I have dark spots under my eyes; will laser help remove my dark spots under my eyes? (Photo)

My question is will laser help remove my dark spots under my eyes

Doctor Answers 8

Lasers can treat some causes of darkness under the eyes, but there are other treatments for different causes and skin types

Thank you for your question. You submitted a single photo with your eyes closed, asking if laser will help remove the dark spots under your eyes. The photos are taken at a distance so I can see more of the broad picture, and not so much the detail of the eyes, but I think I understand what you’re asking.

I’ll give you a sense of how I counsel patients like yourself who come to my practice with his type of situation. A little background: I’m a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and Fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I’ve been in practice in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years. The challenge before us every day in our practice is dealing with  dark under eye circles. I think the core of your issue is you have dark circles under the eyes, and you want to know if laser will remove those circles. It is understandable why you are asking this question as we are immersed with incredible claims about the benefits of laser, but unfortunately that tends to confuse a lot of people because we have to differentiate what a laser does, and how it fits into this type of issue. I’ll go through the steps of how I evaluate patients like you, how I first find the problem, then define the solution.

In your under eye area, I first noticed some puffiness. Puffiness is not a skin issue, but something called lower eyelid fat prolapse, which means the fat pockets normally around the eyes have pushed forward and created these bulges. If this puffy area is not constant and is either fluid or just happens to be the way as the photo was taken, we can at least understand that puffiness isn’t something a laser specifically removes. Constant puffiness is treated with a more interventional approach, such as surgical procedure called transconjunctival blepharoplasty, where the fat pockets that create this type of puffiness are reduced from the inside of the eyelid. I prefer this technique especially for people who have darker skin types, meaning a light olive skin tone and darker. Transconjunctival blepharoplasty is generally done as there is no evidence of extra skin, and it avoids issues with an incision causing discoloration or scarring.

Skin type is one of the major decision points when choosing a laser treatment or alternative treatment l. Laser is the use of a particular wavelength for certain amount of time to target a particular type of chromophore. The three major chromophores are blood, water, and melanin. When you look at someone with dark circles under their eyes, we need to see if those elements are related when considering laser treatment. There are lasers that, for example, target water so they can be applied fractionated or ablative to remove top layers of skin. The top layers of the skin can also contain some pigment that could help make the dark circles look better. There are also lasers that target the pigment itself called melanin, and other lasers also target blood. The point of this is understanding whether or not a laser would potentially cause someone with a darker skin type to actually make the area look even darker, so you have to be mindful of where laser fits in.

When we treat under eye circles, with or without addressing puffy under eye bags, we routinely do a combination of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP is derived from your own blood, and is a concentration of wound healing and growth factors that stimulate collagen and improves the appearance of dark circles . We’ve done this very successfully as a standalone procedure without laser,  getting the benefit of improving skin quality, and improving the texture and health of the skin. It’s actually been shown that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) prevents hyperpigmentation, and can be used in situations where there is hyperpigmentation, which has been shown in formal studies as well as clinically for years.

Although there are a lot of options, I think laser can have a place in your treatment plan, but you can also consider other options before going with laser. I think it’s natural to ask this question because people are so fascinated by lasers, and certainly this industry of aesthetic medicine does hype new lasers, and there’s some basis for that. Unfortunately, often the hype and the usability don’t always go together.

A laser is a tool, and it may have a role in your treatment, but it cannot be a standalone type of tool in my opinion. If I do a laser, I often combine it with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) because I want to get the benefit of the laser as a resurfacing tool, and the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to improve skin quality and texture. Sometimes even injectable fillers can have a role in improving dark under eye circles.

There are a lot of different elements to address particular anatomic issues. I think you have to make some decisions about choosing a doctor to have a proper consultation, and learn about the recommended options  even go so far saying to meet with several different doctors. You are going to get a lot of different opinions. Find a doctor you feel comfortable with, and you feel makes sense with your unique situation. Remember, skin type is very important. The same modality I would use for a lighter skin type for a person like an Irish blue-eyed person with dark circles is very different from what I do for an Indian or Arab skin type, or an even darker skin type like of with African origin, so it really has to be customized. I hope that was helpful, I wish you the best of luck, and thank you for your question.

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New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Laser Resurfacing

Thank you for your question. Yes, laser skin resurfacing techniques can assist in addressing irregular pigmentation, including the dark spots under your eyes. Always consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon. Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Combination therapy of dark circles

Thanks for your questions.  Do you mean dark circles?  If so, first I want to recommend you to treat any possible underlying causes of dark circles, such as allergies, contact dermatitis, eczema, dehydration, fatigue, sun exposures, etc.  Also it can be from the deep vascular origin which can be  treated the dark color with BBL(broad band light).  The thinning of skin and loss of fat and collagen can be improved with Halo laser or SkinTyte as well as maintaining with good moisturizers and eye creams daily. Best,   Dr. Kevin Belasco

Kevin T. Belasco, DO
Newport Beach Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

As you might expect when you ask a question of a physician, It Depends

Hello Claudia,"Dark Circles" can be due to so many things, that it's imperative to have a consultation to determine what is best for you, Even FaceTime can fail to show the true nature of one's dark circles. I continue to try and help people for convenience-sake through FaceTime Consultations, but invariably we end up meeting face-to-face at our office.It all depends on several factors. For melasma and other hyperpigmentation, a micro-peel with a fractionated CO2 laser (first with a test spot if treating melasma) can be incredibly effective.  Dark circles may also be due to very fine wrinkling of the fine lower eyelid skin due to the action of the orbicularis oculi muscle. In this case, the same fractionated CO2 laser treatment at a higher energy setting can be incredibly effective in treating one's dark circles.
If the dark circles are due to fat from the lower orbital fat compartments, the treatments are more likely to require either increasing the volume in the tear troughs or removing a small amount of fat via a surgical procedure called blepharoplasty.Ever see a fat man wearing a belt that is a bit too tight? Sorry to focus your attention on the next one you see, but notice that there will be shadows under his belly? It's kind of the same principle in the lower eyelids, you can reduce the dark circles by "loosening the belt" with fillers, or by reducing the fullness through blepharoplasty.-Dr F

Carlos Farias, MD
Chicago Physician
4.4 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Laser resurfacing can be effective on dark spots

Laser resurfacing can help with cases of rosacea, acne, sun spots, and sun damage, including the dark spots under your eyes. For young, relatively healthy skin there are less-intensive therapies like chemical Peels or facials. There is a class of lasers called Fraxel that smoothens rough patches, flattens wrinkles, and removes pigments and scar tissue. The name comes from the word "fractional," which refers to the way the devices deliver light. Instead of a solid beam, they bombard the target area with a polka-dot pattern that damages less tissue and speeds recovery. There are different fractional lasers for a range of different problems, from heavy-duty sun damage to stretch marks. Laser treatments are usually non-invasive and don’t require numbing beforehand, but for deep resurfacing, a topical anaesthetic or a combination of topical and pain injections are used. At the extreme, monitored sedation (a short-acting IV anaesthetic that puts a patient to sleep) is for some forms of ablative resurfacing, in which the laser removes skin and can cause bleeding.

Jan Zemplenyi, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Hyperpigmentation On Face/Body -- Clear + Brilliant/Viva, Microneelding/PRP, Skin lightening/Peels, Aerolase, Pico Laser

Please post photos in better lighting for evaluation. Dark spots on the face can be improved with a combination of skin care, lasers, and peels. I suggest seeking an expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 188 reviews

Dark spots under eyes.

There are several potential causes of darkening under the eyes. Often the darkening comes from loss of volume that changes the "hills and valley" and so leads to altered light refection and "shadowing". This can usually be addressed with fillers. Sometimes pigment changes on the skin can occur that are often improved with bleaching creams, cryotherapy (freezing) and or lasers. Occasionally the blood vessels in the thin skin of the lower eyelids can become more prominent giving a bluish discoloration. This may be improved with lasers, but in my experience is usually recalcitrant to treatment. To be honest from you photo it is difficult for me to tell the cause of your problem. Hope this helps.

Ralph Massey, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Dark Spots under Eyes

Hi and thank you for your question! Its hard to see in this picture exactly what you're referring to. I can tell you a few of the things we often do for the under eye area and for brown spots. If its actually hyperpigmentation from sun damage or some type of trauma, we would recommend you start with some skin lightening products. After that, we would evaluate the changes and see if we needed to do any additional interventions, such as laser. If you feel there is darkening under the eyes due to loss of volume and hollowness, we may recommend a filler under the eyes. Feel free to come in for a complementary consultation in our office with one of our physician extenders! Best, Dr. Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

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