About Dark Under-Eye Circles

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Dark under-eye circles can tack on the most years to your face. Each year, manufacturers of skincare products release new eye creams to the consumer market that claim to get rid of dark, baggy, puffy eyes. However, skin care expert Paula Begoun, author of “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me” reveals that specialty eye creams don’t work.


Common Culprits

Your dark under-eye circles may have many causes; some of them may be obscure. Stress and fatigue can make your eyes look dark and haggard, but so can certain lifestyle factors, such as drinking too much alcohol and tobacco use. Dark circles under the eyes may simply be hereditary, or it could be excess melanin production caused by sun exposure. Often, it’s simply a part of growing older. The dark circles under your eyes may simply be an optical illusion; puffy eyelids and hollow eyes can create shadows under your eyes. Also common to the intrinsic aging process is collagen depletion and fat loss; this too makes the veins under your eyes look more pronounced.

Medical Reasons

Dark circles under your eyes may also have an underlying medical cause, such as allergies and eczema. Congested sinus passages make the tiny veins under your eyes dilate, making the skin under your eyes look darker.

Home Remedies

Dark under-eye circles are usually a cosmetic problem for most people and don’t require treatment. A cool compress may temporarily shrink dilated blood vessels, giving you a less haggard appearance. Make sure to get adequate sleep; prop your head up at night with an extra pillow or two to prevent fluid from pooling in your eyelids. To reduce nasal congestion that contributes to dark eye circles, rinse your sinuses with a diluted saltwater mixture. If allergies are a problem, get these in check. Ask your doctor to recommend an over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine.

Eye Creams and Other Cosmetic Fixes

Specialty eye creams that claim to reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles likely won’t work. Begoun says she’s never received any reports from women who give them glowing reviews. Instead, use a moisturizing sunscreen that includes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as its active ingredient. You don’t have to choose a product specifically formulated for the eye area. The ingredients that work well for the rest of your face will also work for your eye area, too.

Other Tips

The least expensive way to camouflage under eye circles is by applying a concealer. Choose one with a matte finish so your skin won’t appear greasy. Avoid products that may irritate your skin, such as those that are scented or that contain glycolic or salicylic acid. Don’t use a concealer that’s too light for your skin tone, because this can make you look as though you have white rings around your eyes. A dermatologist may offer a cosmetic treatment that gives you more permanent results, such as chemical peels, laser treatments or injectible fillers, which can smooth away the appearance of dark, hollow eyes. A surgical procedure called blepharoplasty can reduce puffy eyelids that cast shadows under your eyes.

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