How do dermatologists treat dark circles?
Dark circles are very stubborn and a bane to a youthful appearance. No matter how much you try to rub them out, they won’t just go away. They say eyes are the windows of the soul but nobody wants to look into the eyes surrounded by dark circles. Periorbital dark circles are a nightmare for everyone, they not only make you look very tired and sleepy, but they also add age to your face.
Dark circles can make your face look tired and exhausted even when you are not. Nobody wants dark circles but they appear nonetheless. There are many exogenous and endogenous factors that can cause dark circles. Racoon eyes can take a toll on one’s professional and personal life by making you fatigued at all times even after you have been well rested. And it affects your confidence as well. It’s very rare to see dark circles in children but they are very common in adult males and females. There are many creams and lotions available in the market but they don’t do a good job. Fortunately, dermatologists have many modern proactive dark circle treatments at their disposal that can help you get rid of dark circles once and for all.
Before we delve into the best treatment options for dark circles, it is important to understand what is causing the dark circles in the first place.
What causes dark circles?
Bags under the eyes and puffy eyelids are the most common indication of under-eye dark circles. The skin around our eyes is very delicate and as we age there are many factors that can cause dark circles directly and indirectly. The reasons for dark circles include
- Lack of sleep
- Hormonal changes
- Aging and loss of collagen
- Disturbed routines
- Lack of vitamin-rich diet
- Not wearing sunscreen
- Not wearing sunglasses
- Too long screen time
- Lack of hydration
- Blood disorders and insulin resistance
- Sudden change in body weight
- low haemoglobin levels
- volume loss and periorbital hyperpigmentation in the under-eye area
- Chronic rubbing
- Alcohol overuse
- Hay fever
- Sinus congestion
Periorbital hyperpigmentation is caused because of excessive melanin production and since the skin around the eyes is thin it becomes more pronounced. Aging is another direct factor causing dark circles. This happens because as the skin loses collagen it also starts to become translucent and loses volume causing the orbital bone to show up and the hollows under and next to the eyes. The third main reason is allergic shiners i.e., darkness under the eyes because of blood pooling from allergies. If you try and treat the delicate skin under the eyes with chemicals and makeup concealers or some non-tested home remedies then you will just be doing more damage than good and can even damage the eyes. Hence it is important that you get the best treatments for dark circles to bring shine and life back to your eyes.
If you too are noticing pronounced dark circles under the eyes then it is best to consult a good dermatologist for the right dark circle treatment. The dermatologist will first recommend a physical examination and check for other diseases before recommending a dark circle removal treatment.
Types of dark circles
Under-eye circles are classified on the basis of their appearance such as
- Pigmented dark circles which are brown in hue and are caused because of extra melanin production and uneven pigment distribution
- Vascular dark circles cause blue, pink, or purple discoloration and puffiness under the eyes. They are a result of decreased blood flow and retention of fluid around the eyes.
- Structural dark circles are usually shadows under the eyes caused because of skin laxity or fat loss under the skin
- Mixed dark circles are a mix of the above three
Dark circle treatments
Dark circles are not detrimental to a person’s health but can be a reason for a poor quality of life. The treatment begins with the start of identifying the cause of dark circles then the dermatologist can help you work out the best dark circle treatment including some lifestyle changes.
Under-eye circle treatments are both invasive and non-invasive. The most popular ones include
Mild cases of dark circles can be easily treated with Retin-A and Hydroquinone. These treatments take about four to six weeks to show their results.
Soft tissue fillers
This is a simple dark circle removal treatment that uses fillers such as hyaluronic acid. When injected under the skin the fillers fill in the hollows and stimulate natural collagen production to improve the health of the skin under the eyes. Fillers produce a natural-looking but subtle change to the under-eye circles that last for a year. Fillers are not suitable for pigmented or vascular dark circles.
Skin lightening creams
These creams are used by dermatologists to treat dark circles caused because of hyperpigmentation. Skin lightening creams for under-eye circle treatments include azelaic acid, Kojic acid, and glycolic acid. Skin-lightening products should be used as prescribed as overuse of this chemical can cause skin damage and permanent scarring. Also, ensure that you use the creams consistently for the best results.
Laser treatment for a dark circle is one of the most effective and quick ways to get rid of dark circles permanently without any scarring. Laser therapy works very well for Indian skin tones. Lasers work by using heat energy to break down the damaged cells and vaporize them. The best treatment for dark circles uses two types of lasers namely non-ablative lasers and ablative lasers. Lasers can be used to treat hyperpigmented dark circles, vascular dark circles, and structural circles.
Different types of lasers are used to treat dark circles depending on their appearance. The treatment plan is based on how the skin actually absorbs it and the wavelength, pulse features, etc. For example
- Carbon dioxide laser is used to promote collagen production and has very few side effects.
- Fractional CO2 lasers are more effective than traditional lasers. They cause microscopic damage to the skin cells and as the skin heals it increases the collagen production process. Fraction CO2 lasers don’t cause any damage to the surrounding nerves and thus the recovery time is minimal and fast. These types of lasers are also used for the treatment of dark circles caused because of pigmentation and vascularity.
- Pulse dye laser use suitable for vascular dark circles as it helps shrink the blood vessels and reduce the bluish circles under the eyes.
- Q-switched lasers are primarily used for the treatment of under-eye circles caused because of hyperpigmentation.
Light to medium chemical peels is used to treat hyperpigmentation dark circles. This dermatological procedure involves applying a mild chemical agent on the skin these cause the upper layer of the skin to peel off and the new skin is more even tone, smooth and clear. The chemical peels contain combinations of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol or carbolic acid or glycolic acid, retinoic acid or hydroquinone. Make sure you take proper precaution post chemical peel treatments and always wear sunscreen of SPF 30 +++ and above.
Dark circle removals are a very effective procedure and they work very well in getting even-toned and more youthful looking skin. However if you don’t take care of your skin then there is a chance that they might come back. Here are some simple tips that can help you keep the dark circles at bay for a long time
- Get about 8 hours of sleep every day.
- Keep your head elevated when sleeping. This increases blood circulation and reduces swelling under the eyes.
- Apply a cold compress under the eyes if you notice vasculature.
- Keep sun exposure to minimum and protect your eyes by using sunscreen, moisturizers, hats, and sunglasses to prevent dark circles.
- Vitamin C increases collagen production under the eyes and thus reduces discolouration. Therefore, vitamin C beauty products should be a part of your skin care routine.
- Retinoid creams help decrease melanin content and this reduces the appearance of dark circles.
- Make sure that you take a balanced diet at all time that includes vitamins and minerals.
Cost of dark circles treatment
The cost of under-eye circle treatments varies with the type and duration of the treatment.
The cause of dark circles can be one or two reasons and therefore the selection of treatment also varies accordingly. For example, the pigment related dark circles can be treated with the use of creams, peels, mesotherapy and/or Q switch ND YAG Laser. Similarly for structural related dark circles fillers using hyaluronic acids and collagen are the best choice. Therefore, it is best to go to an expert dermatologist for the right and long-lasting treatment.