choosing your make-up. Some products can cause irritation or allergic reactions, which in turn increases under eye circles. Steer clear of eye liners, eye pencils and mascara that smudge easily, as they will likely cause eye circles to look even darker. And remember, you can always enlist the help of a good concealer to cover eye circles. Pick a concealer that’s no more that 1-2 shades lighter than your surrounding skin so your dark circles don’t turn to white circles under your eyes. Flesh-tone concealers cover brown or yellowish circles, yellow-tone concealers work well to cover bluish circles, and a red under eye circle is best hidden by a concealer that matches your skin tone or has a slight green tint.
If you are unsatisfied with how at-home treatments are working for your under eye circles, you can pursue some very effective in-office treatments provided by your dermatologist. Some of these treatments include chemical peels that help lighten the skin, microneedling that stimulates collagen production, laser therapy (like Fraxel) that can help resurface the thin and wrinkled skin under the eye, and dermal fillers (like Juvederm and Restylane) that can help fill in hollows and fine lines around the eye.
Contact Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area today. The board-certified dermatologists at Vanguard will advise you as to the best approach for treating your under eye circles and can provide a variety of in-office treatments for revitalizing your skin color and tone.