I often get asked what causes dark circles under the eyes, and despite popular opinion it’s not a late night on the booze (although infrequently this can be the cause!). Those who suffer from dark circles more often than not, will know that frustratingly 9/10 times this is not the case, so I am here to dispel the myth and let you know what you can do to improve those pesky ghoul-looking eyes!
Firstly, it’s important to understand that the skin around the eyes (periorbital) is 0.5mm thick, this is thinner and more transparent than skin found on the rest of the body which is around 2mm thick.
So here is the downlow on what typically causes dark circles under the eyes:
- Heredity: Mostly an inherited trait, just like the transparency of your skin. Weak capillary walls can also cause the capillaries to leak. For those with a deep-set bone structure, shadowing can contribute to the dark colour under the eyes.
- Allergies, asthma and eczema: These can all cause sneezing which lead the eyes to itch and water resulting in dark circles under the eyes due to rubbing the fragile skin; this weakens the capillary walls, especially at the height of hay fever season. Some food allergies can have the same effect and contribute to the area appearing darker.
- Medication: The skin under the eye is very delicate and any increase in blood flow can show through the skin, so medication that causes blood vessels to dilate can cause the area under the eyes to darken.
- Unhealthy diet: A lack of nutrients can contribute to discolouration of the area under the eyes. In particular, an iron deficiency can result in paler skin and veins under the eyes to becoming more prominent. Both pregnancy and menstruation can contribute to a temporary iron deficiency.
- Insufficient sleep: When the body is tired, it produces a chemical called cortisol to provide energy and keep you awake. This causes the blood vessels to dilate increasing blood flow, and is particularly noticeable in the area around the eyes. Both stress and hormonal imbalance can contribute to a lack of sleep.
- Liver problems: Dark circles under the eyes can be a symptom of liver disease.
- Iron Deficiency: Dark circles could indicate a lack of iron from the diet or malabsorbtion of iron. Please see your doctor for treatment as this is a vital nutrient the body needs to function.
- Age: As we get older our skin loses collagen, thins and becomes more translucent making dark circles under the eyes more prominent and permanent.
- Periorbital hyperpigmentation: The official name given to those that produce more melanin around the eyes than usual and those who are genetically predisposed to having thinner skin around the eyes, it’s just biology. This mostly affects darker skin types.
The thin area around the eye requires an eye cream or serum that is specially formulated to penetrate and hydrate the delicate eye area without irritation. Using your facial moisturiser around the eyes is not the answer as more often than not the delivery system is not suitable to be absorbed by the skin, sits on the surface and moves into the eyes causing irritation.
Don’t lose hope though, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce dark under eye circles. Firstly, it’s all about maintaining optimal health; control any allergy symptoms, manage your stress levels, increase your sleep and improve your diet, and if you smoke, try to kick the habit, as smoking causes thinning of the skin and weakening of the capillary walls.
At Cosmetic Laser Solutions we can also help. Micro-needling is a great choice of treatment as it thickens the skin around the eye through collagen production; that combined with a high-quality eye cream/ serum daily like those offered by Dermatonics and Environ can really improve the appearance of dark under eye circles.
Ingredients that help dark under-eye circles:
Peptides: Support collagen production, and the more collagen the skin produces the thicker the skin will become.
Niacinamide: Is a powerful antioxidant that has brightening and hydrating effects
Hyaluronic Acid: Moisturises the skin, improves skin elasticity.
Vitamin K: This vitamin improves swelling, circulation and dark circles.
Caffeine: Decreases puffiness and dark under-eye circles.
Vitamin A: Performs so many functions in the skin and would improve the skin around the eye area if it has been formulated specifically for the eye area
Book in today so we can discuss your personal treatment plan to best address those dark under eye circles.