Treatment of Dark Circles Under the Eyes
To better understand the treatment of dark circles under the eyes I will discuss the various types of dark circles under the eyes that I encounter in my plastic surgery practice and my understanding of the cause of the dark circles, and what I feel is the most effective treatment to remove the dark circles under the eyes.
Understand that the eyelid skin appears darker than the surrounding facial skin in all people-this is the normal condition and is caused by shadows created by the overhanging brow and the fact that the eyelid skin is much thinner than the surrounding facial skin. Below I am talking about exaggerated dark circles under the eyes that cause people to be unhappy with their appearance.
Causes of Dark Circles under the Eyes
Thin Eyelid Skin
The eyelid skin is the thinnest in the body and many people with dark circles under the eyes have extremely thin skin on their eyelids and around the eyes. This thin skin is an inherited trait. The dark circles under the eyes are caused by the fact that the purple color of the underlying eyelid muscle shows through the thin skin and creates a bluish or purple color. The color is darkest near the nose and on the lower eyelid near the nose.
Treatment of dark circles under the eyes caused by thin skin is very difficult because it is very difficult to make your inherited skin thicker. Cover up make up like Jayne Iredale Eye Cover, Dermablend, and Covermark are very helpful and my first recommendation. Frequent microdermabrasion and Retin A cream over a long period of time will build new collagen in the dermis will thicken the skin and provide some improvement.
There are new lasers on the horizon which are very effective at stimulating new growth of collagen in the dermis and these new technologies may prove very beneficial. Be sure to sign up for my free newsletter to be informed when these new technologies are available.
The Arcus Deformity discussed below creates a very severe dark circle in people with thin eyelid skin and correction of the Arcus deformity with Arcus release and fat grafting can be very helpful treatment for dark circles under the eye in these individuals.
Prominent Eyelid Blood vessels and Veins
Everyone has veins and blood vessels called capillaries in their eyelid skin. In many people however the veins are very prominent and the blood vessels add to the dark color of the eyelid.
To diagnose this cause of dark circles look in a mirror with bright light on your face and gently pull the skin of the lower eyelid tight. You will see many tiny branching red and blue lines which represent blood vessels.
You need blood vessels and veins to keep your eyelid healthy and alive. However when there is an abundance of smaller vessels which create a bluish or purplish hue to the lower eyelid some new IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) or laser therapies can be used to treat dark circles under the eyes in people with an excess of small capillaries and blood vessels. The very large veins cannot be treated.
Laser blood vessel treatment is a serious and potentially dangerous treatment for dark circles under the eyes and must be performed by a physician who is experienced in the use of lasers and IPL. Most importantly the eye must be protected by placing a shield over the eye during treatment so that the laser or IPL light cannot hit the eye. The laser and IPL light can damage the retina and destroy vision if the beams hit the unprotected eye.
Pigmentation of the Eyelids
Hyper pigmentation, too much pigment in the skin of the eyelid is a very common cause of dark circles under the eyes. Treatment of dark circles under the eyes caused by hyper pigmentation is very effective, but the pigment frequently returns after sun exposure.
Hyper pigmentation of the lower eyelids occurs because of sun exposure and prevention with sun block, sun glasses, and a hat are the most important first treatment for this type of dark circles under the eyes.
The treatment of hyper pigmentation begins with bleaching creams such as a combination of Retin A and 4% Hydroquinone, Obagi Blender 5, Epiquin or other prescription bleaching cream combined with microdermabrasion.
After the above treatments have lessened the pigmentation causing the dark circles under the eyes, if necessary I proceed to IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments. These treatments do effectively remove pigment causing the dark circle but again experience and eye protection are very necessary to prevent eye injury.