What to Do with Dark Circles Around the Eye

Do people constantly ask if you’re tired because of dark circles under your eyes?

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Do people constantly ask if you’re tired because of dark circles under your eyes?

Don’t worry. It’s a fairly common condition.

Mild cases of dark circles may be adequately covered with cosmetics. Finding the correct color at a drugstore make-up display isn’t easy. A professional make-up artist can assist in finding the right make-up primer, foundation and concealing products.

But not everyone finds that make-up provides adequate coverage, especially if the area is saggy, wrinkled and discolored. Make-up tends to creep into lines around the eyes, which draws more attention to the dark circles instead of concealing them

Physician Michael Nazareth, a board-certified dermatologist and president of Western New York Dermatology in Williamsville, said that under-eye circles are most common as facial skin ages.

“The skin itself can have increased laxity resulting in the development of superficial fine lines and wrinkles,” Nazareth said. “There can also be some skin hyper-pigmentation that goes along with this. However, some of the under-eye ‘bags’ are actually due to a greater protrusion of the small pockets of fat under the eye.”

Nazareth said that retinol-based topical treatments can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that often accompany under-eye circles, as well as help even out the appearance of the skin pigmentation.

More invasive treatments include laser and Thermi treatments, which uses temperature-controlled radiofrequency energy to help decrease the unwanted pigmentation.

The most stubborn under-eye circles may need more invasive treatment.

“Definitive treatment of any large protruding ‘bags’ requires surgical lower lid blepharoplasty,” Nazareth said. “While that can be more involved, everyone can take simple steps to help.”

He advises clients with under-eye circles to get enough sleep, moderate salt intake, drink plenty of fluids and protect skin with sunglasses and hats. Reducing stress also contributes to good health and appearance.

At-home remedies may offer temporary reduction of the appearance of under-eye circles. These include applying cold cucumber slices or cooled tea bags under the eyes. Anecdotally, applying Preparation H and creams that contain caffeine is also said to help reduce puffiness and under-eye circles.

Elise DeLuke, dermatologist and owner of DeLuke Dermatology in Amherst, said that under-eye circles “can be tough to treat,” but injected fillers can help reduce their appearance. The procedure can cause some initial bruising and swelling, but the results can last a year, she said.