6 solutions for dark under-eye circles
Many people, both young and old complain of dark circles under the eyes. There are many different causes of dark color of the lower eyelid skin and shadows beneath the lower eyelid. It could even be a combination of different problems, which is why it is important to understand what causes dark circles before figuring out how to correct or remove them from under the eyes.
Here are six reasons why you have dark under-eye circles and their treatment options:
Reason 1: Thin skin -The lower eyelid skin is the thinnest skin on the body. Because eyelid skin is so thin light passes through the skin and the purple color of the eyelid muscle shows through the skin.
Solution: It is impossible to significantly thicken lower eyelid skin, but repeated treatments with the 1540 nonablative fractional erbium laser can cause microscopic new collagen growth in the deeper layers of the eyelid skin to thicken the skin and help remove dark circles under the eyes.
Reason 2: Pigment -Sun exposure can cause additional pigmentation of the lower eyelid skin. Typically this pigment appears on the surface and can appear as freckles, brown spots, or a uniform tan color.
Solution: Microdermabrasion and the bleaching cream Hydroquinone can reduce superficial pigment and should be done before more invasive methods. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) or Photofacial light treatments are a very effective method to remove dark circles under eyes caused by pigment but can only be done on fair skinned individuals. Darker skin types can be treated with the 1540 non ablative laser to remove pigment. Sunscreen and sunglasses are good preventative measures.
Reason 3: Small blood vessels -Because the eyelid skin is so thin you can actually see tiny veins and blood vessels. In many people there is an abundance of small vessels which actually create additional purplish blue color to the lower eyelid skin.
Solution: IPL is very effective at closing small veins and blood vessels. Reducing the number of small vessels is an effective way to remove dark circles under the eyes caused by the bluish color of the vessels. IPL should not be used on dark skin types.
Reason 4: Depression of the Orbital Bone- Some people have a small depression in the bone of the eye socket near the nose, which causes a shadow beneath the lower eyelid running from the corner of the eyes to the middle of the pupil.
Solution: The best treatment in my opinion is to have lower eyelid surgery, or a blepharoplasty, potentially followed by fat grafting. An alternative is using dermal filler instead of surgery with only small amounts of the dermal filler, Restylane. However, repeated injections through the eyelid skin are not advised.
Reason 5: Lack of eyelid fat –Hollow Eyes-this is caused by lack of normal intraorbital fat inside the eye socket surrounding the eyeball. Because of the lack of fat, the lower eyelid sinks in and creates a shadow or dark circle under the eye or a “hollow eye” look.
Solution: Surgically adding fat beneath the eyelid is the most effective way to remove dark circles under the eyes caused by lack of fat around the eye. Fillers can be used but again, repeated injections into the eyelid deep enough to correct this problem can cause problems.
Reason 6: Aging of the eyelid -As the eyelid ages, normal eyelid fat protrudes out against the lower eyelid. This causes what is typically called eye bags or puffy eyes.
Solution: Blepharoplasty is the more permanent and effective technique to remove dark circles under eyes caused by aging. During surgery excess fat causing eye bags is removed. Some of the fat is placed back into the eye beneath the depression, while excess skin is removed if necessary and the eyelid muscle tightened.
Who Should Remove Dark Circles under the Eyes?
Because of the importance and delicate nature of the eye and eyelids only a very experienced board certified plastic surgeon with experience in eyelid surgery should attempt these sophisticated techniques on the eyelids. Consult a plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and start your search in the Smart Beauty Guide.
Very few Physicians are experienced using laser techniques on the eyelid. Ask your plastic surgeon if they are experienced in removal of dark circles under the eyes and ask to see before and after photos of patients that the surgeon has treated.
WARNING: Be aware that corneal shields, protective covers for the eye and special techniques to pull the eyelid down against the bone of the eye socket during laser pulses are needed. All treatments must be done with an appropriate physician in attendance in a medical setting.