Best Way to Reduce Severe Dark Eye Circles?

I am 27 years old and have severe dark circles around my eyes. I think its genetic and due to thinning of the skin. It's very dark...Is there any way i can at least reduce it?? Any laser treatment? Do you think my kids will have it? P.S my husband doesnt have dark circles. HELP!

Doctor Answers 5

No magic bullet. A few things help.

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Dark circles are a pain. There is a lot of confusion regarding what causes them. Some refer to them as "allergic shiners." Theories abound. Some think that the dark circles are from too much pigment. Some think that the dark circles are from too many blood vessels. By and large, these theories are all wrong.

Sure you can point to people who in fact have increased pigment around the eyes and you could probably find a rare individual with an abnormal collection of blood vessels under the skin. However, the overwhelming reason we get dark circles is related the thing you mentioned in your question: thinning of the skin. Actually, it is the entire eyelid that thins. Gravity pulls at our heavy cheeks and the ligments that hold the cheek up in youth slowly give way. It is important to understand that much of the function of the eyelid to close comes from a thin, superficial mucle that extends around the eyelids and up to the eyebrow above and to the junction of the cheek below. This muscle is called the orbicularis oculi muscle. It resides just below the skin in the eyelid.

If you have followed the discussion so far, stay with me. In the cheek, there is a thick cushion of fat under the skin. Light striking the cheek actually illuminates this fat which reflects the light back making the skin lighter. In the eyelid, there is essentially no fat between the skin and the orbicularis oculi muscle. The muscle is dark red. Light penetrating the eyelid skin is absorbed by the muscle. Consequence, there is less light refected back through the skin. So compared to the cheek, the eyelid looks much darker. There can also be some shadowing due to projection of the eyelid structures. This will also contribute to the appearence of the dark circle.

So what can make the dark circle look better? Filling the lower eyelid hollow with filler can help. A chemical peel or lower eyelid laser resufacing can help by changing some of the optical properties of the skin causing light incident to the eyelid skin to be reflect back into the skin before the light is absorbed by the orbicularis oculi muscle. There are also cover up products with mica that are helpful in reducing the appearence of the dark circle.

Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Arcus marginalis release and fat grafting and IPL for skin color

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Dear Bonnie,

There are several distinct anatomic causes of dark circles under the eyes.

If you have a depression or shadow beneath your lower eyelid and any puffiness of the lower eyelid, then a procedure called an arcus marginalis release and fat repositioning will remove the puffiness and plump the dark circle.

If you also have dark colored skin beneath the lower eyelid, then an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatment can lighten the skin color.

Many people need both procedures which can be done at the same time.

I advise against having any fat or filler injections into the dark circles-many patients have had serious problems following injections into the eyelids.

Dark circles can be due to several factors

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Dark circles under your eyes can be due to a number of things. If a significant amount of darkening can be relieved by gently sweeping the lower eyelid skin to the side , then a lower eyelid surgery may help significantly. When you do this you will see that there is some residual darkness that remains. This can be due to pigmentation, or vascular congestion.

A good medical skin care program can significantly alter this and give a more even skin tone to the lower lid area. At 27, most of this may simply be hereditary pigmentation and perhaps sun damage. Again a good skin care program will be beneficial.

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

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Lack of Anti-Oxidants can cause dark circles

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Dark circles may be caused due to a lack of vitamin K or inadequate antioxidants. You may have to consider in a vitamin intake and eating vegetables. It's also important to use products that contain ingredients helping in circulation of blood, therefore improving the look of dark circles. Look for ingredients such as rosemary extract which increases blood circulation.

Sounds like bleach will do the trick!

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Hydroquinone is a skin bleach that will slowly and reversibly reduce the dark color of your lower eyelids. Since you live in Saudi Arabia, use this at night and use a strong zinc oxide sunblock during the day.

Robert M. Freund, MD
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.