Dark circles are a common problem affecting both men and women. In fact, the problem is so common that dark circle treatment is one of the most searched topics on the internet. The area under the lower lid can turn dark due to a lot of reasons and is sometimes accompanied by bags. This can make an individual look dull, tired and older than their age. While irregular or lack of sleep is considered to be the number one cause of dark circles, it could even be hereditary. Whether your dark circles are a result of binge-watching TV shows at night or you have no clue why you have them, we know one thing for sure - deep dark eyes only look good on pandas.
According to the cosmetic dermatologist and skin expert Dr. Ameesha Mahajan, “There are natural, clinical and topical dark circle treatment options. Depending on the severity, age and causes, an effective treatment plan can be made.” However, Dr. Mahajan believes it is necessary to first address the cause of the dark circle in order to prevent it from coming back. Below she has listed a few common reasons that are linked to under-eye circles.
- 1. Causes of dark circles
- 2. How to treat dark circles at home
- - Reduces usage of mobile phone
- - Practice healthy sleeping patterns
- - Tea bags
- - Coconut oil
- - Exercise
- 3. Medical treatment to treat dark circles
- - Chemical peels
- - Lasers
- - Hyaluronic acid fillers
- - Surgical options
- 4. FAQs about dark circle treatment
1. Causes of dark circles
Dark circles are very common nowadays and a result of a number of factors. Some of the common factors are:
i) Gadget use
The months of lockdown have seen a rise in the number of people with dark circles and the most common reason is increasingly mobile and laptop usage. The screens emit high-energy visible rays which are harmful to our skin and eyes. The skin around our eyes is thin and sensitive and more prone to damage by these rays. Prolonged screen usage also results in a significant strain on our eyes. The muscles around the eyes remain in a contracted state and the skin over it becomes lax over time and shows wrinkling and darkness.
ii) Erratic Sleep Cycles
Sleep deprivation and fatigue are considered to be the most common cause of dark circles. It turns the skin under your eye pale and dull, exposing the dark tissues and blood vessels. Puffy eyes are also a result of sleep deprivation as it causes fluid to build up in the area.
As we age, there is a breakdown of collagen in the skin, loss of fat under the eyelids and resorption of the lower lid bone. This makes the under-eye area appear hollow. The hollowness makes the dark circles look more prominent.
The eye area is sensitive and can easily develop allergies. Eye allergies, as well as skin allergies like eczemas/atopic dermatitis, can lead to dark under-eye areas due to the constant rubbing and itching around the eyes. It leads to inflammation, redness and dryness around the eye.
v) Acanthosis nigricans
This is a skin condition in which there is insulin resistance in the body and certain areas become dark. Some of the most common areas are the back, underarms, the inner side of the thighs and the under-eye area. It is most commonly associated with obesity and PCOS.
Nutritional deficiencies in the body are associated with under eye dark circles as well. The most common being an iron deficiency, also known as anaemia. Blood cells are unable to carry oxygen to the tissues in the body, including the under-eye area, this, in turn, leads to dark circles.
You can be genetically predisposed to a darker under-eye area and it may run in your family.
2. How to treat dark circles at home
Dark circle treatment can be done at home, with the help of simple lifestyle changes and using ingredients from your pantry. According to Dr. Mahajan, these tips shared below are some of the most effective home remedies to get rid of dark circles.
- Reduces usage of mobile phone
We spend a large portion of our day on mobile phones, so it is not practical to stop its usage completely, but try and maintain distance between the screen and your face. Secondly, use the phone with lights on. When we switch off the room lights and browse on our phone, our eyes are in a constant state of contraction and this leads to increased dark circles. Another practical tip is to set the screen to night mode or reduce the brightness. Also make sure to keep blinking your eyes as often as possible.
- Practice healthy sleeping patterns
Going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends, helps in building a consistent sleep cycle and thus in reducing dark circles. You can sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillowcase as it helps induce sleep.
- Tea bags
An effective dark circle treatment is applying cold tea bags to your eyes. It can reduce dark circles as tea contains caffeine and antioxidants that stimulate blood circulation. This shrinks the blood vessels and reduces puffiness. Soak two tea bags in hot water for two minutes and take them out. Refrigerate them for 15 to 20 minutes. Once they’re cold, apply the tea bags to your closed eyes for 10 minutes. After removing, rinse your eyes with cool water.
- Coconut oil
Gently massage coconut oil on your under-eye area. It will not only help nourish the skin, it will also improve the blood circulation over time. Take a small amount of organic coconut oil on your fingers and massage your eye area using your fingertips for a few minutes, preferably at night before going to sleep.
Physical activity is necessary to ensure blood circulation in the body. Moderate exercise helps in oxygenation of the whole body and also helps in reducing insulin resistance, if present. It will improve other skin problems as well because toxins get flushed out of the body during exercising along with sweat.
3. Medical treatment to treat dark circles
Other than natural remedies, medical treatments done at a dermatologist’s clinic can be considered for severe dark circles. If your under-eye circles are hereditary, the following dark circle treatment options may work.
- Chemical peels
Under eye peels are done at a dermatologist’s clinic which help reduce dark circles. They work to reduce melanin in the deeper layers of the skin and give effective results.
Specialised lasers like Q switched and YAG or fractional CO2 lasers can be used to reduce under eye dark circles. They not only help in reducing the melanin content, but also help in building collagen.
- Hyaluronic acid fillers
If there is hollowness under the eyes, dermal fillers are a very safe and effective way to get rid of it. These are in-clinic procedures which take about an hour and can be done without any hospitalisation or downtime.
- Surgical options
Surgical dark circle treatment options to consider include blepharoplasty and fat grafting. Blepharoplasty involves removal of excess skin and sometimes even protruding fat from the under eye area. Fat grafting is similar to dermal fillers where one's own fat is extracted, processed and put in the under eye area.
4. FAQs about dark circle treatment
Q. What deficiency causes dark circles?
A. Iron deficiency or anaemia is considered to be one of the major causes of dark circles as it constricts the supply of oxygen to the under-eye area. Eating iron-rich foods may help solve this problem.
Q. Which vitamin is good for under-eye circles?
A. Vitamin E is considered to be effective in the treatment of dark circles. Massaging vitamin E oil at night before going to bed can lighten the area and offer good results.
Q. Can dark circles go away?
A. With the right treatment option and a healthy lifestyle, dark circles may go away. If natural remedies are not working for you, consult a dermatologist for a customized dark circle treatment plan.