Dark circles under the eyes is a common cosmetic complaint among both men and women. They can significantly lower an individual’s self-esteem by making one look older, tired, and unhealthy. Several factors such as stress, tiredness, inadequate sleep, and advancing age can contribute to dark circles. While some people may only require lifestyle changes to reduce dark circles, others may require medical treatments and cosmetic products. Although it is not possible to remove dark circles completely, some home remedies and treatments can help reduce their appearance.
What causes dark circles under the eyes?
Dark circles are caused by several factors including:
- Skin conditions like eczema (Atopic dermatitis) and contact dermatitis
- Hay fever
- Irregular skin colour
- Rubbing or scratching the eyes
- Overexposure to sunlight that increases the production of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to the skin
- Skin changes that naturally occur with aging
Certain lifestyle factors may also contribute to the formation and exacerbation of dark circles:
How to reduce dark circles?
Depending on the cause of dark circles, one can take measures to reduce their appearance. Some tips that can help reduce dark circles include:
- Applying a cold compress: Applying cold compresses can decrease the appearance of dark circles by constricting the blood vessels around the eyes. Cold therapy can also reduce swelling and lighten the skin under the eyes.
- Getting adequate sleep: Lack of sleep can make the skin pale, causing the dark circles to become more prominent. Sufficient sleep of seven to eight hours can rejuvenate skin, boost blood flow, and lessen the appearance of dark circles.
- Elevating the head: Elevating the head with a few pillows can help prevent fluid build-up in the lower eyelids, and minimize the appearance of puffy or swollen eyes.
- Minimizing exposure to sunlight: Avoiding excess exposure to sunlight can help protect the skin as ultraviolet radiation tends to aggravate the dark circles. One can protect the skin under the eyes with sunglasses, sunscreens, and hats.
- Placing cold cucumber slices on the eyelids: Cucumber is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. While vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the skin, vitamin K is known to reduce dark circles. Placing cucumber slices on the eyelids can also reduce swelling around the eyes.
- Using cold tea bags: Placing chilled caffeinated tea bags (refrigerated for a few minutes) on the eyes after soaking in warm water can reduce dark circles. Caffeine is known to constrict the blood vessels and increase blood flow around the eyes giving the skin a youthful appearance.
- Using products with vitamin C: Vitamin C increases the production of collagen (main protein in the skin) under the eyes which reduces discoloration of the skin. Hence, many cosmetic products are infused with vitamin C to help reduce the appearance of dark circles.
- Applying Retinoid creams: Retinoid creams are vitamin-A-derived creams that help promote collagen production and lessen the appearance of dark circles. Creams containing a low concentration of Hydroquinone, kojic acid, or arbutin compounds that disrupt melanin production are also effective.
- Placing a vitamin K pad under the eyes: Placing a pad containing a mixture of caffeine and vitamin K under the eyes can reduce wrinkle depth and dark circles.
- Using concealers and makeup: Some people use makeup to conceal their dark circles. A mineral makeup foundation can be used to conceal the dark patches under the eyes.
Options to treat dark circles recommended by dermatologists include:
- Laser therapy: Laser treatment can lighten darker skin tones and promote collagen formation.
- Chemical peels: A chemical peel can lighten dark pigmentation under the eyes.
- Blepharoplasty: This surgical procedure removes excess fat in the lower eyelid and decreases the shadow cast by the eyelids, reducing the appearance of dark circles.
- Fillers: Fillers injected into the tissue under the eyes can reduce dark circles. These work by adding volume below the eyes in the case of dark circles caused by thinning skin and visible blood vessels.
Incorporating a few lifestyle changes can reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Dark circles are usually not a cause of concern, but sometimes an underlying condition may be causing it. Hence, one can consult a dermatologist to choose the appropriate lifestyle change or treatment for cosmetic purposes, or to address the underlying cause.
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