Darkish circles: All of the causes, at-home cures, remedies and extra

Today, it’s almost a rare occurrence to meet someone who doesn’t count dark circles as one of their skincare concerns. The onset of the pandemic and living in lockdown all through 2020 only made this worse, thanks to non-existent sleep schedules and a whole lot of stress and uncertainty. However, not all dark circles have the same causes, nor do they have a one-size-fits-all treatment to nurse your under-eye skin back to health. We got German aesthetics doctor, Dr Barbara Sturm—who counts Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian West as her clients—to help us decode our dark circles and choose just the right formula to treat them.

Causes of dark circles

Dr Sturm explains breaks down every possible reason that can lead to dark under-eye circles.

  1. Even if you didn’t have to deal with dark under-eye circles in your 20s, it’s possible that you’ll start to see them come around as you get older. “As we age, we lose fat and collagen under the eyes, leading to thinner skin and more visible exposure of the dark blood cells lying just below your skin.”
  2. Do your parents or grandparents also have dark circles that have been around through the decades? You may have inherited them. “Genetics can play a role—having thin skin under the eyes prompts greater visibility of the purple and blue hues from the veins that lie beneath the skin, and melanin-rich skin that’s more susceptible to hyperpigmentation can be more likely to experience under-eye circles.”
  3. Have a persistent cold? It could be the reason for the dark crescents under your eyes. “Poor circulation in the lower eyelid, which can be caused by allergies or nasal congestion can also cause the veins under the eye to dilate and become darker.”
  4. You can’t talk about dark circles without taking into account to all the time we spend in front of a screen, especially now more than ever. “Increased computer and screen time causes eye strain, and irritation from rubbing your eyes that exacerbates the above.”

Ingredients to look out for in an eye cream

Whether a loss of collagen is the cause for your dark circles, lack of moisture or simply tired skin that needs a boost of energy, using an eye cream with the right ingredients can make all the difference.

To moisturise your under-eyes

“Include a good eye cream in your daily routine that contains ingredients such as panthenol and glycerine for moisture-locking and skin-soothing,” suggests Dr Sturm. Creams and gels with hyaluronic acid and ceramides can also help to plump and lift the area.

To brighten your under-eye area

Dr Sturm is a fan of using an eye cream with yeast extract to brighten and depuff your skin. “My [Dr Barbara Sturm] Eye Cream works with every skin type to treat eye puffiness and dark circles. I often call it ‘eye pudding’ because of its unique texture. It’s a super lightweight, very nourishing and deeply hydrating cream that contains a special complex of golden root, sugar beet and yeast that provides a soothing, de-puffing effect. It dissolves right into your skin and leaves it hydrated, refreshed and revived.” Ingredients like kojic acid and Vitamin C both have skin brightening properties and are beneficial to treat under-eye pigmentation. Also, while drinking coffee may dehydrate your skin, using eye creams infused with caffeine and green tea can help temporarily perk up your dark circles.

To prevent the thinning skin under your eyes

Eye creams with retinol and collagen are the most effective to nourish under-eye skin that’s thinned over the years. While retinol helps to increase cell turnover, collagen plumps and lifts the skin, making it appear much healthier.

In-clinic procedures for dark circles

While a healthy lifestyle and solid skincare routine are essential to help manage your dark circles, you can also sign up for treatments at your aesthetician’s clinic that are designed to improve the health of your under-eye area. “Cosmetic treatments performed by the right hands can be helpful; small amounts of well-administered filler can create a cushioning between the skin and blood vessels that temporarily hide any darkness and boost density,” says Dr Sturm who has her own spas in Düsseldorf, Germany along with New York City and the most recent one in Los Angeles, USA. “Microneedling, which delivers controlled micro-injury to the skin, can be an effective under-eye treatment option because it stimulates collagen production and allows skincare products to be absorbed deeper into the skin.”

Also read:

Now, stickers with microneedles can help fix everything from acne to wrinkles

All you need to know about adding hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine

All the skincare and makeup tips to conceal and prevent dark circles

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