Because they can be caused by so many different issues, there is no one treatment that helps everybody. Excess blood in veins and capillaries can cause the darkening. Fine lines in the skin below your eye can create shadows, which in turn cause dark circles.
If you have puffy lower lids and/or protrusion of the upper lid, eyebrow, and orbital bone, that will cause more shadows (a.k.a. darkness) as light typically comes from above us. And excess pigment in the skin, whether it’s brown pigment from the sun or from other forms of injury or even pigment from blood from broken capillaries, can contribute to dark circles as well.
For patients whose fine lines and wrinkles are causing shadows, it stands to reason that anything that helps those fine lines and wrinkles will help to eliminate dark circles. A glycolic exfoliating eye cream is a great solution, as well as anything that builds collagen and hyaluronic acid like Fraxel and Profractional Lasers.
Even a moisturizer can be temporarily helpful because it plumps up the thin troughs created by wrinkles, smooths out the surface, and reduces flakes and scales on your skin. These all make the skin smoother. Smoother skin reflects light, so even if you still have dark circles, the area looks brighter and not as dark.
If the cause of your dark under eye circles is excess blood creating hues of reds and purples, then vascular lasers will be helpful. Dr. Schultz says, “If you have very strong muscles of the lower lid that causes a puffiness just below the lid margin, then Botox in that part of the lower lid will reduce the puffiness, and therefore, also reduce the shadow.”
If the dark circles are caused by brown melanin pigmentation in the epidermis, then exfoliation and brighteners can help with those kinds of dark circles. When buffered and properly adjusted to the right pH, glycolic eye cream can create a chemical reaction that dissolves the skin's "glue" that holds dead skin cells on the skin's outermost layers.
Thus, through regular application of glycolic eye cream, your under eye area can be free of lingering dead skin cells that are affecting your skin's ability to reflect light and that contain excess brown pigment. Once your skin can reflect more light, your dark circles will decrease.
You may have a situation where your dark under eye circles stem from a shadow problem due to a bulge (puffiness) and the trough below it. This trough is caused by a loss of fat, collagen, and bone over the years. Dr. Schultz explains, “So the puffiness is caused by fat protrusion or swelling below the eye, and the contrast between the height of the puff and depth of the trough creates a shadow from overhead light. You want to fill in the low point. So we put Filler in the trough after we reduce the puff and therefore decrease the difference in the height of the contours, leading to decrease shadow.”
Another way to combat shadows caused by puffiness is to use Skin Tightening. This process heats the skin to shrink the fibers around the fat that’s part of the puffiness. That causes a decrease in the bulge which, of course, causes a decrease in the shadow.
Our biggest difference from other practices is that we’re able to separate the different causes of these dark under eye circles so we’re able to customize an effective treatment for the care of your dark circles. Effective treatment of dark under eye circles may have been elusive in the past, but our team will determine what the actual cause of the dark circle is and address it. From exfoliation to decrease shadowing to Fillers evening out the skin’s contours, we have a method to treat exactly what your skin needs.
When you come into your appointment, we will ask you to share your problem areas and we will propose the best treatment plan for you. Depending on what’s suggested, whether it’s a Glycolic Peel, Lasers, Botox or Fillers, will determine on how long your appointment takes and how soon you’ll see results.
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Make your skin care a priority with leading-dermatologist and New York Magazine’s “Top Doctor”: Dr. Neal Schultz.