How to choose eye cream and get rid of dark circles: Dermatologist guide

Written By Dr Surbhi, MD Skin

Last updated: 26/09/18

"Doctor, dark circles under my eyes give me a tired and aged look, how to get rid of them? Which is the best eye cream?”

For you, dark circles might be due to exams, sleepless night, emotional stress or illness. But, we dermatologist have found that dark circles or peri-orbicular hyperpigmentation might be due to changes at the level of eyes or a reflection of medical diseases.

Interestingly the management of dark circles begins by finding the cause or precipitating factor, then, we choose the best eye cream or procedure based on the cause. I don’t want you to spend a fortune on under-eye cream with an anti-aging ingredient, only to find later that the cause of your dark circle was engorged vessels. Therefore, read this article to know how to get rid of dark circles by choosing the best under eye cream based on the cause of your dark circles.


As I have already pointed out, it is paramount to find the cause of dark circles and choose treatment accordingly. Therefore, in coming section, I have listed the clues to identify the cause of your dark circles along with the corresponding brand suggestion of best eye creams that might help.

Brown colour of under eye skin:

Brown hue of under eye skin indicates an increase in skin pigment, that in turn occurs because of chronic rubbing of itchy eyes in people prone to skin allergies, atopic dermatitis, nasal allergies etc. Management includes:

Brown discolouration of under eye skin might occur temporarily due to illness, stress, sleepless night etc.; in such case, good diet, sleep, exercise and use of aloe vera or cucumber slices in under eyes area might help.

Purple colour of under eye skin:

Purple hue of dark circles is due to engorged blood vessels below the thin skin of the eyelid. This occurs due to chronic nasal blockage in a person prone to sinusitis, frequent cold, excessive sneezing. An appointment with ENT specialist is advisable.

You can use one of the following eye creams:

  • Insta Natural Youth Express Eye serum, that has Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic acid and caffeine. Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic acid might improve circulation and reduce puffy eyes and purple discoloration under your eye according to WebMD. Caffeine helps in reducing puffiness of eyes by its dehydrating properties and also help to constrict engorged blood vessels in under eye skin.

  • Juicy Chemistry Coffee & Green Tea Eye cream has green tea and caffeine decrease dilatation of blood vessel and promotes drainage. 

Wrinkles and fine lines in under eye skin:

If you have lot of wrinkles and fine lines in under eyes skin, then you should be very particular about sun protection. Ensure that you use big sunshades that can shield under eyes skin from UV rays, use sunscreen on undereye skin and apply retinol based eye creams. Liftactiv retinol Ha from Vichy is good under eye cream that has 3 proven anti-aging ingredients namely retinoid, adenosine and hyaluronic acid.

Depression in under eye area:  

Depression in under eye area might appear as dark circles, that disappears on stretching the under eye skin. This depression can be due to 2 causes:

  • Tear trough deformity: If you are already old, then sagging of cheeks down to mid-face leads to this depression called as tear trough deformity.
  • Arcus deformity: Rarely, depression in lower eyelid is seen at the younger age of 20 and 30’s; it is due to arcus deformity. Arcus deformity occurs when fat of lower eyelid pushes out appearing as puffy and swollen lower eyelid with a depression below it.

The cause of dark circles due to depression is at much deeper levels where eye creams cannot reach; only filler might give results. We interviewed a subject expert, Dr Chytra Anand for the role of fillers in such cases. You can read the details by clicking on this link. How To Get Rid Of Sunken Eyes- Dermatocare's Interview with Best Dermatologist.

Puffy eyes:

If you have a bulge under the eye, then you have eye bags or puffy eyes. The treatment of eye bags is different from dark circles, as described in this article, How To Get Rid Of Puffy Eyes Or Eye Bags: Interview With Best Plastic Surgeon.

Dark circles involving cheek and forehead:

Dark circles extend to the adjacent cheeks and forehead are usually due to hereditary conditions like Pigment demarcation line and Dermal melanocytosis. They are usually bluish to blackish in colour and extend to the adjacent cheeks. They might respond to LASER or peels.

Shadow in under eye skin:

Often people have deep seated eyes and the shadow of eyebrows might be the reason for their dark circle. This shadow will disappear on looking up. In such cases, nothing can help, except wearing trendy spectacles with zero power. 

Muti-factorial:

If you have two or more cause given above, then choose your eye cream as follows:

 

Lifestyle changes to reduce dark circle

All said and done, no matter what is the cause of your dark circle, following lifestyle changes will definitely help you in reducing them:

  • Diet: A well-balanced diet rich in iron, vitamin K, vitamin C not only reduces your dark circles but also gives a healthy glow to the skin.

  • Sleep: Both, lack of sleep and excessive sleep, should be addressed. Research now shows that 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep at night with 15-20 minutes power naps in the day time is sufficient.

  • Consumption of excessive alcohol, smoking, caffeinated sodas, addictive drugs, etc. should be avoided.

  • Sun protection: Wearing good quality sunglasses and applying sunscreen daily on the under-eye area prevents fine lines and pigmenatation in under eye skin. Zinc oxide based physical sunccreens should be preffered over the chemical sunscreen in the under-eye area.

  • Good eye make-up habits: The bitter truth is dark circles due to structural changes do not respond to medical treatments. However, you can camouflage them with makeup. Here are some tips:

  • Matte rather than creamy concealers (with slightly lighter colour than your foundation) can be dabbed on under eye area and smudged carefully with surrounding skin by applying face powder. 

  • You should avoid mascara or eyeliner on lower eyelid as they can smear on the surrounding skin and give the darker appearance as the day passes on.

  • Always remove your makeup gently with cleansing milk without much rubbing or pulling the skin off under eye.

 

When to see a dermatologist?

If you have dark circles that are visible from distance and consistently present for years, you should see a dermatologist for finding the cause and mamagement in the form of following:

  • Eye creams containing potent ingredients in therapeutic concentration like Retinoid (will help in improving thin and wrinkled under eye skin), skin lightening agents like Vitamin C, Arbutin, Kojic acid, etc. (help in reducing pigmentation)  and Vitamin K, Biophytex (reduce congestion and promote blood flow).

  • Procedure: You might need following procedures for non-responsive dark circles: 

    • Micro-dermabrasion
    • Carboxytherapy
    • Radiofrequency
    • LASERS
    • Surgery

 

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