What are Dark Circles?
Dark circles under the eyes are usually described medically as round, bilateral, homogenous pigment macules located on the infraorbital regions. It is prevalent around the world but there are only a limited number of published researches about the pathogenesis of dark circles. They are usually caused by several factors including the deposition of dermal melanin, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and allergic contact dermatitis. In this article, we will take a close look at the causes of dark circle and look at the options for treatment.
What Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes?
The most common causes of dark circles under the eyes are:
- Lack of sleep or low quality sleep
- Contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Hereditary factors
- Irregularities in pigmentation which is a problem of people with darker color and Asians
- Scratching or rubbing of the eyes
- Exposure to sunlight which causes the higher production of melanin
- Aging which includes the thinning of the skin, loss of fat and decreased collagen. This makes the dark blood vessels in the eye area more apparent.
Are Creams with Phytonadione and Vitamin C Good for Dark Circles?
In a study that included 57 adult Japanese participants with under eye dark circles, a gel formulation with 2% phytonadione, 0.1% retinol and 0.1% vitamin C and E has been shown to have a moderate effect in lightening the dark circles. The formulation is also slightly effective for wrinkles and fine lines but there is no significant improvement in dark circles. The study was conducted in a time span of 8 weeks and the pigmentation and wrinkling were evaluated by a medical expert.
Treating Dark Circles
The treatment for dark circles depends on the particular cause of the problem. Here are the different ways for treating dark circles.
- Dark Circles Caused by Vascular Issues
For vascular-related dark circles, use a bigger pillow when sleeping to prevent the build-up of blood under the eyes. Upon waking up from bed, use a cold compress for about 5 minutes so that the blood vessels will constrict. This is a trick recommended by Jeannette Graf who is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the prestigious Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Eye creams with caffeine can also help for vascular-related dark circles. There are also creams that have anti-inflammatory effects like those that are Arnica-based.
- Dark Circles Caused by Allergy
The treatment is simply to take an over-the-counter antihistamine before the allergy worsens. For severe allergies, it would be best to consult a health care professional for the appropriate treatment.
- Dark Circles Due To Thin Skin
For people who have very thin skin, it is advisable to use formulations that build collagen. Most experts recommend those that contain retinol which is effective in increasing collagen production. Vitamin C also helps increase the production of collagen and assist in lightening the skin. Also, use sunscreen every day in order to prevent cancelling out the benefits of the said treatments.
Consult Your Dermatologist
For persistent dark circles, you may need careful evaluation by a dermatologist to determine the primary cause of the problem. In some cases, it can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.