What’s the problem?
You may have noticed that sometimes, even when you DO get plenty of beauty rest, those dark circles still won’t go away. Here’s the skinny: lack of sleep, genetics, aging, and lying down are all potential causes for those pesky undereye shadows.
What causes under eye circles?
- The most common cause is ” hereditary pigmentation,” or simply stated. Genetics.
- Extra melanin production under the eye occurs naturally, but can be worsened by too much sun exposure, or chronic eye rubbing.
- Skin thinning will cause the underlying tissue and veins, as well as the orbicularis oculi muscle to shine through the skin, making it appear blue, red or purple. Because there’s not much fat between the skin and the muscle, the dark muscle absorbs the light, making the area appear darker.
- Increased hyperpigmentation of the skin, which is most often found in darker skinned clients.
- Loss of fat in the area below the eye causes the area beneath it to look hollow and shadowy. It’s also why aging is a factor in dark circles; as you get older, the fat pads beneath your eyes thin out even further.
- Lax tissue creates shadows which appear as bags under the eyes.
- Lack of sleep. When your body is tired, it produces the sleep-fighting chemical cortisol which causes your blood vessels to swell. Sometimes, simply lying down for extended periods of time will have the same effect; fluids accumulate and the veins expand to hold more blood.
What do the different colors mean?
Typically, bluish shadows are a result of enlarged blood vessels, while brownish shadows signal melanin overproduction. Lack of sleep and accumulation of fluids (from sleeping) fall under the enlarged blood vessels category. Genetics, sun exposure, and eye rubbing would be categorized as melanin overproduction.However, shadow coloration depends on your skin tone. If you have paler or cool-toned skin, veins will appear bluish or purplish. If you have darker or warm-toned skin, your veins will look more green or brown-tinged. To tell the difference between blood vessel and melanin-induced brown, look at where the shadow sits on your face. Discoloration caused by melanin overproduction sits all around the eye, not just underneath it.
How do you get rid of them?
Despite the seemingly complicated appearance of dark circles, there are solutions that can help improve them. While the option to use fillers such as Restylane and fat grafting can help, be sure to select your physician carefully, as the area is difficult to treat.
Microneedling by a trained professional can help thicken the area around the eyes and improve skin laxity. Bleaching creams (hydroquinone) or very mild acid peels may also work – although avoid steroid based ointments, as they will thin the skin even further. Tretinoin cream is also helpful.
In my practice, I have had great results with clients, using a single microneedling process that allows me to be very precise. I incorporate a regimen that includes alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids, and copper peptides.This, in combination with Peptides and Retinoids helps thicken the skin. I have client apply vitamin C at home and remind them to always, always wear sunscreen!
Whether you opt for Microneedling, grafting or surgery, be certain to take the time to find out what your options are, and select wisely!