What causes dark circles?
The common cause of dark circles is hereditary wherein you inherit the tendency to get dark circles as early as childhood and it generally responds poorly to any treatment. Sun exposure is another common culprit causing dark circles.
Dark circles can be only pigmentation or caused by damage to underlying blood vessels. The blood vessels under the eyes are very fragile and easily break on the insult of any kind whether it is internal or external factors. Once the blood vessels break or leak, the pooled blood shows a purple colour or darkish hue. Loss of volume and fat pouching under the eye with age can also worsen or make hollows under-eye prominent. Other causes are lack of adequate sleep, erratic sleeping patterns, stress, frequent cosmetic use, frequent eye rubbing, and vision issues like myopia not being detected on time.

Do certain beauty habits (for example, not taking off kajal before sleeping at night) leads to increased dark circles?

Few of the daily beauty habits can unknowingly aggravate dark circles.
• Not removing your eye makeup properly or sleeping with eye makeup on. This can lead to dryness and irritation around eyes.
• Sunexposure – regular daily sun exposure, even for a short time specially in the peak 12-4 hours, can lead to damage of skin around eyes and worsen dark circles.
• Smoking worsens dark circles because of nicotine, it hampers sleep and adds to dark circles.
• Wrong application of eye serums –the skin around eyes is delicate and the small capillaries easily break on trauma. Massaging or rubbing the eye area too much or incorrectly while applying the eye creams or serums can lead to rupture of tiny blood vessels and worsen the bluish hue under eye.

What beauty regimen should I follow to avoid premature dark circles?

• From the mid-20s start using a good moisturizing eye cream containing vitamin Carotenoids, hyaluronic, seaweed extracts, active peptides, Q10 coenzyme, etc. These ingredients reduce puffiness and dark circles.
• It is important to use sunscreen daily on top of the eye cream and to re-apply every 3-4 hours, to prevent sun damage which is one of the foremost causes of eye ageing.
• Wear sun-protecting shades which have UVA & UVB protection when outdoors.
• Also avoid consuming salty foods and alcohol late at night as it will worsen the eye bags and dark circles.
• Ensure a good 6-8 hours’ sleep preferably from 11 pm-7 am as it balances your stress hormones and reduces dark circles.
• Sleep with your head slightly elevated to reduce puffiness when you wake up.

What beauty treatments should I avoid?

Beauty treatments when done properly and professionally do not cause undereye issues. The most common error is steaming of the eyes during facials as it can cause dryness and irritation. Make sure you cover your eyes with wet cotton pads before any steam on the face. Eyelash extensions is another popular treatment that can go wrong or worsen skin issues under the eye when not done with professional or cheap quality products are used. In case eye peels are done for dark circles, ensure you do it with a certified dermatologist to avoid skin burns and worsening of pigmentation under the eye.

What treatments can be safely opted for to control dark circles?
What’s the best way to treat dark circles?

The first step is to determine whether the dark circles are caused by pigmentation or damage to underlying blood vessels. A simple trick is to press the skin under the eye. When the skin colour remains unchanged it is pigmentation due to hereditary or sunlight and in case it reduces on pressure, it is mainly due to damage of underlying capillaries. In case it is pigmentation under eye (discolouration will be more brownish or blackish hue), choose creams containing kojic acid, licorice, sabiwhite, niacinamide and Vitamin C. The other treatments done by dermatologists are that are done are fruit acid peels under the eye. The sessions are done once in 15 days, results are seen starting from first session and about 3-4 sessions are required for good results. The Yavana Radiante eye treatment is a popular treatment that utilizes TriPollar radiofrequency to drain the under toxins, improve oxygenation and reduce puffy eyes. Fractional Q-switched laser Helios III and the Fraxis Duo are other laser technologies used to reduce dark circles.

In case the underlying blood vessels are damaged (discoloration will be more purplish hue), use creams containing retinoids and hyaluronic acid to build collagen and elastin under eye and minimize eye irritation. Dermal fillers like Juvederm under the eye are more helpful to conceal and reduce the dark circles in such cases. Dermatologists deposit the filler in the hollows under the eye to improve the fatigued appearance. Results are immediate, only one session is adequate and lasts for 10-12 months. High intensity Focussed Ultrasound therapy such as Ultra former and Ultherapy is a newer treatment to reduce under eye puffiness and fine lines under the eye. Single session is required, results take about 1-3 months and last upto 6-9 months.

What’s the best way to disguise existing dark circles?

Concealers are the best temporary fixes for dark circles. Use a cream based concealer under the eye. Choose a colour according to the skin discoloration. For a purplish or bluish hue, choose a yellow or peach colour concealer. For a darkish black discolouration use a skin colour matching concealer. Apply a light weight moisturizer and primer as base and then apply the concealer.

Are there any home remedies that can be used to treat the same?

There are many home remedies that can be used to temporarily reduce dark circles.
• The best quick fix is apply cold pack, or chilled tea bag and if nothing is available chill your teaspoon in the freezer and apply it to the eyes. This will immediately relieve your puffiness and the eyes look fresh.
• Grate potatoes and apply the grated pulp around eyes for 5-10 minutes. This can be done at least 1-2 times a week.
• Rose geranium, lavender and chamomile essential oils few drops can be mixed with coconut oil and rubbed around eyes regularly to reduce dark circles.
• Mix a paste of buttermilk and turmeric, apply it around eyes and wash it off after 10 minutes with cold water.
• Have a diet rich in Vitamin A, C and antioxidants.


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