Dark Eye Circles/dɑːk ʌɪ ˈsəːk(ə)ls/ dark blemishes or discoloration under the eyes.
Dark eye circles are a major cause of psychological problems for a lot of Asian women. People with dark eye circles are often misunderstood as tired looking and takes years off their actual age. This affects self-confidence, especially in a society where judgement is easily passed based purely on how you look.
What causes dark eye circles
Dark eye circles begin in the capillaries, the tiny blood vessels that web the delicate skin around the eyes. Now, your capillaries are so small that red blood cells sometimes have to line up, single file, to get through. Frequently, red blood cells get lost and wander into the surrounding skin. This isn't a problem - it happens all the time - and your body has a mechanism to mop up these escapees. Enzymes in your body break down the red blood cells, including their hemoglobin (the molecule that gives them their distinctive red color).
When hemoglobin is broken down, its remaining components have a dark blue-black color. Just like a bruise. So your dark under-eye circles are actually caused by leaky capillaries.
You can test it yourself to know if your dark eye circles are caused by excess pigment by pulling the skin around the eye sideways and check if the darkness turns blotchy. More than often, dark eye circles are more than just about changes in the colour of the skin. Instead, dark eye circles are also caused by the loss of volume in fats, muscle and bone resorption in the area under the eye. This exposes the orbital bone, creating a hollow trough that shows up as dark eye circles. With the delicate eye area one of the first spots to reveal signs of aging, this can happen as early as late 30s or 40s.
Dark eye circles or under-eye discoloration occurs easily if you have thin under eye skin. Thin skin exposes
1. Bone structure easily
2. Tiny blood vessels that just lie below the thin skin surface giving dark the circles the prominence we hate to have.
Loss of volume
Dark eye circles can be attributed to sunken eyes, and sunken eyes are caused by the loss of fats in the area under the eye and with all things that suffered from loss of volume, it gets deflated. Click here to read more about sunken eyes. As the skin gets deflated inwards, the tiny blood vessels underneath the skin are much closer to the skin thus giving rise to dark eye circles. This happens easily when you have think skin and suffers from sunken eyes.
The second type of dark eye circles is caused by eyebags. Fats underneath the eye migrates forward towards the skin, causing a bulge we called eyebags about 1cm below the lower eyelid. Click here to read more about eyebags. In this case, there can be 2 different reasons to how dark eye circles come about or it can be combination of both reasons.
1. When eyebags are formed, tiny blood vessels just under the skin get pushed closer to the skin, causing discoloration in the surface of the very delicate and thin skin just underneath the eye area, giving rise to dark eye circles.
2. With these bulging eyebags, a shadow is cast on the underside of the eyebag, giving rise to dark eye circles.
Non Medical Solutions for Dark Eye Circles
Herbal & natural
Having a nutritious and balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, yogurt and sprouts along with unprocessed food will go a long help in the prevention of dark eye cricles. Daily exercise, along with deep breathing, helps blood circulation, oxygenation and control of stress. Adequate sleep and relaxation are very important.
Gentle movements and a light touch are essential while handling the area, to remove make up or apply creams. It is better not to massage the area, so that the skin does not get pulled or stretched in any way.
Eye fatigue can also be relived with washing. Wash your eyes with warm water and follow this with cold water. This improves blood circulation to the eyes and soothes them. It also cleanses the eyes and relieves congestion.
A common remedy is the application of cucumber juice as eye mask, and it should be applied daily around the ees and washed off with plain water after 15 minutes. Mixing potato juice with cucumber juice in equal quantities helps if there is puffiness along with dark circles. Follow the same procedure.Dark circles can also be treated by mixing cucumber juice with lemon juice in equal quantities.
Along with external care and a healthy lifestyle, take time off for relaxation, using eye pads. Take cotton wool and make two thick square pads. They can be soaked in cucumber juice or rose water. Lie down, close your eyes and put the soaked pads on them. Keep them on for about 15 minutes. Used tea bags can also be used as eye pads.
Applying a compress of iced water or cold milk directly over closed lids for 15 to 20 minutes also helps.
Q Switch Nd:YAG Treatment for Dark Eye Circles
What is Q Switch Nd:YAG?
Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) is a crystal that is used as a laser medium for solid-state lasers. The triply ionised neodymium [Nd(III)] dopant (ie a substance added in minute amounts to another pure substance to alter its conductivity), typically replaces a small fraction of the yttrium ions in the host crystal structure, since the two ions are of similar size.The neodymium ion provides the laser activity in the crystal. Nd:YAG laser has a wave length of 1064 nm and has the capability to reach deeper layers of skin tissue than other types of lasers.
In Q-switched mode, Nd:YAG produces 2 wavelengths, one in the infrared range (1064 nm) and a second beam of 532 nm wavelength which is useful for superficial skin lesions. Q-switching refers to the technique of making the laser produce a high intensity beam in very short pulses. Lasers work by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition will create heat and destroy diseased cells.
What to expect from Q Switch Nd:YAG?
Each Q Switch Nd:YAG treatment last between 15 – 45 minutes, and most patients see the best results with 1 – 5 sessions. It is extremely effective in treating skin problems like skin pigmentation, thin skin with no downtime. Side effects with Q Switch Nd:YAG Side effects from Nd:YAG laser treatment are usually minor and may include:
1. Pain during treatment (reduced by contact cooling and if necessary, topical anaesthetic).
2. Redness, swelling and itching immediately after the procedure that may last a few days after treatment.
3. Rarely, skin pigment may absorb too much light energy and blistering can occur (this settles by itself).
4. Changes in skin pigmentation. Sometimes the pigment cells (melanocytes) can be damaged, leaving darker (hyperpigmentation) or paler (hypopigmentation) patches of skin. Generally, cosmetic lasers will work better on people with lighter rather than darker skin tones.
5. Bruising affects up to 10% of patients. It usually fades on its own.
6. Bacterial infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat or to prevent wound infection.Interested to learn more about Q-Switch Nd:YAG and how this procedure can help you? Please call 65 6532 2400 to book an appointment with Dr Ee or leave a comment at the end of the article, or simply drop Dr Ee an email here.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing Treatment for Dark Eye Circles
What is CO2 Laser Resurfacing Treatment?
CO2 Laser Resurfacing is the gold standard for skin resurfacing in order to treat the effects of facial skin aging and this is how it works. The lasers penetrate the top skin layers, stimulating collagen and resurface the top skin layer. Your skin’s natural rejuvenation process helps to reduce the pigmentation that causes the dark eye circles.
What to expect from CO2 Laser Resurfacing Treatment?
CO2 works best on thin skin and could also improve wrinkles appearance and each CO2 Laser Resurfacing treatment last between 15 – 45 minutes, and most patients see the best results with 1 – 5 CO2 Laser Resurfacing treatment sessions. Since CO2 Laser Resurfacing treatment works with your body’s natural skin cells, results typically take 1 to 3 weeks to take effect and individual results varies.
Side effects with CO2 Laser Resurfacing Treatment
Some may experience redness, swelling, and slight crusting and oozing which usually subsides within 5 to 7 days with regular application of ice and prescribed healing ointments. A light pink appearance to the skin may last an additional 7-14 days, but can be camouflaged with make-up.
Infrequently, skin rawness or exacerbation of a pre-existing cold sore can occur. Thus, please inform the doctor before the laser surgery if a history of cold sores exists.
Prescriptions for medications to take prior to and during the healing phase of the procedure will be provided. These medications will help to decrease the risk of infection.
Long-term risks of discoloration and scarring are rare, but can potentially occur whenever there is disruption of the skin’s surface. Strict adherence to all advised postoperative instructions will reduce the possibility of unwanted side effects and complications.
Dermal Fillers for Dark Eye Circles
What are Fillers?
Fillers are made of biodegradable material like Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in all living things and it breaks down within hours. Hyaluronic acid fillers are cross-linked to ensure that the body doesn’t metabolize the hyaluronic acid within hours, allowing some hyaluronic acid fillers to last from 3 months to a year after injection.
Fillers can be very helpful in those with early signs of aging, and are injected into either the skin tissue layers or on the bone to achieve reduction of static wrinkles appearance and enhancement of facial features due to its volumizing and sculpting abilities.
How do Fillers help with dark eye circles?
Fillers can be injected either superficially or deep in the area of your dark eye circles to either pump up the volume, softening your dark eye circles in the process.
What to expect from Fillers?
Having fillers injection will not change your look into a different person. It enhances your current facial features while still looking like yourself and no one can tell that you actually had fillers injection done. Even though fillers are clinically proven to last up to a year, its longevity depends a lot on individuals’ metabolic rate, lifestyle, area injected and volume injected.
Side effects of Fillers
Complications from fillers are uncommon. Potential risks vary depending on the specific filler used and the relative permanence of the filler substance and include:
1. Acne-like skin eruptions
3. Bruising, bleeding from the injection site, swelling
4. Damage to the skin that results in a wound and possible scarring
5. Infection at the injection site
7. Palpability of the filler under the surface of the skin
8. Skin rash with itching
9. Skin redness
10. Under- or over-correction of wrinklesInterested to learn more about Dermal Fillers and how this procedure can help you? Please call 65 6532 2400 to book an appointment with Dr Ee or leave a comment at the end of the article, or simply drop Dr Ee an email here.
Creams for Dark Eye Circles
Does cream work well for dark eye circles?
There are a variety of skin lightening agents which can be somewhat effective in some individuals. Most commonly they contain bleaching agents such as hydroquinone or Kojic acid. Hydroquinone should be used in concentrations less than 4% because of the potential for a black sooty condition, termed ochronsis. Hydroquinone may also aggregate sensitive skin, cause redness and dryness of the skin; therefore it is not an effective dark eye circles treatment.
Treatment Protocols for Different Causes of Dark Eye Circles
Medically proven Laser treatment machines that are approved by Singapore Health Science Authority and only qualified doctors are allowed to use these Laser treatment machines. CO2 Laser Resurfacing Treatment, Q-Switch Nd:YAG and fillers are all effective ways to improve your dark eye circles.Are you disturbed by your dark eye circles caused by skin pigmentation? Please call 65 6532 2400 to book an appointment with Dr Ee or leave a comment at the end of the article, or simply drop Dr Ee an email here.
Dark eye circles caused by thin skin can be first treated with dermal fillers to create a fuller volume and subsequently treated with Q Switch Nd:YAG or C02 Laser resurfacing.
Loss of volume
Since sunken eyes are caused by loss of fat volume in the area under the eye, filler injection treatment to have the volume restored or replenished is an option to treat the dark eye circles. Depending on how sunken the area is, up to 2ml of filler may be needed and subsequently, cream that contains Hydroquinone, which are only available through doctor’s prescription, can be used to lighten the area, and laser treatment like CO2 Laser Resurfacing treatment can be performed to significantly improve the dark eye circles.Are you disturbed by your dark eye circles caused by loss of volume? Please call 65 6532 2400 to book an appointment with Dr Ee or leave a comment at the end of the article, or simply drop Dr Ee an email here.
For dark eye circles caused by eyebags, treating the root cause of the problem would be the most useful and efficient way of obtaining results. There are a few different ways we can approach this problem by determining if your eyebags are mild or moderate to severe.
If the eyebags are not serious, fillers can be injected to smooth the contours so as to mask out the eyebags. Fillers are temporary injectables that are injected within the skin tissue layers to create volume thus, erasing static wrinkle lines and reshape and volumize facial features that look flat or sunken. Fillers are manufactured by various medical companies and clinical studies have shown that 8 out of 10 patients enjoyed the effects of fillers between a period of 6 to 9 months, some lasting as much as 15-24 months with a touch up session at either month 3 or month 12. As temporary fillers are gradually broken down by your body once injected into your face, the effects wear off gradually over the months and individual results definitely vary.Do you think you have dark eye circles caused by mild eyebags and would like to get rid of it? Please call 65 6532 2400 to book an appointment with Dr Ee or leave a comment at the end of the article, or simply drop Dr Ee an email here.
Moderate to Severe Eyebags
If you have dark eye circles caused by moderate to severe eyebags, you should consider having the eyebags removed first before considering other options like laser, and/or fillers. Click here to find out what causes eyebags and how to get rid of them.