DARK CIRCLES: WHAT lies beneath?
Under eye discoloration or Dark Circles (DC) range from brownish to bluish black color and result from two processes ongoing simultaneously or independently. One is the melanin deposition in epidermis or dermis resulting in brown/ blue colored appearance, another is the blood pooling secondary to poor collagen support in skin around eyes leading to bluish discoloration. The skin around eyes is five times thinner than rest of facial skin, so the melanin and pooled blood (i.e. under eye darkness) show through very prominently.
WHAT EXACTLY CAUSES THEM?
1. Genetics has a big role to play which means a lot is beyond our control when it comes to Dark Circles. Ranging in severity from mild to severe amongst the family members, the genetic DC is the toughest to treat and most likely to present at a younger age.
2. Lifestyle factors like
- Poor Sleep,
- Blue light exposure from gadgets
play a huge role in development and aggravation of pre- existing dark circles by increasing the free radical damage in skin (resulting in pigmentation) along with blood stasis (bluish discoloration) around eyes.
3. Aging also leads to dark circle acceleration owing to loss of collagen in the skin & bone resorption, amounting to increased hollowing around eyes.
4. Medical conditions like allergies, low hemoglobin, water retention, uncorrected refractive errors of eyes also play a part in many individuals.
5. Deep tear troughs give an appearance of DC due to shadow effect in many individuals. Most Indians suffer from deep-tear troughs commonly known as deep-set eyes.
ARE DARK CIRCLES PREVENTABLE OR AVOIDABLE? Do we have any preventative strategy in our hands?
Unfortunately, the genetic DC are not avoidable but the ones resulting from poor lifestyle choices are manageable. Lifestyle modulation certainly prevents the deterioration of Dark Circles, the genetic as well as non genetic ones.
Ø Get adequate good quality sleep depending upon your needs, 7-8 hours at the least.
Ø Take a balanced diet rich in Proteins, good quality Fats (Nuts, Ghee, Seeds), Vitamins like vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Iron, Folic acid etc.
Ø Avoid rubbing your eyes in case of allergies or irritation due to any cause.
Ø Cut down or totally avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
Ø Limit exposure to blue light emitted from gadgets. Set a limited screen time or use in night mode.
Ø Check for any cosmetic product causing allergy in skin around eyes, I , e.g. am allergic to most of commercially available Kajals and they make my dark circles worse.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR DARK CIRCLES? WILL THEY EVER GO?
Dark Circles due to hyperpigmentation and blood pooling need different treatment options. How ever a majority of people have both issues so a combination approach works best.
TREATMENT STRATEGIES FOR DARK CIRCLES
The below are 4 main ways to control & treat dark circles:
1. Lightening the hyperpigmentation
2.Boosting Collagen production
3.Controlling free radical damage
4. Minimizing blood pooling
Now lets see which molecule works where ??
- Molecules that decrease hyperpigmentation:
KOJIC ACID, ARBUTIN
GLYCOLIC ACID and Chemical Peels
- Molecules Boosting collagen production:
GLYCOLIC ACID and Chemical Peels
- Molecules Minimizing free radical damage:
- Molecules Minimizing blood pooling:
DOES IT ALL SOUNDS TOO CONFUSING ?? LET ME EASE UP THINGS A BIT FOR YOU….
WHERE MUST I BEGIN?
Look for the above list of actives before purchasing the eye cream you think will work best for you. As you can see with this list of actives, there is no one size fits all guide. However, the below facts will help you find your safest bet:
Now that you know the active arsenals in your anti dark circle armamentarium well, go ahead, READ THE LABELS and choose wisely your eye creams and serum & fight them well.