Dark undereye circles are an easily recognizable condition that can result from stress, fatigue, heredity, aging, and other factors. Dark circles appear under the eyes more often on older individuals as the skin around the eyes loses elasticity. Because the skin around the eyes is subjected to more stress than most other areas of the skin, this is one of the earliest problem areas for many patients. There are a variety of treatments available that can remedy the condition, and most are relatively non-invasive.
Causes of Dark Undereye Circles
Dark circles under the eyes can result from many different causes. Dark undereye circles are an inherited trait related to bone structure and skin pigment. Facial bone structure that produces the appearance of deep-set eyes also contributes to the appearance of shadowed undereye circles. Veins around the eyes are more prominent on individuals with pale skin, and this can accentuate dark undereye circles. For some people, exposure to the sun can lead to excessive melanin production in the area under the eyes, which also results in dark circles under the eyes.
A variety of medical conditions can also contribute directly or indirectly to the appearance of dark undereye circles. Allergies and asthma lead to itchy, swollen eyes that can be made worse by scratching. Any medication that dilates blood vessels can affect the skin around the eyes, making the area darker. Undereye circles sometimes indicate circulatory problems, including kidney and liver malfunction. Nutritional problems, particularly a shortage of vitamin K, and dehydration can also cause the condition.
Stress, fatigue, and aging can contribute to the appearance of dark undereye circles. These factors can be the sole cause of the condition, and they can exacerbate the appearance of dark circles in combination with other causes. Dark undereye circles caused by stress and fatigue can often be remedied by getting adequate rest and proper nutrition. Age-related undereye circles and persistent dark circles that result from other causes, however, typically require cosmetic treatment from a qualified cosmetic dermatologist.
Prevention of Dark Circles
Undereye circles can be prevented or minimized in many individuals. The best methods for doing this include using a daily moisturizer with sunscreen, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of iron and vitamin K, and getting enough sleep.
For most young people, these preventive methods will be enough to keep dark circles from becoming a problem. As people grow older, however, the skin is less able to rebound from stress, fatigue, and exposure to environmental elements, even with the aid of nutrition, sleep, and moisturizing lotions. For this reason older individuals who have dark undereye circles often seek effective treatment from a qualified cosmetic dermatologist.
Treatment for Dark Undereye Circles
There are a variety of treatments available for dark undereye circles. Many topical creams are available that have been specifically designed to address undereye circles. Common ingredients include chamomile and vitamin E. Laser resurfacing and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL™) treatments are good options because they can reduce or eliminate the appearance of prominent veins and capillaries. Chemical peels, too, can be effective in rejuvenating skin around the eyes to eliminate dark circles by exfoliating damaged upper layers of skin to reveal new, healthier skin. Also, injectable dermal filler procedures such as collagen injection and fat transfer can be used to augment recessed areas to eliminate the shadowing that can give the appearance of dark undereye circles.
Consult a Dermatologist for More Information
For patients concerned about developing dark undereye circles, the DocShop network provides a way to find a cosmetic dermatologist near you. DocShop lists doctors throughout the United States by specialty and location.
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