Let’s face it: there are too many things that can make us appear older or more tired than we actually are. And on the top of that list? Dark eye circles.
Dr Calvin Chan, medical director of Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, fills us in on the cause of dark circles, the best treatment options, and which eye creams can help diminish their appearance.
What exactly are dark eye circles?
Dark eye circles, also known as dark eye rings, refer to the condition where the skin beneath the eyes appears darkened.
What are some of the main causes?
The causes of dark eye circles are varied and can include any, or a combination of the following:
1) Excessive pigmentation
This can be either due to congenital or environmental causes. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation of the lower eyelid skin is not uncommon in those with allergies. Excessive sun exposure and intake of certain drugs can cause such pigmentation as well.
2) Skin thinness and circulation
The thinner the skin on the lower eyelids, the more translucent it is and this causes the underlying muscles and prominent blood vessels to show through, resulting in a dark purplish appearance. Poor circulation and overactive circulation around the eye area both can contribute to a darkening effect too.
3) Shadowing due to tear trough
A depression near the inner side of the lower bony eye socket can cause a shadowing effect on the under-eye area making it appear darker.
4) Volume deficit
Loss of underlying fat and thinning of the skin over the eye socket creates a hollowness and emphasises the appearance of a dark curvilinear line under the eye.
5) Overactive under-eye muscles
This translates to a lot of movement of the skin from facial expressions causing stretching and wear and tear of the skin so the area bulges more and looks more tired.
Is there anything we can do to stop them from developing?
1) Avoid rubbing and scratching the skin around the eyes
Rubbing or scratching can cause the tiny blood vessels around the area to rupture, contributing to a darkened appearance of the under-eye skin. It can also cause the fragile skin to loosen and sag, which can worsen the look of bags and dark circles.
2) Do not drag or pull the skin around the eyes
Dragging or pulling the skin may cause it to stretch and due to the delicate and thin nature of the skin around the eyes, this can quickly lead to wrinkles and fine lines as well as skin sagging.
3) Get enough sleep
The amount of sleep one needs depends on various factors, especially age. Sleep needs vary significantly among individuals (influenced by factors like sleep quality, accumulated sleep deprivation and sleeping patterns); but in general, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Can a good eye cream help?
For a good eye cream you should be on the lookout for ingredients like vitamin K to strengthen and thicken the delicate skin around the eye area, hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump out fine lines and alleviate dryness, and peptides to reinforce, plump and smooth the skin.
To help combat dark circles, in particular, look for ingredients that boost microcirculation and plump and brighten the under-eye area, such as caffeine, vitamins C and K, ginseng, and peptides.
Here, the best eye creams to effectively combat dark eye circles, no matter what your budget is: